Game On: Learn about the divisioning process that differentiates Special Olympics from other sport organizations.
SONC offers three different types of competition: individual skills, short court match play and full court match play.
Individual skills competition allows Special Olympics athletes to develop sport skills in a competitive format designed to serve as a stepping stone to match play. The individual skills offered for tennis are forehand and backhand volley, forehand and backhand groundstrokes, deuce and advantage court serves, and alternating groundstrokes with movement. Individual Skills uses the red felt tennis ball. Please use these updated diagrams to train your athletes as the scoring has been changed.
Short court match play is played on a modified court (within the service boxes) with a red felt tennis ball that has a lower compression. Athletes may choose to compete in two of three short court match play events which include singles, traditional doubles (two Special Olympics athletes), or partnered doubles (non-Special Olympics athlete partner of significant tennis ability).
Full court match play is played on a full court with traditional tennis balls. Athletes may choose to compete in singles and either traditional doubles or Unified Sports doubles. Athletes may choose to play level 4 (full court but played with a low compression “Green Dot” tennis ball), or level 5 (using a traditional yellow tennis ball).
Click here to find your coach certification status.
Always communicate with your local coordinator if you are interested in submitting registration for an event.
Fall Tournament/Invitational Registration Forms
- Tennis Individual Skills Competition Registration Form
- Tennis Full Court (Levels 4 & 5) & Short Court (Level 2) Registration Form
Local program coordinators should submit entries along with the remainder of the Fall Tournament registration. Click here for a full list of Fall Tournament registration forms. These forms will be available closer to the event date.
Individual Skills Worksheet – For coaches use only, do not submit with registration.
2020 SONC Fall Tournament
SONC Fall Tournament will be held fall 2020 in Charlotte.
Special Olympics Virginia hosts this additional tennis competition opportunity for Special Olympics athletes. The 2020 Xperience will be held January 9-11 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Athletes and Unified partners also have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in various local invitationals. Check the tennis sport calendar for upcoming invitationals being hosted by local programs.
Local programs are also encouraged to host and invite neighboring counties to participate in invitationals, scrimmages, or leagues. Click here for some basic steps on how to get started. If you are interested in hosting an invitational you can also contact the sports department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina (ATANC)
ATANC hosts numerous additional tennis opportunities for athletes throughout the year. Check out the tennis calendar to find upcoming ATANC events. For more information contact Lou Welch at email@example.com.
There are also several other competition opportunities for Special Olympics North Carolina athletes that are offered by programs outside of SONC. More information about these events will be posted as it is made available.
About Tennis: Tennis is a popular sport played by players of all ages, at all levels of ability. Athletes are trained in all aspects of the game, including stroke production, court craft and the rules of competition. The sport emphasizes values, such as fair play, sportsmanship, and respect for fellow competitors. Tennis is not only fun to play, but it is a lifetime sports activity that is fun to practice and fun to learn.
Differences of Special Olympics Tennis: The Special Olympics rules for Tennis provide modifications to control the length of matches through no-add scoring and options for short Sets. More recently, Special Olympics has introduced additional options for shorter courts and low-compression balls for athletes of lower ability.
History: Tennis became a statewide SONC sport at the 1986 Summer Games in Charlotte.
By the Numbers:
- United States Tennis Association (USTA) teaching professional John Stone began the Special Olympics North Carolina Tennis program in Sanford in 1985.
- Special Olympics North Carolina was represented by three tennis athletes at the 1991 International Summer Special Olympics Games. Bob Bowler of Mecklenburg county attended as the coach for Team NC.
- In 1992, tennis moved to the Fall Tournament and except for a two-year stint at the Midsummer Tournament, it has remained a fall sport.
Sport Development Teams (SDT) are responsible for assisting with local and state-level programs and competition, educating coaches and officials, and promoting active engagement among athletes throughout the year. Click here for more information.
Certified Clinicians receive additional training in presentational skills to conduct training schools in their community. In order to become a Certified Clinician one must have a Special Olympics North Carolina level 2 sport certification in this sport.
For more information on becoming an SDT member or a Certified Clinician, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.