Vision impaired tennis was founded in Japan in 1984 and is similar to tennis played by sighted tennis players. It can be played on a regular tennis court, but is often played on a smaller court about the size of a badminton court or between the service boxes of a regular tennis court. The net is set to a height of 80cm in the middle and 85cm at the sides.
Vision impaired tennis is played indoors and lines can be marked using sticky tape to allow players to determine the dimensions of the court.
Modified equipment is used, including a shorter junior sized racket and a special type of sponge ball. The ball is soft and light and contains a inner shell with five steal balls that produce an audible sound when it bounces allowing a visually impaired player to judge the height, direction and speed of the incoming ball.
Four times each year, a six-week blind tennis program, jointly developed by Blind Sports Victoria, Tennis Victoria and Tennis Seniors Victoria is held on Friday nights at Melbourne Park’s indoor courts.
The program is held on Friday evenings commencing at 6.30pm.
People with varying level of vision impairment participate in the program, rotating through different tennis exercises under the supervision of volunteers. Various types of balls are used, including audible tennis balls for participants who are totally blind.
Until the development of the program, people with total blindness had no access to any kind of tennis activity. Now, people from a wide range of backgrounds and ages are participating.
“It is a great opportunity for people to try something different. Initially, some people are concerned that they won’t be very good, but our focus is on participation, not ability level,” says Maurice Gleeson, President of Blind Sports Victoria, who is also a participant of the program.
If you are interest in participating in this program or would like to volunteer your time to assist, please contact Susan at the Blind Sports Victoria office on 9822 8876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Unemployed/Concessional: $3 per session. Employed: $5 per session.
A meeting point has been arranged at Richmond Station for those who are travelling by train.