Coaches en­cour­age more in chairs

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

AS re­cently as two years ago Aus­tralia had just three ju­nior wheel­chair ath­letes play­ing week af­ter week.

While the suc­cess of ath­letes like three-time par­a­lympic cham­pion Dy­lan Al­cott has now seen that num­ber in­crease to 33, two lo­cal coaches want to grow that num­ber even higher, af­ter they were se­lected for a pres­ti­gious na­tional pro­gram aim­ing to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion and skill within wheel­chair ten­nis.

East Fre­man­tle’s Jack Bald­win and North Lake’s James Guil­foile are among just 37 coaches from around the coun­try se­lected for Ten­nis Aus­tralia’s Wheel­chair Devel­op­ment Coach Pro­gram.

Bald­win said when he heard about how few wheel­chair play­ers Aus­tralia had, he nat­u­rally wanted to help.

“It’s more than just hit­ting a ball over the net, it’s get­ting outdoors, keep­ing fit and hav­ing a bit of fun,” he said.

“Why should wheel­chair play­ers miss out? “It’s a game for life.” Guil­foile said as a pri­vate coach for a na­tion­ally ranked wheel­chair ten­nis player, he saw how im­por­tant it was to grow the sport among wheel­chair users.

“It’s very im­por­tant to open ten­nis up as an ac­ces­si­ble sport for peo­ple who use wheel­chairs be­cause it helps them de­velop new friend­ships, gives them a great work­out and en­ables them to fully par­tic­i­pate in a great sport,” he said.

Visit­sult­ten­ for in­for­ma­tion on Jack Bald­win’s pro­gram or www.ten­­mys­ten­nis for Jim Guil­foile’s pro­gram.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey­mu­ni­ d471879

Ten­nis coaches Jim Guil­foile and Jack Bald­win.

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