Level the Field
For a different take on learning and enjoying tennis, take a look at Bankshot Tennis.
After his cousin was confined to a wheelchair following an automobile accident in the late 1960s, Dr. Reeve Robert Brenner was startled to discover the scarcity of sports they could play together. Since that time, he has developed several modified games — including Bankshot Tennis — so able-bodied and physically challenged participants can play together with neither at a disadvantage.
Bankshot Tennis is played with standard tennis racquets, balls and strokes on a series of stations that gradually increase in difficulty. The goal is to “bank” balls off angled fiberglass backboards so they pass through vertical hoops and into netted ball catchers. Participants play against the course rather than one another, with a different stroke required to score at each station. The player with the most points wins.
“The traditional game of tennis is wonderful, but there is a need for a non-aggressive sport for people of different ages, where speed, size and strength don’t apply,” says Brenner, of Rockville, Md. “Bankshot levels the playing field, whether the participants are two friends, a family, or even a whole camp.”
Bankshot Tennis can accommodate any playing surface or space size, indoors or outdoors. Stations can be portable or permanent. For more information, call 800-933-0140, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit bankshot.com.
Reeve Brenner, who serves as the Jewish chaplain of the prestigious National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., sought to develop a sport to bridge able and disabled populations. Brenner, the author of The Faith and Doubt of Holocaust Survivors, set about reinventing his favorite sports, tennis and basketball.
“Name the three ball-playing sports that participants play alongside each other, not against each other, that require no offense or defense, and your opponent can show up the next day,” Brenner says. The first two are golf and bowling; Bankshot is the third, and Brenner has created both Bankshot Tennis and Bankshot Basketball.
Brenner also serves as the commissioner of the National Association of Bankshot Operators (NABO), an organization of Bankshot facility owners around the world. Their mantra is, “Welcome to the NABO-hood.”
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.