These children were pretty excited to be able to meet Halberg Awards contender athletes on the Tuesday before the Halberg Awards night. Kevin Woolcott and Gordon Buchalter ran a coaching session and this gave the able bodied athletes and indication of the particular challenges that Mark, Cormac, Jaden, Faithleen and Matakorama (in the photo) faced when playing tennis.
Mark Sullivan spoke to the group and gave some tips about playing tennis in a wheelchair. We noted with interest that the Black Sox players Heinie and Patrick ended the session with sore hands and a couple of blisters! Lauren agreed she is quicker in the pool than pushing an athletes chair! It was a fun couple of hours and it was fantastic to see the kids with such positive attitudes.
I think I can speak for Gordon that we as coaches get a huge reward when helping these kids. It is a pity that wheelchair tennis sometimes is seen by parents as not the best way to get their children into a competitive/participation sport. A good example is amputees play wheelchair tennis rather than trying to run round the court with a prothesis. Wheelchair tennis is for any person no matter the disability.