The Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy offers private lessons, group lessons, elite travel teams, training camps, coaching and umpire clinics, adult and junior tournaments, badminton open gym, pro shop and racket stringing service. Shannon Pohl is also available for demonstrations and speeches. For more information about the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy, sponsorship opportunities, or to book her for an event, please contact Shannon.

2020 SPBA Membership Plans

After growing our business for over 10 years and sharing space in Adversity Volleyball Center…we’ve opened our new and improved location next door in the same building! 

The Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy has been undergoing a huge expansion and renovation project with numerous improvements to bring you a state of the art dedicated badminton facility including:

• 13 dedicated badminton courts
• Olympic quality badminton flooring (mats)
• Improved lighting
• More daily open gym times
• Expanded lesson schedule
• Court rentals
• League play (coming soon!)
• Lounge (coming soon!)
• New Heating & Ventilation system
• More bathrooms
• Expanded pro shop (coming soon!)
• In-House Racket Stringing (coming soon!)
• Birthday parties (coming soon!)

With so many improvements comes new pricing and membership plans for 2020. This new pricing structure went into effect on 1/1/2020. Players who plan to play at the SPBA more than once a month can benefit from signing up for an annual membership. 

Sign up today to become a member of the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy in 2020! 

Annual Membership Fee for 2020:
• $100 per year for an individual
• $180 per year for 2 family members residing together
• $250 per year for 3+ family members residing together

• Discounted open gym pricing of $5 per 2 hour session for members throughout 2020
(non-member drop in fee is $10 per session in 2020)
• Special membership pricing on leagues, birthday parties, and other activities throughout the year

Students at the SPBA also receive with their membership:
• SPBA T-shirt
• SPBA water bottle for new members
• free coaching at select Jr. National Ranking Tournaments

How to sign up:

IN PERSON: Sign up at the facility during an open gym play time.  We currently take cash, check, Zelle Pay or Chase Quickpay. Once our pro shop is up and running we will be taking credit card as well. Fill out a new 2020 waiver & membership form (minors must have parents or guardian’s signature) before you play.

ONLINE: Pay online through Zelle Pay or Chase Quickpay. Send payment to and in the memo write the full first and last name of the member(s). Then send a follow up email to with your phone number, address, names of all family members residing together that you are signing up, & a scanned copy of your 2020 waiver & membership form (or you can also fill it out next time you are at the gym before you play).

We are currently putting all members into a database but we are working on getting swiping membership cards that you can pre-load money onto in the future so you don’t have to worry about bringing payment each time you play.

Halloween Costume Contest / Badminton Open Gym Tonight

Want to have some family fun on Halloween tonight
and escape the snow?

Come Join us for a Halloween Costume Contest and Badminton Open Gym Today!

Just $5 per person for 2 hours of badminton playing during the following sessions:
5:30-7:30 pm with a costume contest at 6:30 p.m. 
7:30-9:30 pm with a costume contest at 8:30 p.m.

Enter to compete in a costume contest for a great badminton prizes! Players are encouraged to play in costume!

We have 10 of the 13 courts already ready to play tonight on Halloween!

*reminder to follow our shoe policy listed below.
Need a shoe or racket rental? $5 each.
We take cash or check only.

5:30-7:30 pm and
7:30-9:30 pm

Open Gym Saturdays & Sundays: 
9:30-11:30 am,
5:30-7:30 pm and
7:30-9:30 pm

Currently just $5 per person per session during Open Gym times in 2019 only.  An annual membership will be available in 2020. See the Full Open Gym Schedule here. 

We are open during construction!

Please pardon our dust! Work in progress…look for our continued improvements in the new space:

3 More Courts being added to the existing 10  •  More Bathrooms • Pro Shop • Front Reception • Lounge  • new HVAC system • water fountain • Janitor Closet • Hand Dryers • Renovations to flooring and walls

Thank you for your patience as we work to give you the best playing experience possible these next few months!

Indoor Use Only, Clean,
Non-Marking Shoes
Required at New Facility

Have an old pair of badminton shoes that don’t fit you anymore? The SPBA would love to have them for shoe rentals! We will buy your used badminton shoe (no holes) for $10 in select sizes. Bring them to the SPBA to get your $10!

Shoe rentals are now available!. If you don’t have the right type of shoe you can rent a shoe for $5. Available in most sizes.

In order to play in the new space you must have indoor use only clean non-marking shoes that you change into when you come inside the facility. This way we keep our court matts in great condition. Our badminton mats are the top quality mat in the world and we want to keep them that way for years to come! If you are not changing into your indoor nonmarking shoe INSIDE the gym or if you have a marking sole shoe you will not be allowed to play on the courts. We don’t want to track in the rain, mud, dirt, snow etc..

Need to buy a pair of new badminton shoes? No worries, we also sell new ones at the pro shop. We sell Li-Ning Badminton shoes and we will soon be offering Yonex shoes in stock. 

Thanks for your help!

The passing of a Legend

It is with great sorrow that I let you know that Mike Hulett, the founder, owner and coach of Adversity Volleyball passed away yesterday. 

