|The tennis program continues to make strides as an up and coming lifetime sport for Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) athletes. The sport has seen a strong growth rate over the years. United States Tennis Association (USTA) teaching professional John Stone initiated the SONC Tennis program in 1985 in Sanford. Tennis served as a demonstration sport for one year, and then joined the Summer Games line-up in 1986 in Charlotte and remained there until 1992. In 1992, tennis was added to the SONC Fall Games, where it remained until 2006. After enjoying a brief stint in the SONC Midsummer Tournament, tennis was again moved to the fall. State-level competition will be offered in the fall of 2010.
SONC offers three different types of competition: individual skills, short court match play and full court match play.
Individual skills competition allows Special Olympics athletes to develop sport skills in a competitive format. This program is designed to serve as a stepping stone for athletes to move to match play as they master siills and learn game concepts. The individual skills offered for tennis are forehand and backhand volley, forehand and backhand groundstrokes, deuce and advantage court serves, and alternating groundstrokes with movement. Due to the use of PTR Speedballs, the dimensions of the individual skills stations has changed. Please use these diagrams to train your athletes.
Short court match play is very similar to the USTA quick start tennis. Athletes play on a modified court (within the service boxes), and with a larger tennis ball made of compressed foam. Athletes may choose to compete in two of three short court match play events which include singles, traditional doubles, or partnered doubles (non-Special Olympics athlete partner of significant tennis ability).
Full court match play is played on a full court with traditional tennis balls. Athletes may choose to compete in singles and either traditional doubles or Unified Sports doubles.
Divisional Qualifiers are designed to division athletes and doubles for the state-level event. Attendance and participation is mandatory to advance to state-level competition.
SONC Fall Tournament is held in High Point the first week of November.
Special Olympics National Tennis Invitational Tournament is hosted by Special Olympics North America and Special Olympics South Carolina, and is traditionally held in Hilton Head in March.
There are also several other competition opportunities for Special Olympics North Carolina athletes that are offered by programs outside of SONC. Please note that these competitions are not Special Olympics North Carolina events. Click here for a list of additional tennis tournaments and the contacts for each event.
All forms must be submitted by the local program coordinator.
Qualifier Registration Forms
Fall Tournament Sport Registration Forms
Below are the sport-specific registration forms which must be submitted by the local program coordinator along with the remainder of Fall Tournament registration. Click here for a full list of Fall Tournament registration forms.
For coaches’ use only – do NOT submit with registration
Sport Development Team
These volunteers advise SONC staff regarding sport rule modifications, competition and also train coaches in their sport! For more information on the tennis sport development team, contact one of the members below or Michael King, SONC staff liaison.
Kirstie Marx, SDT Director