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Who’s game is it anyway? Ownership in Kids Tennis

Who’s game is it anyway? Have you ever thought about it?

Is it your game? Does tennis belong to the kids? In most situations in tennis, decisions are made for the children, by adults. Adults decide what a child should learn. Adults decide on the format. Adults determine how often you can play. It’s what we are used to and we believe that this is in the best interest of the child.

Ownership is one of the nine gaming mechanics we should use to create inspiring learning environments.


Let’s compare the computer game situation with the physical tennis situation. In computer games children can:

  • decide which game to play (Often they have several on the tablet)
  • decide how long they play for (Only games that last too long are generally limited by the parents, parents will never complain that a game was too short)
  • decide what strategies they want to use in the game
  • have control over the reset button
  • decide what character they would like to be (A warrior or an explorer)
  • choose which path to take within the game.

Imagine what would happen if we gave the kids more space to make their own choices, to determine their own direction in tennis and even use the reset button during classes and competitions. For example to be allowed during a tiebreak to replay a point when they decide that they have not played the point smartly? Or carry cards that they can use if they want to repeat a drill when they believe that can perform a task better!

Anyone with more good ideas for the use of the reset button?

Did you by the way see the information about our Junior Tennis Directors conference in July in Washington. It an exclusive conference only for Junior Tennis Directors. We still have a few places left. Find out more.

ronald head shot 2
Ronald Pothuizen – Director evolve9, Netherlands

Ronald was the program manager for the U12 program in The Netherlands for 16 years. He is manager the Tenniskids Program with extensive coach education courses (over 1500 coaches), a competition program for 35,000 kids and the support program for Dutch clubs (1400). Along working for the Dutch Federation, Ronald was very active internationally as a member of the ITF Play and Stay Taskforce.

He has been to more than 15 countries to run workshops and/or to present for the ITF in U10. In 2011, Ronald started the evolve9 Serious Kids Stuff foundation. This foundation built the first Slum Red courts in the World. Prior to working for the Dutch Federation (KNLTB), Ronald was a Tennis director for 11 years in The Netherlands.


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