Sensory tennis: a guide for professionals

This page is for professionals such as coaches who are looking to learn how they can make their sessions accessible and inclusive. If you’re looking to join a Sense-led sensory tennis session, please visit our activity finder to see upcoming activities.

What is sensory tennis?

Sensory tennis is a set of activities designed by Sense to make tennis accessible for people with complex disabilities.

There are lots of ways to make tennis more inclusive for disabled people. For example, you can make adaptations like using a ball with a bell in it, or making the court smaller.

For people with complex disabilities, it’s often the concept of rules, tactics and aims of the game that can be a barrier to participating.

Our sensory tennis sessions break the sport down into more meaningful chunks of activity.

Sense’s approach to sensory tennis

Like everything we do at Sense, our approach to sensory tennis is person-centred.

This means we make sure we understand as much as possible about the person’s needs, preferences, abilities and learning processes. With the help of support workers and/or parents, we tailor each session to the people being supported.

At Sense, we also believe in focusing on individual outcomes. Read all about how to evaluate your sensory tennis session.

Who can run a sensory tennis session?

We’ve put together this guide to sensory tennis for those who support people with complex disabilities to be active. This could include:

  • Tennis coaches.
  • School teachers and teaching assistants.
  • Care workers.
  • Family members.

You could run your sessions in:

  • Traditional tennis facilities.
  • Day, residential and supported living services.
  • Schools and colleges.
  • At home.

This guide is designed to be completely accessible, so that those with little or no experience in delivering sport can lead the activities easily.

Get in touch

Contact [email protected] if you’d like further support, or if you’d like us to send you a free physical copy of this resource. We’d also love to hear about how your sensory tennis sessions are going! 

Our partners 

Lawn Tennis Association

The Open Court Programme is a national programme funded by Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). It’s delivered locally across the UK at over 500 venues, in collaboration with key partners, to create opportunities for disabled people to get involved in tennis. The programme includes learning disability tennis, wheelchair tennis, visually impaired tennis and deaf tennis, as well as activities for people with long-term health conditions such as mental health and dementia.

You could be part of it! You don’t have to have a tennis venue, or even play all year round. The benefits include:

  • Resources for your club/community venue to activate tennis.
  • Access to adaptive equipment.
  • Expert advice and support from dedicated staff and trained coaches for mentoring and peer support.

If you’d like more information about how the LTA and Open Court programme can support you, please email [email protected].

LUSU Sports

LUSU Sports are Lou and Sue – two passionate, energetic and knowledgeable tennis coaches. They’re committed to making tennis open to everyone, creating adaptive equipment and developing skills (especially on the tennis court).

They do this by training people to work with children and young adults with complex disabilities on tennis activities. Their sessions have been designed to maximise learning, while being flexible and fun!

If you’d like more information on how LUSU Sports can assist you, please email: [email protected].