National Lottery Good Causes Award For Blind Tennis

As many of you know, i took up blind, or VI tennis approximatly 2 years ago after i was introduced to it at May fest in 2016. Since then, a pilot was set up in Belfast initially for 6 weeks, but it is now full time at

Windsor tennis

From not knowing how to play tennis, we have learnt how to play it propperly as well as taking part in our first tennis tournament in Dublin as well as playing local matches against each other. 5 of the players took part in the world blind tennis championships at the end of April in Dublin and loved every minute. Our coach has gained a qualification in teaching blind tennis and we all have been provided with our own rackets. The tennis wouldn’t be possible without

Disability sport NI

Who fund the tennis as well as Sport Ireland and the national lottery. Disability sport also had those initial conversations with Windsor to try and get a club up and running. The tennis would not happen without Windsor itself and the fabulous coaches and volunteers who really make the tennis what it is. Not only do they provide encouragement, but we are treated like normal tennis players who just happen to have a visual impairment.

The whole blind tennis programme in general have been nominated for a national lottery good causes award which is the main crux of this post really. Voting opened yesterday and hopefully, we will go further if all of you kind people please vote for us. Here is a bit about the nomination and the voting process below from Disability sport.

“We are very excited to share the news that the Blind Tennis Programme at Windsor has been shortlisted for the National Lottery Good Causes Awards. The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects. They celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. The project started at Windsor and has developed over the last 2 years, so much so that we have a second Blind Tennis Club up and running at CIYMS Belfast, more people playing the sport, opportunities for children to get involved as well as adults and many opportunities for competition. We are the only project in Northern Ireland to be shortlisted to be a finalist from around 700 entries, and we are absolutely delighted. The winning project receives a cash price and a night at the BBC Studios in England. Therefore, we need your help to encourage people to vote for us!!

Please share the link below with as many of your contacts as possible to encourage them to both vote and also to share it with their own networks.

http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/blind-tennis-windsor-tennis

Telephone

People can vote using this number

08448369705

Calls cost 5p and connection charges may be applied by some networks, so please check with your provider.

Only one vote per email address, social media account or telephone number counts so please vote from all three platforms if you can. Online, Twitter and Telephone.

Information on the project can be found on the webpage that the voting is linked to.

This campaign will run for one month from today.”

So could i please ask everybody to vote? You can share it on facebook and Twitter using the hashtag

#NLABlindTennis. Thank you so much for voting and fingers crossed for a positive result 🙂


My First Tennis Tournament

I’m not long back from attending my first official tennis tournament down in Dublin.

Back in May 2016, i took part in visually impaired tennis at May fest and loved it. I happened to mention that it would be cool if it came to Northern Ireland, but thought nothing more about it. Eventually though, through

<a href=”http://www.dsni.co.uk”>Disability Sports NI</a>

And

<a href=”http://www.winsortennis.co.uk”>The Winsor tennis club</a>

Becoming involved, it became a reality. Basically, it is played like normal tennis, only the ball is bigger than normal and spongy. Inside the ball, is a smaller ball with ball bearings in it so that we can hear where the ball bounces. If you are a B1 which is no sight up to light perception i think, you play on half a normal courte and you are allowed up to 3 bounces to hit the ball after it has been served to you. If you are a B2 or B3, you play on a 3 quarter length courte and are allowed up to two bounces before hitting the ball after it is served to you. Otherwise the rules are exactly the same for normal play.

I have been playing the tennis now since about May time and i love it. I don’t always return the ball after a serve, and sometimes i forget to move for the ball, but otherwise i really do love it. It is the type of sport you would never get bored of as once you start playing, you just get in to the zone and it flies in.

On Sunday past, about 12 of us all headed down to Dublin to play the Dublin Visually impaired tennis team in a friendly tournament. We headed down to the <a href=”http://www.shankilltennisclub.com”>Shankill tennis club</a>

In Dublin. We arrived around half 12 or so and were greeted by the coaches and volunteers. We were provided with some tea and sandwiches which was a lovely welcome.

We then headed off to where the actual courtes were. We would be playing on an indoor courte which was a new experience for us as there are only two indoor tennis courtes here so we played on an outside courte. Apparently, Shankill have about 7 indoor courtes and 3 outdorr courtes plus a club house, so it is massive. Before we went on to the outdoor courte, we had to change our shoes as stones and things can scratch the surface of the courte. Once that was taken care of, we headed on to the courte. The courte felt like very hard tarmac but it was super clean and had a springy feel to it. It felt very nice under foot. Because a few of the Dublin team were unavailable through injury and illness, there were 5 chairs sitting along the side of the courte so that two people could play a game at a time and then we swaped over to play someone else.

We started by doing our warm up which consisted of jogging on the spot, running with our knees high and running as fast as we could whilst still running on the spot. We then had to put our hands behind us and try to hit our hands with our heels before running and rotating our shoulders back and forward. After thaat, we all gathered round to introduce ourselves and explain what catigory we were in and when we started playing tennis. It was then on to the excitement of playing a match.

We played 4 games altogether and were delighted to find out that we had won the tournament against Dublin. At the end of each game, each player had to shake hands with their fello player and say “well played”.

The time absolutely flew in and i could have kept playing. It was then back to the club house for some well deserved refreshments and to thank the Shankill club and players for hosting us. I really did have a ball and the bus back was full of craic about how we did.

Our next tournament will be in January back in Dublin. I am looking forward to it already!

I would like to thank the coaches at Winsor for coaching us so far and am looking forward to resumming play after Christmas.