17 February 2021 | Tennis West

In conjunction with the Autism Association of WA, Cahoots and Blind Sports WA, coaches championing inclusive tennis programs have delivered summer holiday camps with increased participation opportunities for players of all abilities.

Catering to children who are visually impaired, Ian Ketteringham, Director at The Tennis Pro worked with Blind Sports WA and Cahoots to facilitate tennis activities using modified equipment specific for people who are blind or of low vision.

Having been part of the adult blind low vision tennis program piloted in 2020, Tennis Australia Coach Member Ketteringham says there’s a lot to learn from delivering tennis to people of blind and low vision and that working with the children and team from Cahoots was incredibly rewarding.

‘It’s always great to offer tennis to new groups who might not have had the opportunity before. The benefits and learnings are two-way and so it becomes an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved’

‘As a coach you’re constantly needing to adapt your delivery so as to create an enjoyable yet challenging experience; and given the degree of variance in blind classifications, almost every participant requires a different approach,’

‘It’s about finding the right challenge point for the individual and when you see what’s possible under the right conditions, everyone walks away having accomplished something,’

‘There’s a lot to be said for the passion and determination of people who are blind or of low vision. I witnessed it during the adult program and again with the kids, it was something that really stood out and something that really impressed me,’

‘And what was equally impressive to seeing the kids on court achieving things they never thought possible, was the encouragement and support offered by the amazing volunteers from Cahoots. The atmosphere they created was truly something else,’ Ketteringham said.

‘I enjoy the opportunity which comes from connecting with different people and always find that there’s great learning to be had as a coach when you need to adapt your coaching techniques to suit the abilities of the participants,’ Ketteringham said.

Tennis Excellence Head Coach Mitch Vernon delivered a number of modified tennis lessons to teenage participants of the Autism Association of WA’s Sports Academy, providing players with a safe learning environment to ensure a positive tennis experience.

“Working with the students from the Autism Association’s Sports Academy program was a great experience,”

“We had nine students of varying abilities join in the sessions and for many it was their first time picking up a racquet,”

“It was great to see them all giving their best and having lots of fun in the process. I managed a 30-shot rally with one of the students, it was a rewarding moment for both of us,” Vernon said.

The programs delivered throughout January, are in addition to a number of ongoing inclusive tennis programs operating across Perth, including programs which cater to players with Autism, Down Syndrome and intellectual and physical disabilities. A full list of inclusion programs and providers is tabled below.

Inclusion program Coach Club
Autism, Down Syndrome and intellectual and physical disabilities Perth Performance Tennis Academy Bull Creek Tennis Club
Wheelchair Tennis Perth Tennis Academy Manning Tennis Club
People with an Intellectual Impairment (PWII) Break Point Tennis South Perth Tennis Centre and Applecross Tennis Club
Autism and intellectual disability Tennis with Justin Floreat Park Tennis Club
Vision Impaired The Tennis Pro Nollamara Tennis Club
Autism Tennis Excellence Blue Gum TC /Melville TC /Wembley Downs TC

For more information on inclusive tennis programs, please head to:

Tennis West acknowledges and thanks the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for its ongoing support of tennis in Western Australia