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Blind Tennis: Coaches’ perspectives on an Australian-based program


It started with a dream and became a reality for Miyoshi Takei, the founder of Blind Tennis. As recalled by Takei, a 16 year old Japanese teenager who lost his sight at the age of 18 months.

“I have an elder and two younger brothers; we grew up playing soccer, baseball and other sports. I obviously had great difficulty with baseball because I could not see the ball. It was frustrating. I worked on designing a ball that made noise so I could hear it instead of seeing it. But I was attracted to the sound of hitting a ball with a racket, playing tennis. People who play tennis know the pleasant sound ‘Paccoon’. I thought ‘I can play tennis if I can hear the sound of the ball.’ In 1984, I went to a high school for the blind and researched a tennis ball specifically for the blind. …. I thought ‘I can play tennis if I can hear the sound of the ball’… I wanted to play a sport like able-bodied did. I wanted to play a game WITH ablebodied. I wanted to play tennis on the same court with them. The only thing I needed was a ball which emitted a sound” (Takei, 2007, p.1).

History now records that the first sound-adapted tennis ball was designed by Takei in 1984 and the first Japanese national tournament for the blind was conducted by Takei in 1990 (Matsui, 2014). Takei himself was an outstanding competitor, winning 16 national titles before his death in a train accident at the age of 42 in 2011.

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