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 🙂

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Goalball Taster Session

On Saturday, i took part in a Goalball session organised by
Disability sport Northern Ireland.
Goalball is a sport where 3 people play. They are all blindfolded and you have to try and stop the ball from going in to the other persons goal. It can be very fast paced and gets very competitive.

I had played Goalball years ago as a taster session in Ballymena, but it was only held once and there wasn’t much interest. I was delighted when i got an email from Disability sports telling me that it was on and signed up straight away for it. I mentioned the session at one of our branch meetings for the fundraising branch, and a couple of people were interested, so we decided to all go along together to see what it was like.

So on Saturday morning, all 3 of us plus two dogs piled on to the 8 o’clock train from Ballymena as the session was in Belfast. It didn’t start until 2 o’clock, so we had a chance to grab a cuppa before we got the bus to the community centre where the session was to be held.

When we arrived, we met the two ladies from Disability Sport, plus two teachers who taught special needs children, plus two people who had came over from England. One was a coach from
Goalball UK
Who are the governing body for Goalball across the UK, and a guy who had played as a professional. There were two other ladies there too. We were also shown a place where the dogs could spend if they wished too. We were then given brand new knee pads and elbow pads which had been purchased by Disability Sports. They felt very odd on. I had to get smaller elbow pads though as the first ones were too big for my arms and they were worried they’d keep sliding about. We then found a place to tie the dogs before making a circle in the middle of the floor. We had to pass the ball to each other saying our names first and getting faster and faster, before having to say the persons name who was beside us, and stopping the ball from going in between our legs. We had to make our legs wide like a gate, while someone roled the ball along the floor. A person had to then run round the outside of the circle before the ball got around the circle.

It was then on to some propper goalball. We had to get down on our knees for this one. There was string taped across the floor to measure outa 9 metre courte and to orientate the players as to where there were on the courte. Each goalball courte is 9 metres. The people with no vision were then given blind folds so that everyone was on a level playing field. We then had to practice getting in to what was known as the defensive possition. This is where you lie on the floor to create a barier and to stop the ball from going in to the other teams goal by taking up as much of the floor as you possibly could. We were using a softer ball which was like a bowling ball with holes in it. It still rattled like a normal ball though. We also learnt how to shoot the ball from standing too. Each team played two games altogether.

The session was fantastic craic. When it was being explained, it sounded more complicated than it was meant to be, but once you got in to playing, you just had to go with it. It was certainly quite warm by the time we had finished. I would like to thank Goalball UK for coaching us, and i hope it takes off over here. The dogs were certainly very excited about seeing the ball, but i’m sure once they got used to it, they would have been grand.

I really did enjoy it and can’t wait to play some more. Hopefully it won’t be long until the next session. I don’t know if i would want to play competitively, but i really did enjoy it.