In conversation with Erik Spiegelenberg of Nijha about the uses of KanJam
Nijha is an organisation that is passionate about designing exercise halls for local authorities, schools, care centres etc. The game of KanJam has been part of their range since being introduced in the Netherlands. We spoke to Erik Spiegelenberg, movement specialist at Nijha, about KanJam. Thanks to his background as a gym teacher, Erik casts a critical eye over any potentially new items for the Nijha range and he examined KanJam closely before agreeing to the game’s introduction.
“Initially I was curious as to whether it was a game that would carry on being fun and whether you really could get better at it. For this reason, we tested KanJam extensively ourselves. It soon became apparent that it is a game that everyone enjoys playing, that you want to carry on playing it and that you can get better at it,” said Erik.
KanJam for seniors
Erik concluded that ‘non-movers’ also got better at KanJam the more they played it. This makes it a suitable product for Nijha’s various target audiences, as demonstrated by the fact that two years ago Nijha introduced KanJam among seniors. In order to get this target audience to enjoy playing, Nijha let older participants play with a different kind of frisbee.
“Safety is extremely important when playing any game. The standard KanJam frisbee is too hard for seniors and it can hurt when catching or dunking, which is why this target audience often plays with one of our different kinds of frisbees. It is softer and flies more slowly so the participants are better able to see it coming, making it safer for them to play,” explains Erik.
Discover sport and games through MobieZ
Not only does Nijha provide bespoke services, they also work with schools. It was this that led to Nijha developing ‘MobieZ’. This is a system in which modern games and sports equipment are rotated among sports facilities. Every eight weeks, schools receive a new set of equipment allowing children to get to know a wide variety of current sports. KanJam is one of them.
“I firmly believe that schools need to continue to closely follow new developments, including those in the area of physical education. Gym lessons should be based on promoting life-long exercise and fortunately more and more school are recognising how important this is. Not only does this approach make the lessons more appealing, the lesson content is also closely aligned with the children’s own experiences. Pupils can therefore become acquainted with a modern sport or game in a safe way at school, which makes it easy for them to find out where their interests lie. Games like KanJam play a key part in this,” explains Erik.
Engaging game variants
Nijha is always looking for new ways of making sports and games more dynamic and KanJam shows just how this works in practice. Secondary schools in particular have come up engaging variants of the game. “KanJam is already a game that turns people into real fanatics as they are playing it! It is therefore great fun introducing new ways of making the game even more dynamic. One variant, for instance, involves setting up a playing field with a Kan in each corner. This creates four ‘goals’ which different teams can score points in. We have also drawn up a rule which states that players must have thrown the frisbee to each other three times before they are allowed to aim at a Kan. It makes it an interesting game of tactics for older pupils,” said Erik. Nijha has come up with more KanJam game variants, all of which are set out on handy instruction cards that are included in the MobieZ package.
Endless fun with KanJam
Nijha has found that the fun its customer have with KanJam doesn’t stop. They use the game in exercise halls for younger and older target audiences alike, which is what makes it such an interesting concept for a range of organisations. It is easy to get the hang of the game and players soon improve at it - even less sports-inclined players, who simply place the Kans less far apart and use the type of frisbee that best matches their ability. All this goes to make it an accessible game as well as one with great social appeal.
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