There were quite a few more birdies flying around the Northwest Valley this fall.
Prompted by law and fueled by eager participants, badminton in Glendale gained tremendous steam in 2011.
To meet Title IX requirements, the Deer Valley Unified School
District voted to introduce the sport to all five of its high schools in
The DVUSD institutions include Mountain Ridge, Deer Valley, Phoenix
Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthem Boulder Creek and Phoenix Goldwater.
Despite its forced origin, badminton was met with overwhelming
support this season. Every school other than Goldwater, which fielded 12
participants, had at least 20 girls show up the first day. Only a
handful of them, however, had played the sport before.
"The girls were really excited but they had only played in PE
before," Deer Valley coach Beth Eyres said. "It's not really the same as
playing competitive. So the first couple of weeks were going over
basics like if they could even hit the birdie."
The coaches weren't seasoned either. Three out of five were
physical-education instructors who either hadn't been involved in the
sport in years or never at all.
"None of us really had a whole lot of experience," Goldwater coach
Shayne Lehman said. "The district put together a budget of $5,000 for
each school and left the rest to us. I took a class when I was at
Arizona State where I played in some tournaments but you can see the
people who took the jobs had a lot of the same limited background."
To get ready for the inaugural season, the coaches prepared in
numerous ways. All of them participated in coaching clinics while others
additionally researched, watched and read about the sport.
"It's been a learning experience not only for the girls, but for me
as well," Sandra Day O'Connor coach Paula Cappelletti said. "It's been
wild. I was thinking about retiring but now I'm thinking about hanging
around for a couple more years. The girls are so excited and that's what
The season, which ended Saturday at the singles and doubles state
tournament, varied for the five schools. Boulder Creek finished 0-14,
Goldwater 2-12, Deer Valley 3-11, Sandra Day O'Connor 7-7 and Mountain
"I had one girl who spent the summer getting ready and she was the
only who had played before," Mountain Ridge coach Tim Rosibum said. "We
were able to get some good athletes; we also had an equipment manager
who played competitively for a few years. But other than that we ran
good practices and worked hard."
Although none of the new programs made the team state tournament,
veteran coaches around the Valley noticed significant improvement
through the first season.
"Some of them have come a long way," said Phoenix Sunnyslope coach
Sarah Schlesinger who most recently won a state championship in 2009.
"They've improved dramatically in just two months. The girls are
figuring it out. Then if you have girls who enjoy it, they are going to
try to get their friends to be involved for next year."
That shared sentiment has everybody involved expecting sustained growth in the coming seasons.
"All the programs will get better because we'll make each other
better," Lehman said. "All of us coaches are pretty good friends, we
enjoy working with each other and we make an effort to include all the
girls in our program. Next year we won't be beginners, we won't be
seeing things for the first time."
Article was quoted from AZ Central