1. What are the most popular wheelchair sports?
Just to name a few: handcycling, basketball, tennis, softball, badminton and wheelchair racing.
2. What are handcycles used for? How can I try one?
“Handcycles are used in place of regular wheelchairs for aerobic workouts, casual rides and distance racing,” explains Monika Manley from Wheel:Life. Interested to try? Don’t forget to check organizations in your local area for access to handcycles to try it out.
3. What types of handcycles are out there? Which kind is right for me?
“Handcycles are typically divided into two categories: competitive and recreation styles,” Manley explains. “If you want to get an aerobic workout or ride for fun with others, you should start off with a recreational handcycle.”
4. I want to try a 5K for fun. Is there any alternative to buying a specific racing wheelchair?
“Yes- many options exist for those who want to compete in short or more casual races. Some wheelchairs offer adapters that fit onto your current sports chair,” she explains. You can even consider your own wheelchair if you're not going for speed.
5. How is wheelchair tennis different from traditional tennis? What type of wheelchair would be best suited to use for wheelchair tennis?
“Wheelchair tennis is played essentially in the same way that able-bodied tennis is played, except wheelchair tennis allows for two bounces of the ball instead of one,” she explains. “Chairs especially made for tennis are recommended for serious athletes.”
6. How is wheelchair softball played? Where can I join a team? Are there wheelchairs out there specifically for this sport?
“Wheelchair softball is slow pitch and uses a 16″ softball,” she explains. “The 16″ ball is a little softer than the 12″ and is easier to catch bare-handed.” Have fun playing wheelchair softball on asphalt or concrete to allow for easier movement. “Gloves are typically only used by the first baseman and sometimes the pitcher to allow for maximum pushing ability,” she adds.
7. Is there a wheelchair available that “does it all” for playing more than one sport?
Yes! Don’t feel you need a unique chair to try things out. Once you've decided what you want to try, talk to others playing the sport.