Almost any sport can be played from a wheelchair, including basketball, baseball and tennis. I’ve been playing tennis intermittently for the past few years. Most wheelchair users can play from manual sports wheelchairs. However, I play from my power wheelchair since it’s too difficult for me to push myself in a manual chair.
Since I don’t have the dexterity to grip the racket, I wear a tennis glove to hold the racket for me. Once the racket is strapped in, I can focus on maneuvering my chair and hitting the ball. It took some time getting used to driving my chair and timing my swing to hit the ball, but it’s so much fun to be on the court.
Playing tennis provides great cardio exercise. It’s important for those of us in wheelchairs to get our heart rates accelerated, since we can’t run and do many physically-demanding exercises. I also get to strengthen the range of motion of my arm as I swing to hit the ball. Since playing the game, I’ve noticed that I have more endurance during daily activities. Playing tennis is my way of getting away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Some of the avid wheelchair tennis players compete in the National Wheelchair Tennis Association, which is part of the U.S. Tennis Association. Several years ago, I practiced with a young lady in a wheelchair who was ranked within the top 25 in the country.
I’ve been playing with other folks in wheelchairs. The tennis center held a tennis clinic this past weekend to invite other wheelchair users to give tennis a try. For anyone who is interested in learning to play wheelchair tennis, our first practice for the season will be Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at Live to Play Tennis Center. The center is located at 1513 Mathis Ferry Road in Mt. Pleasant. To contact Live to Play, call 843-388-0898 and visit their website at www.ltptennis.com.