I wouldn’t consider myself to be a sporty person at all, I exercise to stay healthy and fit, but I have always struggled with motivation.
I have never understood those people who really enjoy exercising and the way it makes them feel, until I actually started exploring different sports.
Earlier on this year I was introduced to Sound Tennis, a fantastic and inventive way of playing the traditional British past-time.
Blind and partially sighted players can enjoy this sport with only a few adaptions to the game, the most obvious one being that we use a sound ball.
This is a foam tennis ball with bells in the middle, which jingles when it is bounced on the floor, so it is not the typical tennis ball as that would really hurt if one hit you, and there is a very minor possibility of that happening.
The next change is that the game is played on a Badminton court, or the service court of a Tennis court; this way there is a smaller space for a visually impaired person to navigate.
The racket used for Sound Tennis is called a short racket or a training racket, it is a bit smaller than some of the rackets on the market, but it is a little easier to handle.
When a player is ready to serve to their opponent they first have to shout, “Ready”, the opponent has to confirm and then as the ball is served the player shouts, “Play”.
This helps the person who is serving to adjust their body position correctly by hearing where the opponent is standing, and then by shouting, “Play”, the opponent knows to ready themselves to return the ball.
Finally the net is slightly lower, and all the rest of the game is played exactly the same as a normal game of Tennis.
I have been playing Tennis every other week for a few months, and I am hooked.
I am a better player now than when I was able to see, I’m not entirely sure how that works, but hey… I’ll go with it.
I have even ordered my own pink Tennis racket, which I am extremely excited about.
It is a fantastic way of getting fit, and I am going to be honest, it is a little frustrating at times as it does require a lot of practice in how to locate the ball, and then returning it to your opponent.
It is always funny to tell people that you play Tennis as well, as they have absolutely no idea whether you are joking or deadly serious.
I recommend anyone who is remotely interested in learning how to play Sound tennis to take a trip over to Metro Blind Sports>, as they have some great videos showing the game in action.
I will post more about some of the sports and exercises I have tried out, and give you my VI low down on how accessible they are.