2012 USBEF Midwest Regional Jr. Badminton Camp a Success!
On February 3-4, the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy (SPBA) in Vernon Hills, Illinois teamed up with the United States Badminton Educational Foundation (USBEF), USA Badminton, and Yonex to create a one of a kind junior badminton camp and coaching clinic for the Midwest region. Twenty-six junior players and seven area coaches attended the USBEF Midwest Regional Junior Badminton Camp and Coaching Clinic. Junior participants were all girls between the ages of 8 and 18.
Players and coaches attending the event had the opportunity to learn badminton fundamentals from an experienced staff. USA Badminton Level 2 Elite Talent coach and former top National singles player Shannon Pohl organized this two-day intensive camp. She helped lead the camp along with National player and SPBA coach Ben Hussey.
Featured guest coaches included Mohan Subramaniam, the Director of USA Badminton Coaching & High Performance, and two-time Olympian Anna Rice of Canada. Anna got farther than any other female Pan American singles player in history when she achieved a top-16 finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "It was so cool to meet Anna Rice! She and Coach Shannon's energy for the camp was contagious" exclaimed fourteen year old junior player Heather Shin. She continued, "I loved all the different coaches and their feedback; getting comments from more than one person was helpful. I also loved just meeting all the other girls who shared the same passion for badminton and learning from them too." Varsity Coach at Lake Park High School, Stacey Mosquera said, "Anna, Shannon, Ben, and Mohan were terrific – they all had a kind approach to students and were empowering to adults."
The camp focused on shot technique, footwork, video analysis, singles and doubles strategy, nutrition, as well as the all-important mental game. Michael Burke, first year badminton coach of Wheeling High School said, "The coaches did an excellent job of breaking down the fundamentals of shots and footwork. Well done." He went on to say, "I have seven pages of notes. As a new coach to badminton, this clinic helped get me started on a solid foundation."
Each athlete and coach were able to take away new skills from this camp. Coach Carrie Mattingly of Wheeling High School was excited about "the variety of footwork drills that I can take away and use with my team." She continued, "this was so helpful. Even just the approach to everything was great." Eight year old Benna Li thought "This camp was really fun! The three most important things I learned at this camp were to use the four corners, to find your opponents strength and weakness, and getting to play against different people." Heather Shin explained that, "my favorite part was the video analysis. Personally, I've never seen a professional badminton game and I was surprised to see how into the games I was getting. Plus I learned I could use the videos by analyzing them and learning from the players' techniques." Sixteen year old Christine Ha thought that, "the most important thing I learned at this camp was about self-talk, preparation, etc. As one who gets nervous easily, I appreciated the tips for handling it."
Coaches in the clinic had an individual coaching session as well as the opportunity to mix in and observe the juniors learning badminton. Jocelyn Painter 's (Varsity coach of Downers Grove High School) favorite part of the camp was, "the chance to hear from top athletes and to be able to see players, of multiple ability levels, going through each drill. You can read books and watch videos online, but to be able to engage in Q & A while watching is unmatched by anything else!" Jocelyn continued," I think this camp is wonderful for badminton in the Midwest. The opportunity for coaches to build their knowledge from top athletes is unlike anything else in this area. When coaches are more informed they can reach out to more players, especially those at a younger age."
Fourteen year old Rachel Gross commented, "This camp was amazing. I had so much fun! My favorite part of this camp is the level of support to do better and be better at everything. There is never a negative comment about anything, but only to get better. It's so great because being in an environment that is so positive and fun is amazing and helps not only me, but everyone." Junior player Annie Belgrade thinks this camp will help grow badminton in the Midwest by players "telling our badminton buddies all about this to get the word spread."
Fourteen year old Larissa Kennerley was greatly affected by the camp. "Anna, to me, inspired me to continue the sport. She made me better in my strategy and success. I am so grateful to her for inspiring me. Thank you."
A big thank you to USBEF, USA Badminton, Yonex, and the coaches for helping to bring this exciting event to the Midwest Region. Pranjali Rathi, age thirteen said, "I hope that you can do this more often!" Let's make this an annual event!