Teaching Tennis:

Players With Physical or Sensory Disabilities/Impairments


What are Physical Conditions or Disabilities and Sensory Impairments?

This category includes, but is not limited to, individuals with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. This includes but is not limited to individuals with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, hemiplegia, arthritis, limb differences, cerebral palsy, amputations and hearing and visual impairments.


Physical symptoms vary considerably from one condition to the other in this category, but are often characterized either by some degree of muscular, skeletal, or joint impairments that may affect mobility. Balance, motion, stamina and language difficulties are frequent characteristics of this category. 


When teaching tennis to players who fall into this category: 

  • Emphasize appropriate warm-ups and stretches.
  • Encourage students to go beyond what they think is possible.
  • Plan sufficient rest periods.



In addition, when teaching tennis to individuals with sensory impairments (hearing or vision):

  • Always face players when talking to them or demonstrating something.
  • For the visually impaired, demonstrate activities using tactile components and write in large, bold letters when using a chalkboard/whiteboard.
  • For the hearing impaired, watch your rate of speech and demonstrate all activities.
  • Use activities that enchance balance skills, such as footwork drills.
  • Use activities to foster communication skills.


What are some optional adaptations in Adaptive Standing Tennis?

  • Use of adaptive equipment, such as a prosthetic, an orthotic or brace/crutch.
  • A change in rules such as two bounces allowed.
  • The use of a smaller court or larger balls for those with more mobility concerns.
  • A change in the length of the match to a shortened format.
  • Note: Many adaptive standing players play with no modifications to the game. Many train and compete against players who do not have disabilities. Now, you can do both.




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