Switching from wheelchair tennis to boccia, Nick Taylor looks for national gold in Cedar Rapids

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - At 42 years old Nick Taylor has already lived the life of an Olympian with an Olympic level travel schedule.

The multi-time Paralympian has been to over 40 countries and multiple Paralympic games. But after an over 20 year career in wheelchair tennis, he’s competing in boccia.

“Near the end of my tennis career I started playing boccia. I wanted to continue competing,” Taylor said. “I’m a very competitive person.”

Once he started, there was no stopping him.

“I’m gonna start out a little bit slow, and then I’m gonna get more into it, and then I’m gonna become obsessed, and then I’m gonna be practicing four or five hours a day and trying to travel the world doing it.”

And that’s exactly what he’s been doing. Now, competing for a national championship in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Boccia is a Paralympic twist on boccee ball. Competitors in different classifications try to get their balls closest to the white ball, or the Jack.

Taylor says 50 percent of the game is mental.

“You’re working on being able to make every single shot. You have to be so automatic that when you get into that pressure situation you can make it,” Taylor said.

The other 50 percent is strategy.

“Sometimes you’re having to think three balls ahead to what you’re throwing to set up how (the game) is going to end,” Taylor said. “If you’re only thinking about the next ball you’re gonna lose.”

He’s only played the game for a few years, but Taylor has the experience of a veteran Paralympian. So he’s got big goals ahead.

“The ultimate goal is to be prepared for Los Angeles in 2028.”

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