Cary, NC — The Western Wake Tennis Association, in partnership with the Town of Cary, is is back on the courts and offering free clinics in wheelchair tennis.
Wheelchair Tennis Program Re-Launches
“Tennis is a sport for everyone and this program is proof of that,” said WWTA Executive Director, Laura Weygandt.
Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis with the exception that a wheelchair athlete can let the ball bounce twice. The sport is a great outlet for people with spinal cord injuries or folks who are amputees.
In these Cary-based clinics, there are no fees to play and both raquets and sport chairs are provided to eliminate the barriers of giving it a try.
Wheelchair tennis is a sport played in the Paralympic Games, a worldwide mulit-sport event similar to the Olympics, but for athletes with a range of disabilities. As you might imagine, the sport is highly inclusive and can be played in doubles with able bodied players and wheelchair players together.
Pandemic Precautions Take the Clinics Outdoors
Under normal conditions, these clinics were offered on covered, indoor courts to ensure all players can play regardless of weather. Now, the Town of Cary provides the outdoor court space and the pros that run the clinics at no charge.
In speaking with Weygandt about what this clinic means to the individuals it’s geared towards, she said,
“In some ways, many of us have experienced the day to day isolation, due to the pandemic, that many wheelchair or physically disabled people deal with all of the time – with or without a pandemic.”
Because of this isolation, it’s that much more meaningful and important to offer these clinics to provide a way for people with disabilities to gain the mental, social and physical benefits of the sport.
Get Involved as a Volunteer
As a non-profit, the goal of the Western Wake Tennis Association is to promote and grow tennis in Western Wake County for people of all abilities. A big part of making that possible is bringing in more players and volunteers.
“We, the volunteers and pros, are inspired by the players’ spirit and commitment to put themselves out there,” said Weygandt.
“Our players and volunteers are very inclusive and supportive of all players and it seems that they have a lot of fun at the clinics. I know I do.”
Several volunteers are needed each week to provide the best experience possible. These volunteers do a variety of tasks to support this program such as giving assistance to and from the parking lot, helping athletes get situated in chairs, picking up balls, playing tennis in all play activities, doing drills and hitting with attending family members.
Anyone with a desire to volunteer or to find more information, contact WWTA Executive Director, Laura Weygandt.
Get Involved as an Athlete
These clinics are designed for any level of player from never played to experienced and are open to both youth and adult athletes.
“People considering coming should understand that we have many levels of ability and disability and we do our best to meet them where they are to try to create the best experience possible,” said Weygandt.
The organizers of these clinics would love to see the word of these clinics spread as it can be tough to reach the people that they are aiming to serve. Right now, due to the pandemic, the clinics do not have a long-term schedule and are being planned out as is possible.
For those interested in getting on the court as a player or if you know someone who might want to, the best way to get involved is a direct email to Laura Weygandt. Additional information can be found at the WWTA website.
Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos provided by Laura Weygandt.
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