Sensory tennis, it’s a match for Lin
Lin is mad about tennis. She doesn’t let her cerebral palsy or blindness get in the way of her game. Our sensory tennis sessions offer Lin the opportunity to enjoy the sport she loves in a way that’s completely accessible to her.
I’m in my sixties now and tennis is as important to me as ever. I remember when I first fell in love with it, watching the players on TV – I thought, “I have to give that a try!” My favourite player is Roger Federer, he never loses his cool.
My vision loss has led me to find new ways of enjoying and playing the game. I’ve got cerebral palsy and epilepsy. When I’m being active, like during tennis, I feel calm. It’s part of how I support my physical and mental wellbeing.
For me, the social side of the sport is also something I enjoy. I go to the gym twice a week, but at tennis I get to be outside and spend time with people I like.
Sensory tennis is designed for me
I’ve always wanted more opportunities to play. Now, with sensory tennis, I can join in! I’m happy in these sessions, I’m always included in the game.
The activities are always really fun. I love working one-on-one with my coach, James. He’s very supportive and I’m definitely getting better at tennis now.
It’s great to work with specialist equipment. We use balls with bells inside, which makes the games a lot easier. James is really good at creating a rhythm for me to follow. I can hear the balls coming and they make a sound when I hit them.
I would encourage anyone to go along to a sensory tennis session and see what’s going on. Try it out, you might find something you love!
Why we need more accessible sports
I think more centres should make tennis accessible. Otherwise, people with disability don’t get a chance to do it. There should be more ways for people to play in a mixed group, or with special equipment like the balls with bells. That way, tennis can be for everyone, not just those without disabilities.
Being active and playing tennis is good for people’s health. It also helps their mindset – they can be more relaxed. For me, it’s also been helpful to play sports with other disabled people. It helps you to realise that you’re not the only one who has difficulty participating.
Sensory tennis has been designed by Sense to provide people with complex disabilities with a more accessible and inclusive way to participate. By removing the barriers presented by traditional tennis sessions, such as complicated rules and tactics, sensory tennis offers a new person-centred approach to the sport.