Hi there, my name is Bill Dow, I am a USPTA Elite Coach, and a USTA Wheelchair tennis certified coach and I wanted to give you my top 5 learnings from coaching wheelchair tennis. Hope you enjoy the article.
If there is anyone interested in becoming a Wheelchair coach, I have to say this has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. So, today, I wanted to give you my top five learnings from being a wheelchair coach.
- Tennis is tennis is tennis! You don’t have to be afraid that wheelchair tennis is so different then the tennis you are used to, no, tennis is tennis! Do learn the three differences in wheelchair tennis than able-body tennis, which are (1) 2 bounce rule, (2) no lateral movement, (3) less reaction time!
- You don’t have to be a medical expert. You are not expected to know everything about every medical condition your players will have, so don’t let that stop you. You will learn it as you go, but remember it is essential to learn to give your players the best possible playing experience.
- Able-Body drills can be converted to wheelchair drills in most cases. Not all drills, but when I go and look at my able-body drills, I see lots and lots of similarities to what you will teach wheelchair players as well.
- Don’t fill a single court of wheelchair players the same way you do with able-body players. In some of my junior classes, I have 19-20 kids on a single court, that can’t happen in wheelchair tennis. There is not the space for that many players on a single court. If you are lucky enough to have that many players in your club, get some additional courts to spread players out.
- Grips and Overgrips make sure you have a good supply! One thing many you will learn as a wheelchair tennis coach is to keep a good supply of grips and overgrips. Wheelchair players go through grips or overgrips like crazy, and having some available to offer your players is a great idea. You may not know, but when wheelchair players push their chairs, they are pushing their racquet grips against the wheel, and that “bites” into the grips and wears them out quickly. So over time, that grips wear out much faster than they do with able-body players.
That’s all I have for now. Check back with me soon to learn more tricks and tips from a newbie wheelchair tennis coach!
What do you think?
Bill Dow, PMP