If you’ve been watching the wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon and have been inspired to get involved in disability tennis, whether as a player, coach, venue, organisation or volunteer, here’s a summary guide to the many ways the Tennis Foundation can help and support you do just that!
We’ll start with who we are and what we do. We are Great Britain’s leading tennis charity. We believe anyone can play tennis, and we exist to create opportunities to help people do so. One of our areas of work is tennis for disabled people and providing opportunities for people to play the sport. In doing so, we also help coaches, venues and volunteers to get involved in disability tennis.
We’ve been very successful so far, with more people currently playing tennis across our network of venues that offer disability-specific session than even before!
So, how can we help you?
Maybe you think tennis isn’t for you? Or maybe you’re not sure you’ll be able to play it? Well, here at the Tennis Foundation, we’d just like you to know that it most definitely is for you. It’s for anyone. And we’re absolutely certain we can get you playing – and loving – the game in no time at all.
Tennis really is a sport that anyone can play. It can be adapted for any level of ability, as well as for players with different disabilities.
We can supply all the equipment and aids you need. We’ve got sports wheelchairs if you have a physical disability. And tennis balls that make a noise when they bounce if you’re visually impaired. There’s nothing stopping you from giving it a go and having just as much fun playing the game as everyone else.
- Take part in a local tennis session:
We work with over 350 venues across the country to provide subsidised disability-specific tennis sessions. To find your local venue click here. If you go along let us know on Twitter via @TennisFndation or use #TennisAnyBody!
- Attend a Tennis Foundation camp:
If you want to try out tennis in a more structured way, we’d love to have you along to one of our Tennis Foundation disability tennis camps. We host these around the country – see our ‘Play Tennis’ section for more.
- Find a coach:
If you are looking for a coach there are hundreds around the country that could help. Visit the LTA’s ‘Find A Coach’ page for more.
- Get competitive:
We coordinate a whole range of disability-specific tennis competitions both regionally and nationally. Don’t worry if you are a novice or a beginner – come along as there will be a category for you! Click here for a list of our competitions.
- Make more of your talent:
For talented players want to progress beyond playing socially and for fun, we operate a player pathway that can help you maximise your potential – and even go on to represent Great Britain at international level. Read more about the pathway in our ‘Game On’ booklet.
The Tennis Foundation works with the LTA to ensure disability awareness training is included in coaching qualifications Levels 1-3. Alongside that, we also help in this area in the following ways.
- Become a coach:
Perhaps you are a player who wants to take up coaching tennis for disabled people. If so, then for you or anyone else interested in getting involved in this aspect of the game then get in touch to ask about how we can help you get started.
- Improve your wellbeing:
Coaching disability tennis not only helps the people you coach but it can be incredibly rewarding personally too. Our recent research report detailing the positive image of disability tennis highlighted just this, finding that coaches feel it helps develop and challenge their wider coaching skills as well as improving their personal wellbeing. Read more about the report here.
- Develop your skills:
For coaches looking to further develop their inclusive approach to tennis the Tennis Foundation run CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses for each impairment (physically impaired, deaf & hearing impaired, blind & visually impaired and learning disability). Each CPD course will improve coaches’ knowledge, confidence and delivery of tennis for that specific impairment. See the LTA’s Find a Course page for current opportunities.
We also provide a range of coaching resources. Click here for more details.
- Help your players progress:
Our ‘Game On’ guide outlines the player pathways available to help talented players progress, and information to help coaches identify players who could perform well in our elite player programme.
If you are a venue that wants to be able to provide tennis for disabled people, then we can help you! It doesn’t matter if you are a tennis specific venue with existing facilities or you just have some indoor or outdoor space you can use.
- Provision of specialist equipment:
We can support venues with the provision of speciality equipment such as tennis wheelchairs. We have partnered with ROMA Sport to develop an adaptable and affordable wheelchair which we hope will enable us to open up the sport to more people.
Through our partnership with Zsig, we have developed a Tennis Foundation Adapted Equipment Bag’ containing a whole range of items to enable you to put on tennis sessions adapted for disabled people.
We support venues with grants to assist them in putting on disability-specific sessions. We have specific support for tennis clubs available – just get in touch with us via email to get things started!
- Accessibility & Inclusivity Advice
Our brilliant ‘Open Your Doors’ booklet is the perfect place for tennis venues to start if they want to ensure they are inclusive and accessible. There are many things that can be done quickly and easily, and which don’t often require lots of money. Have a read through the booklet and it might get you thinking of things you had never even considered before!
We couldn’t do what we do without others, so we are always looking for partners to work with that can help us achieve our aims. We work with a whole range of organisations, from companies like ROMA Sport and Zsig to organisations such as the British Blind Sport, DS Active, the LTA, Sport England, County Sport Partnerships, and many more!
If you think there is an opportunity for us to work with your organisation in a way that can help get more disabled people playing tennis then get in touch!
Like any sport, the time and energy put in by volunteers plays such a crucial role. There are always opportunities to get involved – if you are keen to do so then please email us, or look at our volunteers page for some specific role and event opportunities.