The Paly Voice

Season Preview: Badminton team looks to overcome rocky start

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Season Preview: Badminton team looks to overcome rocky start

The Paly badminton team practices after school in the big gym for its next game, which will be at Gunn High School. “Ultimately, we like to remind our players that the season is long and we'll consistently see the fruits of labor,” Coach Alex Adame said. “But in the end, our success depends on the work and effort that each and every person is willing to put in.”

The Paly badminton team practices after school in the big gym for its next game, which will be at Gunn High School. “Ultimately, we like to remind our players that the season is long and we'll consistently see the fruits of labor,” Coach Alex Adame said. “But in the end, our success depends on the work and effort that each and every person is willing to put in.”

The Paly badminton team practices after school in the big gym for its next game, which will be at Gunn High School. “Ultimately, we like to remind our players that the season is long and we'll consistently see the fruits of labor,” Coach Alex Adame said. “But in the end, our success depends on the work and effort that each and every person is willing to put in.”

The Paly badminton team practices after school in the big gym for its next game, which will be at Gunn High School. “Ultimately, we like to remind our players that the season is long and we'll consistently see the fruits of labor,” Coach Alex Adame said. “But in the end, our success depends on the work and effort that each and every person is willing to put in.”

Kira Sterling

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The Viking badminton team practices after school in the big gym for its next game on March 19 at Saratoga High School. “Ultimately, we like to remind our players that the season is long, and we’ll consistently see the fruits of labor,” coach Alex Adame said. “But in the end, our success depends on the work and effort that each and every person is willing to put in.” Photo: Kira Sterling

The Palo Alto High School badminton team is off to a slow start after lacking a coach during the first few weeks of practice, but players and new coaches alike remain optimistic about its performance for this season.

Last year’s coach, Kenny Chung, was unable to commit to coaching the Paly team for the 2019 season due to other priorities at his badminton club, according to Director of Athletics Therren Wilburn.

After a long search, coaches Alex Adame and Jesi Marquez were hired to co-lead the team. Both previously coached badminton at Azusa High School in Southern California, Wilburn said. 

The two coaches, who have known each other for almost 16 years, were brought in one week prior to the team’s first league game, which posed a real challenge to the team, according to Adame.

“We don’t have as many guaranteed wins as last season,” said senior Zakir Ahmad, who is playing on Paly’s badminton team for his fourth year. “The rest of the teams are all pretty competitive, and there are no easy games for us.” So far, the team has lost 7-23 to Milpitas High School and 9-21 to Cupertino High School.

Throughout the rest of the season, the coaches aim to build camaraderie within the team, Adame said, as well as set up a solid foundation for a successful long-term program with an emphasis on fundamentals, routine, discipline and structure.

Another important goal is for the team to win one-third of its season games, according to Adame. 

“We’ve seen great improvement in only two games, which is promising,” Adame said. “We are confident that we will continue in our upward trajectory throughout the season.”

However, the lack of leadership early on in the season did have a negative impact on the team, according to Ahmad.

“The whole tryout process has been delayed,” Ahmad said. “Because the season started late, less people showed up.”

The team will also be challenged by the loss of various seniors from last year’s varsity team, which included captains Emily Yu and Tilak Misner.

“They will definitely be missed,” Ahmad said. “Our seniors were great leaders, but I’m sure other people will step up this year.”

The Paly badminton team’s next game is at 3:45 p.m. on March 19 at Saratoga High School.

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