Tennis is a marvellous activity on so many levels, it is great for fitness, physical and mental health and to socialise with like minded people from all different walks of life.
Whilst for most able-bodied people it is relatively easy to go to the park and hire a court with some friends it is a little more difficult for physically challenged people.
However, it can benefit such people even more than able-bodied, as the social side of the game is superb for developing all sorts of interaction skills.
Some clubs such as Tennis World Chatswood provide facilities and coaching for all people at all levels.
So what is available for different groups of physically challenged players?
Wheelchair tennis was founded in 1976 and is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world.
Wheelchair tennis integrates very easily with the able-bodied game since it can be played on any regular tennis court, with no modifications to the size of the court or the size of rackets or balls.
The game follows traditional rules, with the only exception being that the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
Wheelchair tennis has been part of the Paralympic Games since 1992.
Deaf tennis has a long and proud history in Australia dating back to 1921. Deaf Tennis Australia is an established organisation to offer support and information to deaf players.
Contact your local association to see if there are any Open Days or tennis programs for deaf players near you.
Deaf players can enter tournaments at many local clubs across Australia and enjoy regular competition.
For State or National competition there is the Deaf National Championships plus also many ranking and non ranking tournaments within the country.
For international competition the Deaflympics brings together more than 4000 deaf athletes and officials from more than 75 nations.
Obviously there is more involved in blind or partially sighted players participating in the sport. Particular care has to be taken in terms of safety for the participants and adapted equipment has to be used.
Blind athletes learn to play with some modifications, such as a smaller court with raised lines, a lower net and foam tennis balls containing bearings that make noise.
Playing tennis with a disability in Australia is not impossible and there are many groups,associations and clubs that can help you along the way.
- The Australian Sports Commision
The website provides extensive information on a range of different areas including connecting with sporting businesses, children’s programs and specific minority groups. They provide research and statistics as well as legal sporting information for clubs, coaches, parents and athletes.
- Disability Sport and Recreation
Disability Sport and Recreation is the health-promoting peak organisation for the disability sport and recreational sector in Victoria.
- Disability Sports Australia
DSA was established in 2003 and acts through State and Territory members to facilitate recreational and sporting opportunities for people with a disability.