Walking Tennis in Tendring
To make the game more accessible, Kirby Tennis Club in Tendring introduced walking tennis sessions for older inactive residents, to help aid health and wellbeing related issues such as falls prevention, osteoporosis, diabetes, cognitive degeneration and social isolation.
Tennis is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone at all levels and ages, regardless of ability. Walking tennis offers a slower format of the traditional game by enforcing simple rules to make it less physically demanding and easier to learn, whilst still being fun. Players are not allowed to run and can only allow the ball to bounce twice. Smaller modified courts with appropriate equipment are provided to ensure participants don’t have to travel as far to play.
With support from Tendring’s Find Your Active Community Connector Tracy Crook, the Walking Tennis pilot project was funded through the Together Fund. The project aims to attract new players as well as individuals who used to play the game years ago but stopped due to reduced mobility and/ or health-related conditions, as well as feeling self-conscious at a mainstream club session.
Over the course of the project, it was apparent that creating a relaxing and supportive environment was the most important aspect to ensure that participants felt comfortable and able to play a form of tennis that was suitable to their physical (ability/disability) and mental capabilities. Despite some limitations, all participants were keen to improve their tennis skills and push themselves as far as they were able to, whilst building confidence.
The project has proven that through a bit of encouragement and by creating the right atmosphere, participants feel that they can still play tennis and enjoy the game, as well as the physical and mental benefits from doing so.