Tennis is a sport which offers advantages to those who practice it. It is a sport that lasts a lifetime since one can practice it for years without major limitations. One just needs a partner to play with. Age is not a limitation either. At the ITF level there is a senior and veterans world ranking in which the oldest age category is 75 yrs for women and 85 and older for men.
Tennis is a sport, which also enables people to form good personal relationships. Any tennis player who spends an entire morning or afternoon playing with his / her tennis partners can testify this.
It is excellent for health purposes since it is both an aerobic as well as an anaerobic activity, therefore helping the heart to be strong and big. Moreover, playing tennis is fun.
Wheelchair tennis is another marvelous aspect of this sport because it integrates people with special physical abilities. The only difference in the rules applied to wheelchair tennis is that the player has the option of letting the ball bounce twice before hitting it. These rules allow for both players in wheelchairs and those without to play together or against each other, making the social integration between the two an enriching experience. Tennis is one of the few sports that allow this.
Literature on adapted sports teaches us that handicaps exist because the architectonic structures of the surroundings impose them. If cities were built with ramps instead of steps, people in wheel chairs wouldn’t have limitations to move around with the fear of falling down or not being able to keep on moving.
Tennis is a sport which eliminates barriers and wheel chair tennis gives its players a positive option to integrate themselves into society. It offers them the physical activity needed for their physical and emotional well-being and allows them to socialize, compete and enjoy themselves in an integrated environment.
COTECC’s member countries have started to practice this modality of tennis. Mexico and Puerto Rico already have years promoting wheel chair tennis. El Salvador began 4 years ago, Barbados 2 years ago and Guatemala last year.
It is important for all COTECC member countries to motivate themselves to include wheelchair tennis to their own programs. The beginning of wheelchair tennis programs has its challenges since architectural and equipment changes have to be made to allow the wheel chair players to move around the facilities. The initial investment is on at least two wheel chairs to start out with, and besides that a lot of will and desire to grow.
The ITF has publications in various languages for both coaches and athletes that help start and grow with a wheel chair tennis program.
We motivate all COTECC member countries to participate in the wonderful world of WHEELCHAIR TENNIS!!!!
You can find more information on wheel chair tennis on the ITF’s web site, http://www.itftennis.com/wheelchair/home.aspx