Tennis Clinic Teaches Special Needs Athletes


Amanda Young and Sebastian Fojut

The Let’s Rally Together Club held its 1st tennis clinic for special needs children at St. Mary’s College on November 10. The club, a non-profit organization created by sophomore Noel Seo, donates used tennis equipment to disabled or underprivileged children throughout the Bay Area.

“I had a bunch of rackets in my garage that were too small and they were kind of useless, so I decided to donate them to people who could use them,” Seo explained. Now, the club is in the process of scheduling more of their own tennis clinics for special need kids, completely free of charge.

The clinic was supposed to be held at Campolindo, but due to “an issue with reserving Campo’s court,” according to Seo, it was rescheduled to take place at St. Mary’s College.

Another setback was the poor air quality from the Camp Fire. However, Seo said, “Despite these difficulties, we ended up having a good turnout with 4 participants and 7 volunteers, and the clinic went smoothly.”

Sophomore club member Justine Ellery said, “[The participants] were so eager to improve and they always seemed positive. They definitely did not let their special needs interfere with what they wanted to accomplish.”

Junior Juliette Barlier said she volunteered at the clinic because of her love for tennis. “I was very excited when I heard that a club would be hosting tennis clinics for kids with disabilities,” she said. “I loved seeing the kids faces light up when winning points. I also really enjoyed spending time with my tennis team outside of practice doing the coaching rather than the learning.”

According to sophomore tennis player Alicia Babson, the participants were able to experience working as a team and improving their game “while having a really fun time.”

“I think the coaches specifically benefited from the clinic because we learned how to coach children who are on the spectrum in an effective way,” said Babson.

Barlier added that the clinic was fun for the children because they were able to play with their parents and each other. “I think unique clinics like this one are a great way for people who don’t have the opportunity to play on a team sport to get a sense of what it’s like,” said Barlier.

“I’m so glad that we were able to share our love of tennis and make a difference in these kids’ lives. Hopefully, we can get more volunteers and participants for our future clinics,” said Seo.