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We used the Queensland-hosted quarter-final Davis Cup match between Australia and Germany as a vehicle to boost awareness of the breadth of tennis inclusivity.
In doing so, we:
invited students from a Brisbane special school to assist with the player draw and to have a photo opportunity with players
hosted pre-match centre court inclusive tennis displays including:
local special school red ball (modified beginners) matchplay
our Run ’n Roll program where a person using a wheelchair and a person not using a wheelchair combine to play doubles tennis
an exhibition from our players with an intellectual disability high performance team
held 'activation' events every day on outside courts including:
the inter-special school Red ball Challenge
wheelchair tennis come and try
players with an intellectual disability talent display
multicultural come and try
Concurrently, we arranged a number of upskilling and stakeholder events. These included:
a coaching workshop with presentations on creating inclusive environments; practical sessions on coaching players with hearing impairments, and coaching players with an intellectual disability
a club workshop based on Play by the Rules’ 7 Pillars of Inclusion designed to show clubs how to provide a welcoming and safe environment for all community members
an engagement forum on Tennis Queensland’s inclusivity strategic achievements and future goals, and keynote sessions with world number one player with an intellectual disability, Archie Graham, and Principal of Redland District Special School, Andrew Thompson on the impact of tennis on his students.
Why we did it
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive organisation that wants to ensure tennis is a sport from which the entire community can benefit.
We felt that an international platform would provide a great opportunity to demonstrate to the wider public that tennis is actually a sport for all.
In taking this approach, it was vital to ensure that all aspects of inclusivity were addressed, from providing participation opportunities to developing stakeholder relationships and upskilling deliverers.
How we know it worked
We sought to have all four regions within the South East corner of Queensland (metropolitan, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and south) represented throughout all initiatives during the Davis Cup draw and achieved this across all workshops, activation events and the forum.
We conducted surveys, registered participants and requested feedback during delivery. The data we collected points to the success of our approach:
27 coaches worked with 20 participants at the coaching workshop and 15 of these coaches have now, or are about to, implement inclusive programs
12 clubs attended the workshop with all taking away inclusive practices
12 organisations attended the stakeholder engagement forum with seven of these now having specific programs with Tennis Queensland
all schools involved have partnered with Tennis Queensland to deliver tennis in their curriculum
numerous positive comments from all organisations involved.
In addition, we received significant media attention: