Rock and Roll in River City

acac-RTA Rolling Aces by Shima Grover

Rock and Roll in River City

What’s shakin’ in wheelchair tennis, you ask?  We answer, “The acac/RTA Rolling Aces Wheelchair Tennis Training Program is the latest addition to Richmond’s wheelchair tennis offerings.”

acac Athletic and Wellness generously donated indoor court time for the purpose of hosting a weekly wheelchair tennis player development program.  Participants can take 90 minute instructional clinics on Mondays and participate in supervised match play on Tuesdays. Jason ACAC wheelchair program 001Kinder, acac’s Director of Tennis, is the lead for the program.  Gary Rudd, a Professional Tennis Registry certified wheelchair tennis instructor is the trainer and coach.  The addition of this regularly scheduled program can help you progress on the path of learning to play wheelchair tennis, improving your game and competing in USTA sanctioned tournaments, all in Richmond.

The acac/RTA Wheelchair Tennis Training Program expands upon the introductory wheelchair tennis program that is offered twice a year through Sportable and RTA.  Each introductory Sportable/RTA wheelchair tennis lesson series meets once a week for six weeks at the Westover Hills Tennis Complex.  Sportable is a unique local organization that offers thirteen adaptive sports opportunities and transforms lives of people with physical and visual disabilities.

DSCN8393Another introductory wheelchair tennis program is provided at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center three times a year.  The VA Medical Center program is free.  If interested in the VA program, please contact Nicole Shuman at the Center.  Nicole, a recreation therapist, is the adaptive sport coordinator at the Center.

The goal of the organizers at acac and Richmond Tennis Association is to create a place and program where wheelchair tennis players in the region can stay connected and form a community.  Perhaps you have already been introduced to wheelchair tennis and would like to continue playing and further develop your wheelchair tennis skills.  If so, the acac/RTA Rolling Aces wheelchair tennis program may be a great fit for you.  It is designed to provide Sportable/RTA introductory program participants a skill development pathway to improve their tennis performance and prepare for competitive play.  The acac/RTA Rolling Aces program also provides experienced wheelchair tennis players opportunities to further improve their games and mentor less experienced players.

In addition to these training and development programs, RTA and Midlothian Athletic Club annually present The MAC Wheelchair Tennis Open. This USTA sanctioned wheelchair tennis tournament is part of a grassroots wheelchair tennis grand prix circuit sponsored by the Virginia Tennis Association.  The circuit has three stops-Wilmington, NC, Richmond and Williamsburg.  Winning players are awarded grand prix points at each leg of the circuit.  The circuit champions are crowned at the final event on the campus of College of William and Mary the weekend of October 24th.

The Richmond leg of the grand prix series, usually the first weekend in May, is hosted by the Midlothian Athletic Club and RTA.  Local sponsors of the Richmond tournament are VCU-Bertier Foundation and Data Technologies.  The tournament provides all meals, including a player party dinner, to participants free of charge.  Donations from national and local organizations and businesses are distributed as prizes at a drawing at the player dinner making participants winners in more than one way.

Now that you know all about wheelchair tennis in Richmond, come out and join the programs.  We welcome able-bodied players as volunteer hitters and/or spectators at any of the programs.  Better yet, invite a wheelchair tennis player to join your league.  “Up/down” 002doubles, also referred to as “run/roll” doubles, adds variety and demonstrates how easily tennis has integrated wheelchair tennis into the sport.  Wheelchair tennis players can always partner with another wheelchair tennis player or with an able-bodied player in any doubles game.  The rules of the game are unchanged except that balls remain in play for wheelchair tennis players (but not their able-bodied partners or opponents) until they have bounced a third time.  Only the first bounce must be within the court boundaries. We hope that you will take the opportunity to be a part of the wheelchair tennis game.  We are building a tennis village and you can make a difference.