Wheelchair Tennis Q&A

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by MichEE, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    I did not see much here about or concerning wheelchair tennis so I thought I would start a thread for those intersted in any aspect of wheelchair tennis.

    If anyone is interested in USTA or ITF Wheelchair Tennis for instruction, information or play please feel free to post and I'll try to answer your questions.
     
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  2. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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  3. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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  4. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Are you a wheelchair player? Just curious.
     
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  5. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    wheelchair tennis

    Yes I am. I have been playing since 1992. I am on the USTA National Wheelchair committee and one of the coaches that run the wheelchair tennis program in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Sorry that I did not get back sooner... this thread was not configured for e-mail notification for some reason.
     
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  6. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    Hi MichEE,

    Last weekend, my 8-year old daughter came running to tell me that there were girls playing tennis on TV (the Tennis Channel is our default TV station :) ) in wheelchairs! We watched the 1/2 hour hosted by Bud Collins on the 2007 US Open wheelchair division which featured Esther Vergeer (Netherlands) and Shingo Kunieda (Japan). Vergeer has not lost a match in 4 years!!!!

    I have the good fortune of living the DC Metro area and go to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic every year in the summer. They usually have wheelchair tennis matches on some of the outer courts during the week and it usually gets a fair amount of spectator attention.

    I hope to be able to play with a wheelchair tennis player some day, but I have not come across any in any of the leagues I play in Northern Virginia.

    Please keep this thread going for those of us interested. Thanks!
     
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  7. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Barar, I am glad you were "urged" to watch the match. Yes, Ester is in a league of her own, for sure!

    I have played in the Legg Mason tournament and played one of my best matches ever because of the spectators! It is a great venue and support for WC tennis.

    There are a couple of guys that play able-bodied leagues out there but the only one that I know for sure lives in Columbia, SC, not really that close to you...

    Thanks for your post!
     
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  8. spiritboy3

    spiritboy3 New User

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    wheelchair tennis... wow would that be hard and the ball wouldnt be tough if its like that but honor those person whom hav such confident to play tennis .... i honored them ..
     
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  9. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    As a competitive player I have nothing but the utmost respect for the wheelchair tennis players. Years ago I was asked to play an exhibition doubles match that paired an able bodied pro and a wheelchair player against another able bodied pro and a wheelchair player. When I met the guy who was going to be my partner we went out to warm up. As we were hitting he could see that I was reticent to hit the ball hard to him. He said it was OK, that he could handle it, so I started hitting harder and he was right, he could handle it. We went out to play the exo and at first I thought I would have to cover pretty much the whole court, I was wrong. At one point they brought out 2 more wheelchairs for me and the other able bodied pro to use and to say we were pathetic would be putting it mildly. I'd forget that even with a racquet in my hand I needed to still use both hands to make the wheelchair move in a straight line so I'd sometimes end up spinning in a circle. At another point I almost fell out of my chair. My partner ended up having to cover most of the court for us. I remember talking to the other able bodied pro afterward and he said 'Ya know, on 2 feet we're good, in a wheelchair we suck'. I came away with nothing but respect for these 'athletes', and they are that in every sense of the word. Since then I've seen a couple of wheelchair tournaments and have always walked away amazed.
     
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  10. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    The TV show I watched on wheelchair tennis a couple of weeks ago featured Shingo Kunieda (Japan) whose backhand was lights-out! I mean, he was hitting the fuzz off the ball with his stroke! He had real nice form and the spin he generated along with the angle was a real cool thing to see. I know guys I hit with that could not hit with that much spin or angle.

    JW10S, I feel for you in having to try to play in a wheelchair :)
    I can't even imagine how much coordination, anticipation, and stamina you need to make the wheelchair go and stroke the ball.
     
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  11. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Glad to see some of you have been part of wheelchair tennis. That is just great and fantastic to hear!! In the ITF links above there are 2 mobility lessons and yes, this is obviously key to a good wheelchair tennis game!

    Has anyone been approached to coach wheelchair tennis? Here is a great short video by the Woman's World #1 player. I hear that she takes games off of the local #1 woman's college player. Yep, she's good. Let me know what you think about her video!!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/sol/newsid_4940000/newsid_4942000/4942088.stm?
     
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  12. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Just curious if there are many people here that are from the ******* area.

    Our ******* Wheelchair committee is planning events for 2008 if anyone is interested in having a Wheelchair tennis demo as part of their event.
     
