Tennis students at the Palm Springs, Calif.-based J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa come from all backgrounds with a variety of different skill levels. But on Fridays, according to an article in The Desert Sun, a certain group of students have two things in common: determination and wheelchairs.
Every Friday, the Palm Desert tennis professionals offer a class tailored to people who are dependent on a wheelchair.
“It’s a complimentary class,” says Jim Leupold, Director of Tennis at the resort and a tennis professional with Peter Burwash International. The class is open to anyone who is wheelchair-bound or who must use a wheelchair to compete in a sport.
In a lot of ways, the training is the same as it is for fully able-bodied players, adds teaching professional Dave Kensler. The differences are often minor, he says.
Dozens of players have come through the program over the years. A female quadriplegic is among the regular students. Leupold and Kensler emphasize that you don’t have to be, or even aspire to be, a professional tennis player to participate.
“We’re not trying to make everyone become a tournament player,” Kensler says. “If they have not played tennis before, we’re really just trying to introduce the sport to them. Some people have already decided what they can or can’t do.
“What we’re kind of doing is taking off that limitation and saying, if you can push or move that chair around, you can still play tennis.”
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