Tennis Player Development
Special Olympics Tennis gives athletes the opportunity to learn and perform a variety of skills that can be played throughout life. At the player development level, athletes further develop their skills in serving, forehand and backhand strokes. Special Olympics Tennis has multiple levels of competition to accommodate all levels of play.
The purpose of the tennis skills program is to allow athletes to train in basic tennis skills and allow participation for athletes with equipment or mobility assistance devices that, for safety reasons, cannot participate in match play. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to match play. These skills include racket bounce, “ups,” forehand volley, backhand ground stroke, serve-deuce court, serve-advantage court and alternating ground stroke with movement.
Tennis skills is managed by Special Olympics but executed by Howard County Parks and Rec. The athlete’s caregiver is expected to remain during the training hour. There are no formal competitions.
Tuesday: Player Development – Practice begins with exercise warmups, then racket/ball drills, practice on stroke development and mini-matches.
Thursday: Skills through HoCo Parks and Recreations – Practice begins with exercise warmups, then racket/ball drills, practice on stroke development and mini-matches.
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- Athletes in the basic skills group must be at least age 8.
- Athletes in the player development group must have a mastery of individual skills including forehand volley, backhand ground stroke, successful serve, and ability to keep the ball in play.
- Wear tennis/athletic shoes on the tennis courts for the safety of the athletes & to protect the court surface.
- Bring a tennis racket to practice. A limited number of rackets are available for athletes to borrow.
- Bring a water bottle to practice.
- Appropriate clothing and shoes must be worn for practices.
- Uniforms and hats provided for competition.
- Two qualifiers (one in-house and one county sanctioned qualifier)
- Fall Fest (State games): Saint Mary’s University, 16300 Old Emmittsburg
- Provide help at tournaments, guide athletes to assigned court, form and maintain lines, transition to next activity, model tennis, participate in game play.
- Volunteers may act as unified partners to pair up with an athlete for match and/or tournament play. Volunteers will need to model tennis behavior and compete at the athlete’s match level.
- Coaches are needed to provide instruction on tennis strokes and rules evaluate athlete skills, plan drills to improve skills and prepare athletes for tennis competitions.