Wheelchair Tennis classes at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre have welcomed their youngest player yet. The 9 year old, who has Cerebral Palsy, is already making great progress under the guidance of LTA qualified wheelchair coach, Georgina Coe.
Fusion Lifestyle reintroduced Wheelchair Tennis at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre in November 2021, providing opportunities for many local wheelchair users to return to tennis.
The Wheelchair Tennis classes run once a week providing an hour-long coaching session followed by a practice session. Classes are attended by players recovering from stroke, with cerebral palsy, amputees, spinal injuries and hearing impaired.
Players of many different levels attend each week, often sharing each other's stories and providing positive encouragement while participating.
Coach Georgina Coe said "We're delighted to have welcomed our youngest player yet. It's great to see our more experienced players providing encouragement and help to newcomers. Our sessions result in a great improvement participant's physical, social and mental wellbeing."
One of the players, Mark Pengelly, whose condition is progressive, says, "When I play tennis, I feel great. It wasn't until I started playing wheelchair tennis, I remembered how much I enjoyed pushing myself, being competitive, and being active. This may sound a little extreme to some, but it makes me feel human, it helps normalise me."
Another player, Jade Sheppard, age 26 added, "Even though I've only been part of the group for a short time, I have noticed an improvement in my playing style. I have never played with other wheelchair players before, so it's been great to get to know the other members and see how they play."
Jack Wells, said, "Sessions have been a great way for me to get back into sport since becoming an amputee. It's great to feel just as normal as everyone else as we all have our reasons for playing in a chair, but when we're on the court we're all in the same boat."
Wheelchair tennis continues at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre every Tuesday from 7-9pm at a cost of £5 per person.