Today I was reminding one of my friends that tennis is a lifetime sport … and it can be for everyone! When instructing individuals on his/her tennis game, I have incorporated adaptations necessary for youth, for wheelchair athletes, for beginners, or whoever is in need of an adaptation … and someday I may have a chance to teach one of Kiki’s Kids to play tennis in Tibet, even though they may be blind, visually impaired or sighted! Right now they are learning during their kindergarten year how to interact with people of various vision differences in their sport activities and movement, use of educational materials, and completion of daily living activities. Why not with a game of tennis?
How can this happen? Specific equipment is needed: sound-adapted foam ball, lower net, smaller racquets, and raised lines … similar to what we’ve already done for other adapted activities. And, dependent on the severity of the individual’s visual impairment the ball can bounce three times on their court-side. Sighted and blind young people could easily interact and play together in this sport…and for all a great deal of patience would absolutely be needed! There is no chance to quickly “see” the ball for a blind person, yet he/she can do it with practice.
How can this happen? Apparently, according to the scientists, a blind person can process, and thus perceive, the ball in space by their use of other senses. I always remember hearing when one loses one sense others will be sharper, and this is the case for blind people….yet practice is needed to sharpen them through their normal growing years and, also as with all of us, the continued tennis practicing time….thus lifetime sport!
So, in 1984, thanks to a blind Japanese teenager, Miyoshi Takei, the opportunity for blind people to use a sound-adapted tennis ball began and we may someday see this as a sport in the Paralympic Games. And, even if not at that level of play, it can be at a community tennis court near or far from you!
Additional note: August 2014, thanks to donors, like you, three boxes of educational books, and sporting and camping equipment was received at Kiki’s Kids. All of it was greatly appreciated! I do not know of any tennis court when I was in Lhasa, but who knows, we may someday use an open parking lot, set up the nets, put down the raised-lines and have the start of a tennis lesson!
Your continued donations to Global Roots is always appreciated. Any questions, do not hesitate to ask me. Great work is being done with these young people in Tibet.