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Fitness and Sports

Tennis, Anyone? Learn How to Ace Wheelchair Tennis

Wheelchair tennis is a fun and engaging sport that anybody with a spinal cord injury can play. Explore the basics of how to get on the court and ace wheelchair tennis!

by: KMT May, 2021 5 min read

Wheelchair tennis is a great way to stay active and be social after a spinal cord injury. Learn about wheelchair tennis so you can get out on the court and have fun!

Tennis is one of the fastest-growing wheelchair sports in the world. This court sport offers those with a spinal cord injury the opportunity to play in the same way and with the same rules as any tennis player, with one notable exception – the ball can bounce twice. This provides greater opportunity to make more shots, stay in longer rallies and just have more fun!

learn how to ace wheelchair tennis

Wheelchair tennis is a serious competition

Since 1992, wheelchair tennis has formed part of the Paralympic Games. It has also been played and televised at all four Grand Slams – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – since 2007, drawing a lot of international attention.

There is also a professional wheelchair tour – the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour. It includes over 150 tournaments in 40 countries with almost three million dollars in prize money. There is a season finale that crowns the best wheelchair athletes – the NEC Wheelchair Masters and UNIQLO Doubles Masters.

Getting started with wheelchair tennis

If you were a tennis player before your spinal cord injury, you have the advantage of knowing all the rules and equipment requirements, as well as contacts at local clubs and national organisations, such as the LTA.

If you’re new to wheelchair tennis, here are some tips to help you get started:

·       Contact your local tennis club: The quickest way to get on the court is to look into resources, lessons and court availability at your local club. They may also have tennis instructors that specialise in wheelchair tennis.

·       Discover wheelchair tennis resources from the LTA: Explore the various wheelchair programmes from this national organisation. You’ll also find helpful fact and tip sheets that give you an overview of what you can expect, as well as information on wheelchair tennis rules and regulations. Local contacts, events and tournaments are listed as well.

·       Get the gear: You don’t have to get all the latest flashy apparel that the pros wear (unless you want to), but you do need a good tennis racket. Many clubs have a pro shop where you can seek advice and purchase rackets. There may be small businesses that sell tennis gear, and they are often a great place to learn about the different types of rackets. It would be best to discuss strings and stringing tension – two important factors that determine control and power.

·       Consider a specialty tennis wheelchair: It’s certainly not required to use anything different from your standard manual wheelchair. However, many serious players do invest in a more manoeuvrable model with wider wheels and a smaller, ultra-lightweight frame. If you intend on pursuing wheelchair tennis long-term or in a competitive league or tournament, this type of wheelchair can help you get to more balls with less physical effort.

Singles or doubles? It’s all fun!

Tennis is a great sport that can improve your stamina and fitness whilst offering you the chance to participate in leagues and stay socially active. Whether you play singles because you want to exert yourself to the maximum on the court or you want to try your hand at doubles and enjoy the camaraderie of having a partner, wheelchair tennis is fun and keeps you healthy!



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