ACE Tennis Club – Play Where the Champions Play!

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Alana

    Come along to learn or practice your tennis at the ACE Tennis Club at Melbourne Park. The club plan to offer more clinics and social tennis in 2017, subject to sufficient interest. We hope to have a registration day early Term 1.

    The club is for adults, young people and children seven years and older to participate in coaching lessons for all standards provided by qualified DTA coaches including former international tennis champions Peter Thrupp and Glen Findell. The whole family can get out on the court and have a hit. This is an opportunity to have fun, develop tennis skills and meet other families.

    A young boy in grey and black T-shirt holds a tennis racquet. A man in blue shirt bends over showing the boy how to swing the racquet.

    Glen working with Hugh to achieve the perfect shot

    Glen explains the fantastic plans they have for encouraging young players who are deaf or hard of hearing:  “I was president of Deaf Tennis Australia at the time when this idea came up and we’re always eager to see new programs set up to encourage deaf/hard of hearing children’s participation in the wonderful game of tennis – we’ve had a group of talented deaf tennis players come through in the last decade and would love to see the next generation of deaf tennis players coming through and hopefully one day represent Australia at the international level or even play socially for fun all the way through their lives.

    “If we can get a group of deaf/hard of hearing kids involved and playing together regularly, they may be more likely to stick with the sport in the long term rather than dropping out further down the track. Understandably tennis is an individual sport, hence the need to have a group of like-minded kids playing together is of long term benefit.
    “Having grown up playing competitive tennis and looking back on it, I can now see that it was an isolating experience being the only deaf player around. However, I was blessed to play at a family friendly tennis club where everyone was pretty close  with each other and playing with fellow juniors whom I’d played with for quite some time made it all the more comfortable. It’s been a truly enjoyable experience meeting other established deaf tennis players in my twenties and being able to travel with them to overseas tournaments for representative competition. I remain friends with some of them today.

    “I’ve been lucky enough to play at three Deaflympics where I’ve won a silver medal and finished fourth; also a bronze medal at the World Deaf Tennis Championships; and winning the Newcombe Medal for Disabled Player of the Year. In mainstream tennis I continue to play Men’s 1st Grade pennant in Victoria and have competed in the Asia Tennis League where I played Sam Groth as well as Australia’s other top players. I’m also the current Oceania/Australian Men’s Over 35s singles champion.
    When we asked Glen about any barriers he has had to overcome, he explained, “Being involved in junior squads at my club were enjoyable as the coach and other juniors were familiar with my deafness, however when it came to the talent squads where I was placed with other top juniors in the state, it was a rather isolating experience as the coach and fellow squad members lacked the awareness about my deafness and I didn’t particularly enjoy it at all. In fact I was glad when it was over!!
    “There will obviously be challenges in new environments especially where the expectations are higher and the coaches demand more of you, hence it’s important to develop strategies with the coach right from the start to overcome the communication issues.”

    Hugh and his sister Micaela have enjoyed the ACE Tennis Club. Their dad Michael says, “It’s important to make sports accessible for children with disabilities to help them with social engagement so we like to give our children as many different opportunities like this as we can. Enabling them to connect with others outside school and make new friends helps open their eyes to the bigger picture.  Of course it’s great for their health and fitness as well. Hugh loves different sports and does really well. His team has just won the basketball grand final and he won the Most Valued Player in the Grand Final and the Most Determined Player for the Under 9s age group at his club.” Well done Hugh! We hope you keep enjoying lots of great sports!

    The ACE Tennis Club is proudly supported by Deaf Tennis Australia, Tennis Victoria and Deaf Children Australia.
    To register for the ACE Tennis Club, please contact: Pete Folan by email: peter.folan@deafchildren.org.au.

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