The Sound of Tennis

Court 16, a tennis club for kids and adults alike, teaches players the fundamentals of the game. Located in New York’s Long Island City, Court 16’s unique facilities make tennis accessible for young players.

Recently, I learned about another program there for players who are visually impaired. It’s called the “Sound of Tennis.” The program gives visually-impaired individuals an opportunity to play a game that might otherwise be out of reach.

I asked instructor Ken Guild and some of his players about the program. They explained that players rely on hearing the ball bounce and timing their swing appropriately to make contact with the ball. It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

“There are a lot of people out there who might have some sort of a handicap, regardless of what it may be,” Coach Guild said. “And they’re not exposed to certain sports, especially a sport like tennis.”

This program gives would-be athletes and enthusiasts like Niurka Herrera Ramos a chance. “I had never heard of the Sound of Tennis,” she told me. “It’s an excellent program. From the first time I got here, I really loved it. I felt very, very happy and very comfortable.” 


Siroos, a New Yorker, hits the courts in Long Island City with Ken Guild, a tennis instructor who helps beginning players and individuals who are visually-impaired learn how to play the game. 


The satisfaction of learning something new doesn’t stop with tennis. As Guild said, “The sky’s the limit.”

For visually-impaired players, the introduction to tennis means lots of new opportunities. “A couple of my friends here are involved in other sports like baseball, biking, fishing, and archery,” said Eris Skenderi. Skenderi enjoys other activities, too, including music.

“Never give up,” said Bravo Thorne. “Keep on pushing. Because without the strength we show, we cannot help others.”

Thorne thinks that the lesson of never giving up applies to everyone, no matter your abilities. You should put your energy and effort towards anything you want to accomplish, he believes. 

“Motivation is everything,” Guild added. “Motivation is a big part of me.” He said that everyone needs motivation in order to accomplish their dreams and succeed. “It goes back to heart,” he said.



The players said that the program shows others that people with different abilities are capable of doing anything. “It gives us the opportunity to teach others in the world that we’re capable of doing something and doing a lot with the possibility given to us,” Thorne said.

The players just needed a little extra support. “Obviously, this is an adapted program. Without it, I don’t believe any of us would be playing tennis,” Alex Berrera said. “So this is a good opportunity for us to come down and experience something new that we wouldn’t be involved in.”   

The Sound of Tennis program has been a positive experience for both players and coaches. “From the moment we got here, you treated us with dignity and a lot of love,” Ramos told Coach Guild. “Thank you very much for your love and dedication to us.”

“We feel like we’re in a house, like a big family,” Skenderi added. 

All of the players expressed their appreciation for Court 16 and Coach Guild. It is programs like these that improve communities and bring more diversity to sports.



Photo courtesy of the author