Volunteers Coach Visually Impaired in Tennis
Soundball Singapore is an inclusive tennis group that promotes blind tennis in Singapore. In August 2011, Soundball Singapore started with only one coach and a visually impaired player. In less than two years the group has grown to 14 players and 20 coaches.
Tennis was a sport exclusively for the sighted until Takei Miyoki created blind tennis. In 1984, Takei who was then in high school, dreamt of playing tennis “like the abled-bodied, and with the abled-bodied.” All he needed was a ball he could hear. Through years of research he developed a tennis ball specifically for the blind. In 1990, the first blind tennis tournament was held in Japan. This birthed a new sport for the visually impaired.
According to Metro, a London based sports and social club for the visually impaired, blind tennis can be played on a badminton or tennis court, using junior tennis rackets and an adapted ball that rattles when it bounces. The server shouts “ready” and “play” before serving. Adapted rules allow blind players three bounces of the ball while partially sighted players are allowed two bounces.
Kenneth Ng, volunteer with Soundball Singapore, shares about coaching players with visual impairment and the hope for blind tennis to be included in the Paralympic games.