Since its beginnings in 1976, wheelchair tennis has grown from an exhibition event to an officially-recognized Paralympic sport and played at all four Grand Slam tournaments. Sydney 2000 Paralympic Gold Medalist and six-time World Champion David Hall has joined forces with his long-term coach Rich Berman of Boulder, Colorado, to produce ‘Let’s Roll- Learning Wheelchair Tennis with the Pros’ video tutorial available for free at: www.letsrollwheelchairtennis.com
The tutorial, recognized by the International Tennis Federation, covers all areas of the wheelchair game with over three hours of information, including basic strokes and mobility, advanced strokes and mobility, mental toughness, wheelchair selection and injury prevention. Not only is this resource available at no cost but it has been translated into 20 languages and can be viewed on mobile devices, making it readily accessible to the instructor, coach and player anywhere, anytime.
Hall, who was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2010 says "Rich is the master at teaching the wheelchair game, it’s a real honor for me to be involved in this project with him. I remember when I first started playing wheelchair tennis, to have something like this available would have been so helpful, also with tennis you never stop learning and ‘Let’s Roll’ covers all areas".
Over the course of a 15 year career Hall succeeded in winning over 80 tournaments worldwide, including 9 Australian Open, 8 US Open, 7 British Open titles and 6 Paralympic medals. Hall’s coach, Rich Berman has been by his side providing knowledge and guidance throughout the years.
Berman, who runs Rich’s Tennis School near Boulder, Colorado, has almost 20 years of experience teaching tennis to wheelchair players. He explains that there was a need for a learning resource out in the community. "Over the years we both have had many players, parents and organizations ask us for guidance about coaching wheelchair tennis. When David agreed to collaborate with me on this project, I said ok mate, let’s do it".
Berman’s goal is that the tutorial will have far-reaching appeal. "Our hope is that all current and future wheelchair players and coaches worldwide will use ‘Let’s Roll’ as the foundation for learning and teaching this wonderful sport. That is the reason we have two primary sections – one for the novice and one for the advanced player".
As for how rewarding wheelchair tennis has been in Berman’s coaching career, he says "Anyone that has volunteered their time and effort for a worthwhile cause understands that they receive more than they give. I remember the first time I was asked to coach someone in a chair, I declined to do so, at least at first. Then I gave it a go and I’m so thankful I did".