Date of Conferral







Sigrin Newell


Deaf individuals do not have equal access to participating in sports as their hearing counterparts in the United States. Tennis is one sport to which this lack of access applies. The purpose of this qualitative, narrative research study was to add to the research literature by illuminating the learning experiences of Deaf individuals in tennis in the United States. This study was built on a tripartite conceptual framework consisting of motivation, interaction, and the flow experience. The study explored how tennis influenced other aspects in the lives of Deaf individuals. These other aspects included exposure to the game, learning opportunities, underlying motivations, and social interaction. Participants were 9 Deaf adults who had tennis playing experience. Data were collected from the Deaf Tennis Profile Questionnaire, Deaf Tennis Experience Questionnaire, and a Deaf Tennis Videophone Interview. A priori typological and inductive analyses were used to search for themes and patterns from the data. Findings indicated that learning the game of tennis was relevant to participants' lives. As individuals experienced improvements in their tennis abilities, positive changes in self-perceptions occurred. Participants reported that experiencing the highs and lows while playing tennis increased their motivation and social interaction. Insights from these Deaf tennis participants will give administrators, physical education teachers, coaches, and recreation professionals a better understanding of more effective ways to provide tennis instruction and skills. Self-confident, skillful Deaf tennis players are better contributors to society as a whole. Participation in sports enhances the confidence, self-worth, self-image, and interaction skills of Deaf persons.