How tennis can be a great fit for children with disabilities

USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee | February 01, 2022

According to a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine, children with disabilities are 4.5 times less likely to engage in physical activity compared to children without disabilities. Related research highlights the different barriers for a child with a disability to participate in physical activities, including from the child, family and sport/recreation personnel.


The findings led to the following recommendations:  


1. Incorporate practical-based instructor training in disability

2. Ask children with disabilities and their families their preferred activity choices

3. Introduce flexible or subsidized-payment options for families of children with disabilities

4. Encourage children with disabilities to participate in physical activity from early childhood  

5. Lessen the burden on parents through financial and/or social support or incentives

6. Introduce flexible funding arrangements for sports organizations

7. Promote physical activity programs that children with disiblities can participate in

8. Ensure children with disiblities meaningfully participate in physical education at school

Policy-level strategies include developing partnerships between the sport and disability sectors, local government and schools, and encouraging positive societal attitudes towards disiblities.


These recommendations may help adaptive tennis providers create programming that will address the needs and desires of all involved, including facilities and tennis professionals. Tennis is a cooperative sport that does not require physical contact and fewer people, and it can be a great sport for children who are hesitant about or not ready for team sports.

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