Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tennis: Going Balls Out

Just before I received my leg, I made a list of goals:

1) Walk perfectly (no limp) in three weeks (thanks MJ).
2) Back to rock-climbing in one month.
3) Able to jog/run in three months.
4) Playing tennis in six months.

This list has been posted as the wallpaper (background image) on my phone ever since, meaning that I look at it about 30 times a day. Today I achieved item number four a few months early!

Playing tennis requires being able to do number three on the list (jogging/running) as well as a few other skills:
- pivoting
- running backwards
- stopping and starting quickly
- having the ability to lunge
- side to side quick stepping
- looking good in tennis shorts

This made playing tennis one of those "ultimate goals" for me, thinking it would take real practice on my leg to be able to play the game properly.

I wasn't as quick on my feet as I'd hoped from my running practice but all of the other skills came into play. With practice, my speed and agility will improve, but for now, I'm counting on my killer ball placement skills to foil my much quicker opponent.

Getting nice flex out of the ankle there.

Lisa working on her form. I'm glad we only played one set; near the end she'd figured out my weakness and was starting to play it to her advantage!

Returning the shot. Keeping my prosthetic leg behind me allows for maximum agility. This allows me to pivot quickly without twisting my leg in the socket while also putting me up onto the flexible toe for maximum energy return.


  1. Hi! My name is JJ Larson and I was actually born with what is called congenital amputation. Basically I was just born without my left arm below my elbow and I have worn a prosthesis since I was 3 months old. I started playing tennis when I was ten and I ended up playing division I college tennis. For the heck of it I googled "amputee tennis" and found your site. Its so great to see what other people have accomplished! Keep up the great work, you are a true champion!

  2. Hey Mike - great blog! I am also a left BKA tennis player - though I am just starting tennis again after 3 years with the prosthesis - and it's great to be back on the court. I'd love to hear more about changes you've made to your game and what's worked (and hasn't). I live in Vienna Austria - if you are even in the area looking for a game, me know.
    Ciao - Cynthia

  3. Hi Cynthia,

    A game of tennis sounds great!

    I've actually been playing a lot more lately. It's a great sport for me because no one can bowl me over on the court and the ground is perfectly level so I can take risks with my agility without fear.

    My serve is most definitely improving and I find that I rely on the volley a lot more than I used to. I think running backwards or changing direction fast is slightly more problematic in a game situation so instead I've become more aggressive at the net.

    I'm learning to be a lot more agile on the new leg than I was on my interim so that's helping as well.

    Talk to you soon!

  4. Hello my name is Enzo Amadei Jerez i from Chile,i am a coach of tennis, i have a disability in my right side but i play in standing position i have a project to training people with disability but they play in standing position. please i need to contact with you. my facebook is Enzo Amadei Jerez

    We are in contact

    Best regards