Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Rocky Mountain Tennis Center caters to athletes of all abilities – Boulder Daily Camera

Kyle Taulman didn’t want to play wheelchair tennis when he was 9 years old.

Then, a resident of Steamboat Springs, the now 19-year-old student at the University of Colorado at Boulder just couldn’t get into a sport that was tailored for healthy people. The program’s trainers did not understand how to convey the adaptive version of the sport.

When the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center and the 5430 Kids Tennis Foundation first launched their wheelchair program last year, his view of the sport changed dramatically.

“During COVID, I looked for something to do and saw that there was indeed a wheelchair tennis camp,” Taulman explained. “When I was younger and played, I didn’t really enjoy it because I was taught how to play tennis. … They don’t teach the same agility that we would get in wheelchair tennis. When I tried wheelchair tennis with these guys early last summer, I thought, ‘Oh! I finally understand how to exercise in tennis. ‘”

The program has grown to support a number of athletes in the area. Over the weekend, 26 players gathered at the CU South Tennis Complex to learn, play, and have fun in the sweltering heat. They welcomed senior coaches from across the country, from Highlands Ranch coach Frank Adams to a Paralympic bronze medalist from the 2000 Sydney Games.

He may once have represented the United States on the world stage, but now Scott Douglas, 57, is an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Colorado in the School of Sport and Exercise Science. He has helped Kendall and Donna Chitambar, who own the RMTC, teach athletes and teach them all of the nuances associated with the wheelchair version of the sport.

Timothy Hurst / employee photographer

BOULDER, CO – JULY 23: Tomas Majetic passes the ball during a wheelchair tennis camp on Friday, July 23, 2021 at the South Complex Tennis Center in Boulder, Colorado. (Timothy Hurst / Staff Photographer)

Last year he took a coaching job with the new CU wheelchair tennis club team that Taulman plays for. One day he hopes to train a future Paralympic gold medalist. For now, however, he is happy to share the sport with those who love him the most.

“It’s just summer camp,” Douglas said of the weekend celebrations. “Then we have our regular training sessions at the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center all year round. In winter we have the bubble and we play inside, but we try to program continuously. It’s not exactly winter, but it’s a great time to get better. I started in February, came twice a week and really got into it. We’re still building it, so it’s still in its infancy. “

Tomas Majetic and Sabina Czauz, both 14 years old, started the program together last year. Since then, they have learned to appreciate the sport more as they hone their skills.

“My mother found it and brought me here,” said Majetic. “I like it better than at the beginning. It was more fun. “

“Most of the time it’s summer and I wouldn’t really do anything,” said Czauz. “It gives me the opportunity to do more sports, especially since I can’t run that far. It also gives me something to look forward to when it’s a bad week or whatever. “

Krista Ramirez-Villatoro, 22, started playing sports in California when she was attending UCLA. When the pandemic sent her home, she tried her luck with RMTC’s program. Since then, she has achieved more than she could ever have hoped for with her original team.

“I think this is a lot more player development than just for fun, so we can definitely work on our skills a lot more,” she said. “I appreciate that. I think it’s the difference between athletics and recreational tennis, so you learn how to have better game strategy and how to actually play matches.”

Jason Allen, who works as the National Research and Education Manager for the US Tennis Association, has worked with the Chitambars for years. He came from Orlando to Colorado this week for the junior national tournament in Denver and decided to help shape the summer camp.

He’s excited about the direction the organization is headed and can’t wait to see where it’s headed.

“The Rocky Mountain Tennis Center and what they do, in my opinion, is literally the archetype of how all tennis programs should be,” he said, “because it’s generally a phenomenal tennis program that serves the public pretty well.” all facets, from beginners to high-performance players.

“Tennis is for everyone and all sports should be for everyone. A wheelchair tennis program and an adaptive tennis program are a great way to round off your program in a club and be completely inclusive. Tennis offers itself as the most integrative of all disabled sports, because especially in wheelchair tennis there is no rule difference apart from two hops. “

Timothy Hurst / employee photographer

BOULDER, CO – JULY 23: Trainers Kendall Chitambar, right, and Tomas Majetic tap the sides of the racket during a wheelchair tennis camp on Friday, July 23, 2021, at the South Complex Tennis Center in Boulder, Colo Change place. (Timothy Hurst / employee photographer)

Timothy Hurst / employee photographer

Tennis coach Kendall Chitambar, center, conducts a drill with players from left, Krista Ramirez-Villatro, Sabina Czauz, Kyle Taulman and Tomas Majetic during a wheelchair tennis camp on Friday, July 23, 2021, at the South Complex Tennis Center in Boulder. Colour.

Comments are closed.