Blind and Playing Tennis: Check It Out

Posted on October 5, 2015 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Keep your eye on the ball, the number one advice tennis coaches shout from the sidelines.

But what if you’re blind and want to play tennis?

This marks the latest barrier just broken on September 25, 2015 by Catholic Guild for the Blind in partnership with Court16 in Brooklyn.

A first of its kind in the United States, “Eye on Tennis” uses special foam balls with bells to alert an introductory crew of five severely visually impaired or blind athletes that it is time to swing.  Court16’s Founder, Anthony Evrard, inspired by his future mother-in-law who is visually impaired, patterned the program on programs that currently exist only in England and Japan.

Then he teamed with Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind for staffing, players and advice.  He tapped into the Guild’s summer internship program to hire Samantha De Roche, a visually impaired Guild client, to head up the program.  This sports marketing major at Long Island University learned tennis basics, then brought in four more visually impaired players to serve up their first match on September 25th.  Next steps include recruiting more participants, arranging training sessions, modifying equipment and determine rules of play.

“This launch was just the start,” says Anthony Severo, employment coordinator for Catholic Guild for the Blind who is helping teach forehand and backhand. “Despite being novices, they all did well.”

Hard to imagine?  Seeing is believing.

Check out these photos on Facebook.

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