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  13. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    MichEE,

    I saw wheelchair tennis first time on TV last week and was really impressed. I did have a question, which might some stupid, but I was wondering why you couldn't just hit a drop shot. It seems to me that it would be almost impossible to get to a drop shot in time. Are there rules against this type of shot in wheelchair tennis?

    Jeff
     
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  14. swimntennis

    swimntennis Guest

    I have no idea about the rules, but I would imagine that at that close to the ground, it would be difficult to hit a good drop shot consistently with such little clearance over the net.
     
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  15. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    Yeah I didn't think of that.
     
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  16. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    I hit with the #80 or so wheelchair tennis player in the world and I can tell you dropshots are almost useless because of the 2nd bounce. That is, in wheelchair tennis, the ball can be hit after the 2nd bounce so unless the drop shot is absolutely perfect (i.e. bounces THREE times before the wheelchair player can reach it), he/she can get to the ball. That's why it's so nice playing doubles with a wheelchair player as your partner. He/she can always save your @$$ if you let the ball get by you and he/she can still take it after the 2nd bounce.
     
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  17. rbq4h4

    rbq4h4 Rookie

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    i'm just curius and i hope this dont sound offensive, but what are the rules for wheelchair in other words do you have to be handicaped to play or can anyone do it? if handicaped how much degree and do you have ot have proof from yur doctor?
     
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  18. Foraserve

    Foraserve New User

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    I watched the USO Women's WC Finals and Ester Vergeer was amazing. If I ever get to attend the USO, I hope she's playing.
     
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  19. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    It is hard to explain here and I'll try to post a video but if you are moving it is rather easy to get all the way to the net on the 2nd bounce - which frankly is the only time is use the 2nd bounce. A good cross court shot is more effective than a drop shot.

    Good question - no offence taken!
     
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  20. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Great question!! Usually wheelchair sports are simply for someone that cannot play able-bodied sports due to some physical restriction. Bottom line it is really up to the player - if the player wants to use a weak excuse (a bad knee for instance) to play wheelchair tennis they can and some do abuse the system.

    I am not saying that all people that play with a bad knee are abusing the system but there are some.

    There are specific rules for quads and in general that means the limited use of 3 or more limbs - two legs and an arm or two legs and both hands for instance.

    Let me know if you have further questions.
     
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  21. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Where are you located Boojay? Just curious who you hit with.
     
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  22. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    I play wheelchair tennis, and to say that we use spin is an understatment....there is just no way to explain it till you see it live.
    I have seen shingo play live a few times and his backhands are amazing. We do use a different stroke on our backhands than regular stand up players.....this allows us to generate monster spin on the back hand side.

    Kick serves are vital for wheelchair players also because our opponents don't have any vertical movement to get at the higher balls.
     
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  23. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    Jeff,

    Wheelchair players get an extra bounce which gives a player with good mobility plenty of time to get to drop shots.
    I know the stand up guys that I hit with all initially think they can drop and lob me to death, but when I start smoking crosses and winners on them, they quickly change their game plans. Wheelchair player can cover allot more ground than you would expect.
     
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  24. Mr. Blond

    Mr. Blond Professional

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    The rules are not as solid as you would think.....there is no doctor proof needed, it is really just a code of honor from what I have seen. Many of the top 20 players can walk, some with amputations walk without any visual disability.

    I know the former world number 1, Steve Welch walks on and off the court and looks like an average joe.......for someone who does not understand it almost seems unfair to the guy who is paralyzed. I guess one could argue that, but at the end of the day, the guys like Welch and some of the higher ranked amputees help the sport by making it more competitive.

    It is kind of like comparing the innate physical prowace of Nadal to others that play the sport now........it is not Nadal's fault he is gifted physically, and it is only smart of him to use that talent on the court. That same idea holds true for disabled players.

    There is a distinction for quad players who have limited use of their hands however. I know you guys have all chimed in with respect for wheelchair players, and as one, I appreciated it, but the Quad players are the guys who in my mind deserve the most respect.
     
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  25. Leelord337

    Leelord337 Hall of Fame

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    Who is that lady who hasn't lost a match in 4 years? she was awesome!
     
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  26. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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  27. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    So agree blabit... as an everyday wheelchair user.

