Badminton: Season begins with high expectations, new coaches and different training drills

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Badminton: Season begins with high expectations, new coaches and different training drills

Amita Mahajan

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The team gathers around coaches Evan Blomquist and Peter Wu for instructions about training drills and season expectations on Feb. 23. The players look forward to another successful season this year. Photo by Amita Mahajan.

Last year’s badminton team was arguably the most successful MVHS sports team from the 2014-15 school year. After going undefeated with a 12-0 record in both varsity and JV, as well as sending numerous players to CCS, MVHS badminton successfully placed a target on their back.

When former badminton coach Eric Liu left MVHS, local teams such as Gunn High School and Lynbrook High School anticipated an opportunity to knock the Matadors out of their dual-league championship spot. But MVHS hopes that new head coaches Evan Blomquist and Peter Wu will help them defend their titles.

“I’m really heavy on the basics,” Wu said. “So the footwork fundamentals and the stroke fundamentals and technique are all really important to me.”

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Junior Yunying Tong, among other varsity players, complete basic footwork drills during varsity badminton practice. Blomquist and Wu believe that even advanced players should review fundamental techniques such as footwork.

Blomquist emphasizes that the key to long-term success lies in mastering their fundamental skills. He aims to lead both the varsity and JV teams through various drills in shot repetition and footwork.

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Juniors Michael Hsieh and Oliver Guan “drive” the birdie over the net. Drives are considered faster shots in badminton and are kept as close to the net as possible.

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Wu helps junior Oliver Guan with “drops”. Drops are typically placed as close to the net as possible and help move opposing players around the court.

“[The coaches] really care about the wellbeing of everybody and they have a lot of experience so we’re more experienced and organized,” Badminton Club president and senior Madeline Sporkert said.

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Blomquist and Wu “smash” the bird at each other. The coaches demonstrate various shots for the team to help players further their understanding of advanced techniques.

Sporkert also mentioned how the team is stronger organizationally this year, suspecting that this stems from the coaches’ and players’ desire to win.

“They’re more motivated because they know we lost some key players and we lost irreplaceable players,” Blomquist said. “They’re fired up and they really want to do well.”