One of the great things about the game of blind and visually impaired tennis is that the majority of its rules are the same as those of tennis, with a few modifications.
We're not going to overload you with fine detail at this stage, but will simply outline some of the key differences.
To keep things as fair as possible, players are placed into a playing category determined by their level of sight. Don't worry about this just yet, this is only required if you wish to enter competitions. If you come along to one of our sessions we can fairly accurately place you into the correct category to get you started. You will see at practice sessions that players of different classifications can still play together.
Sight classifications range from a B1 category (least sight/blind) up to B5 Category (most sight).
Whilst we play on a conventional tennis court, the court is reduced in size depending on sight classification. B1 players use a singles court which is 12.8 metres long by 6.1 metres wide and B2 to B5 players use a singles court which is 18.28 meters long by 8.23 meters wide.
So you can compare the sizes, a full size tennis singles court is 23.77 metres long by 8.23 metres wide.
Please contact us if you would like more information on court set-up.
The reduced size courts are marked out using tape which clearly identifies the lines. For B1 players, a length of bungee cord is placed under the tape to allow players to feel where the lines are.
Rather than using a conventional tennis ball, blind and partially sighted players use a larger foam ball which has a smaller plastic ball at its core, This plastic ball contains ball bearings which make a noise when hit by a racket and when the ball bounces. The sound enables players to track the direction and location of the ball by using their hearing.
Dependent on sight classification, players are allowed a different number of bounces.
B1 and B2 players are allowed up to 3 bounces before returning the ball.
B3 players are allowed up to 2 bounces before returning the ball.
B4 and B5 players are allowed a maximum of one bounce before returning the ball.
Blind and visually impaired players serve in the same way as in tennis, however, all serving players are required to communicate to their opponent before starting the point, ready and play are the key words used.
That's basically it. All that remains is for you to get in contact and come along to one of our sessions. See you on court.