Mike was an inspiration to thousands of athletes, coaches, parents, and officials both on the local, national, and international level. On the local level he worked tirelessly to grow the Adversity Volleyball program as well as being a leader in the Great Lakes Volleyball Region for 20+ years. On the international level he was the 4-time Head Coach of the USA Paralympic Volleyball Teams (1996, 2000, 2004, & 2008) winning the Bronze in Athens 2004 and the Silver medal in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

As a coach, he’s as decorated as they come. He was the 2004 Paralympic Coach of the Year, and in 2012 he was selected as USA Volleyball’s Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award recipient for lifetime achievement. The Frier Award is the highest honor USA Volleyball can bestow on an individual.

His life’s accomplishments are even more impressive when you understand the health challenges he had. He was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 13 which lead to him becoming a quadruple amputee. Later in life he was confined to a wheelchair. But he didn’t let this slow him down for one minute. He dedicated every waking moment of life to his students and the sport of volleyball.

To me, he was my personal mentor and dear friend over the past 10 years. When I met him, I was coaching a couple times a week in a small facility, winding down my professional badminton career with Team USA, with no real thoughts of a future career in coaching. At the time I was in debt from flying around the world chasing my Olympic Dream. There were no dedicated badminton clubs in the Chicagoland area and as my degree is in graphic design, I was attempting to be practical for a change. But Mike dazzled me with ideas of a coaching career, and convinced me to join him as he opened up his new facility in Vernon Hills at a time when most facilities wouldn’t even consider adding badminton.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made and I never looked back. Throughout our partnership over the past 10 years he continually dared me to grow my business, and helped me to scale 30 times over. We would regularly stay up way too late at night after coaching and spitball coaching strategies, club development ideas, and the latest results of our students.  He liked to give me a hard time about the sport of badminton not being as hard as volleyball…but the reality was that he truly had a huge amount of respect for badminton, especially when he saw me defeat his pro volleyball players on the badminton court without them scoring a point. He also exposed me to the world of Paralympic sports, and I’ve been hosting para-badminton clinics ever since.

Without his influence, I’m not sure I would have ever started the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy (SPBA)– the first club with dedicated badminton courts in the Midwest region. Adversity Volleyball Club/SPBA was the home to the first junior ranking badminton tournaments in the Midwest Region, and our
partnership has been a big contributor to the explosion of growth of badminton in the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago. His influence and the opportunities he has given me to grow the
sport of badminton has had a big impact. He contributed to the success of thousands of badminton students at the SPBA as well as to my own coaching success winning the USA Badminton Developmental Coach of the Year Award and being a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year Award. We used to jokingly compare coaching trophies but of course his were much bigger.

We shared many of the same dreams and ambitions for our respective sports and he was still
pushing me to dream bigger and dare to achieve more even down to his final days. I will miss him dearly.

We will be cancelling all activities at the Adversity Volleyball Center in Vernon Hills for Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week but plan to resume all scheduled activities on Sunday and beyond. Thank you for your understanding.



Umpires Needed! Earn Free Open Gym Time!

Are you an umpire or would you like to learn to be one? We are looking for more umpires for the 2019 YONEX SPBA Midwest Open Regionals May 25-27th.

We are again offering per diems, some hotel rooms for out of town full timers, a hospitality room, tournament staff t-shirts, and some free open gym time to local umpires as well.

– UMPIRE CLINIC (Deadline May 13th):
A USA Badminton Umpire Clinic will be held on Friday, May 24th, 2019 from 6:30-10pm at the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy for badminton players, enthusiasts, and parents interested in learning to become a certified USA Badminton Umpire. This course is being held prior to the tournament, which will serve as an excellent opportunity for trainees to have full on-court training. After the clinic, you will develop your technical official skills at the tournament while helping an important event to run smoothly. You will be learning from one of the best in the field, National Level 3 Umpire and Referee Thomas Shek! You can sign up here: Deadline to sign up is May 13th.


Saturday, May 25th:
Early Shift: 8 am-3pm (7 hours)
Late Shift: 2-9 pm (7 hours)

Sunday, May 26th:
Early Shift: 8 am-3pm (7 hours)
Late Shift: 2-9 pm (7 hours)

Monday, May 27th:
Early Shift: 8 am – 1 pm (5 hours)
Late Shift: 12-4 pm (4 hours)

Local Umpires:

SPBA Laser Tag & Pizza Party
Saturday, March 9th

Saturday, March 9th
3-7 p.m.

We’re going to have our third annual SPBA Team Building Laser Tag Party again this year at Laser Tag Explosion.  This is the world’s largest laser tag arena (40,000 sq feet and 3 stories high). It is located at the Old Santa’s Village Amusement Park in East Dundee, IL. 

We are inviting all current students from the academy! Come hang out with all your friends from badminton class and meet new players too! Both kid’s and adults are welcome to play.

3-4 pm Orientation and Registration
4-6 pm Laser Tag 
6-7 pm Pizza Party 

Laser Tag Explosion recommends players be age 8 or older to play, however younger players will be allowed with the referee’s permission if they can follow directions and hold the equipment. Younger players are recommended to have a parent play with them. 

It is recommended that kids wear dark colors and several layers as it might be chilly.

You can sign up and pay during class time with Shannon. $20 fee ($50 value) includes 2 hours of laser tag, a piece of pizza, chips, and soda.

Before coming to the event all guests (including both players AND spectators) must fill out the online waiver here.  EVERYONE over the age of 18 will be REQUIRED to present a government issued I.D. at check-in.

I hope you can join us! Last year we had 45 players attend!