The Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy offers private lessons, group lessons, camps, coaching clinics, tournaments, badminton open gym, and a pro shop. 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.

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!

Introducing our new
full-time coach!

Coach Andrés Corpancho Fort

Andrés is the eight time National Champion of Peru. He is a two time triple crown winner (Winning Gold in Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles in the same year) at the Adult National Championships as well. He had a great professional badminton career with impressive results in all categories, a rarity in badminton. His top ranking is #35 in the world in mixed doubles. He has beaten players ranked in the top 20 in the world in men’s singles as well as US Olympians and Canadian National Champions. He has also won international titles in all thee disciplines as well as placing in the top three in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the Pan American Championships. He also has a wealth of coaching experience, coaching National Team Players from Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador as well as working with beginners in Peru. Two of his students went on to become Silver Medalists at the Pan American Games in women’s doubles and one of his students even qualified for the Olympics in women’s singles! See our full coaching staff bios here

Coach Shannon’s baby boy 
is due any day now!

The SPBA is so honored to have Coach Andrés coaching this fall session while Shannon is on maternity leave!

Andrés will be teaching the fall session of badminton classes at the SPBA while Shannon is away on maternity leave and then they both will be available for coaching after Thanksgiving when the winter session starts! With our coaching staff doubling, we will be able to offer even more classes and lesson timings going forward from the Winter Session onwards!

Rackets for Uganda Project makes news across Africa

Correction to National TV Interview: Shannon didn’t “blame the poor performance of African shuttlers on lack of government support”, but she did say that community and government support can help athletes get more exposure to reach the top. 🙂 

Shannon Pohl conducted a 2 day training clinic for over 150 kids in Kampala, Uganda on her honeymoon. 239 Rackets and other equipment such as shuttlecocks, shoes, grip tapes, strings, and t-shirts were donated and distributed to kids at the clinic, schools with local badminton programs, and Right to Play schools. Thank you to Wilson Sporting Goods, and many individual donors for your support of this program.

Read more about it and see more pictures here


Correction to Newspaper Article: Shannon is not a world champion, but a 4 time participant in the world championships for Team USA. 🙂