    We have a new quad just starting and been in a chair for only 4 months! He is doing great but it is amazing how much harder the sport is for him. He cannot even transfer yet!

    Great point you made and thanks for chiming in!! Glad to see you on board.
     
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  28. Wheelchair tennis

    Tomorrow starts the ITF Hawaii Paicific Open Wheelchair Championships. I will be filming some of the matches to podcast on iTunes next week. This is an ITF Futures Event and is part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour. Total Prize Money $3,000.

    I want to also focus on how wheelchair players handle high balls and learn something from that. By next week I will have some footage but I don't have any wheelchair coaching experience so, I will interpret what I see.


    I hope the weather clears, we are having lots of rain this week.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2007
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  29. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    I'm from Cah nah dah, eh?

    Aw, I just looked him up and he's dropped to #93 in the world. No biggie, I'm sure he'll crack the top 30 someday. I've been training him ;)

    I've also hit with the #32 player in the world. Man can that guy hit the ball!! He hits the ball harder than most able-bodied 4.0s I've played against. It's skurry!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
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  30. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Maybe I'll get some for you some day!!:)

    You can e-mail what you have for comment if you would like. Have you looked at some of the posts with links to instructional video?
     
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  31. tournament

    I will check those sites. If you would like to comment on some of the footage that would be great. I checked the draw, only mens doubles.

    Thanks
     
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  32. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    I would be more than happy to comment on your video. I'll be in contact with you shortly. Or if you would like to visit the website www.grwsa.com and contact me in that manner.
     
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  33. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    hello i am in detroit area and have always wanted to try wheelchair tennis
     
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  34. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    Send me an e-mail at info@grwsa.com. We'll hook you up!!
     
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  35. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    ok sent email. can you still use normal racquets or do you need special types for wheelchair
     
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  36. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    You can start out (1 or 2 practices) with your everyday chair just to get going but you'll want a tennis chair to move around the court. We have a couple we can let you use for a couple of times. We'll set you up.

    You can use a regular racket however the grip gets beat up from pushing with it so you'll have to either re-grip it often or use a very durable grip. I use a leather one actually. My hands are like leather too.:)
     
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  37. timokabo

    timokabo Rookie

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    no problem on the grip becasue i use fairway leathers and grip like a vise clamp. how hard would you say is the transition from regular to wheelchair tennis? take care and ill ttyl
     
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  38. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    The most difficult component to the transition is learning how to grip the racket and push the chair at the same time. This takes time to get used to and to be honest build up the calluses. This is basically learning how to overcome the largest deficiency in wheelchair tennis - lateral movement. You need to hit and then quickly return back to the center of the court to prepare for the next shot. This sounds easy enough but turning 180 degrees takes valuable time away from preparing for the next shot.

    If you want to practice something even in your everyday chair I suggest that you first learn to push with the racket so it is comfortable and then second practice pushing and then turning. This can be done in your everyday chair in the basement or garage.

    If you start with these two things the first time on the court will be much easier for you.
     
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  39. ROFLingpanda

    ROFLingpanda New User

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    Sorry, what do people mean by quad players?
    I'm not a wheelchair player but I've seen one wheelchair player twice playing behind my middle school. It was interesting watching how he returned the balls but i didn't really watch him because he kept looking over at me so it felt kinda awkward >_<
     
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  40. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    A quad or quadriplegic is a person that has a limited or no use of both hands and feet. 4 - quad. Good question - sorry for the chair lingo!

    I would suggest that if you are interested in your local player that uses a wheelchair go talk to this person!! I am sure that they would love to hit or at the very least tell you about wheelchair tennis. Personally I enjoy tennis the most for this reason - socializing with people!! Go for it! What do you have to loose?
     
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  41. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Years ago, a friend and I started a wheelchair tennis program at the racquet club we
    played at. It was just by donation only b/c we were just trying to make tennis a bit
    more accessable to all members of the club.

    Using the special "sport" wheelchairs definitely helps
    a lot. I was really impressed with how motivated and persistent the
    students were. It takes much more precise positioning
    and impeccable technique to hit good shots. My friend and I had to try
    hitting from chairs to figure out how to adapt technique to wheelchairs.
     
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  42. MichEE

    MichEE New User

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    That is the best way to learn the sport or teach someone... the chair makes the difference. You can even try hitting or serving from a stool or folding chair just to get the feel of it. I also had a coach hit or serve from her knees. That also works well.
     
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