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Coach’s Q&A: Kim Huelsman, Sandburg badminton

Kim Huelsman Sandburg badmintcoach. |  Supplied photo

Kim Huelsman, Sandburg badminton coach. | Supplied photo

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Updated: January 3, 2013 6:03AM



Kim Huelsman is the varsity girls badminton coach at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. She coached the Eagles to the state title as a team in 2011. Huelsman has been a part of the Sandburg family since 2002 and is a graduate of Lincoln-Way High School. She earned her bachelor’s from Quincy University, her master’s in history from Chicago State and is finishing the coursework for her master’s in political and justice studies from Governors State University.

Why/how did you get into coaching?

I always knew I wanted to be a high school teacher, but it wasn’t until I started playing high school badminton that I discovered my love for the sport. I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach which is my number one professional passion, but also humbled to have the opportunity to coach the best sport in the world.

Have you seen high school sports (badminton or otherwise) change since you started coaching? If so, how?

Yes, the sport of badminton has grown tremendously in the past 11 years. The number of schools that offer badminton as a sport has increased; the overall knowledge of the game and play of the game has improved, and the number of girls who have joined year-round leagues and clubs has also increased.

If you had free rein to do so, would you change anything about badminton in the IHSA? High school sports in general?

Badminton is a remarkable sport, and I wouldn’t change anything about it! However, I would lobby the IHSA to offer boys badminton.

Any favorite game, memory, player, practice story?

There are many memories that come to mind when reviewing the past 11 years. Some of the best badminton memories come from our 2011 state championship season. Words fail to describe that extraordinary season. The players, coaching staff, parents, and opponents made for an unforgettable year.

Players like playing certain teams/opponents. Do you have a favorite match/rivalry you look forward to?

I look forward to playing Andrew every season. Andrew has always been a badminton powerhouse. I enjoy the week of practice prepping the girls for Andrew’s game strategies. In addition, Sandburg and Andrew started an annual “Smash Cancer” night during our season. Over the past two years, we’ve raised over $5,000 for cancer awareness.

Badminton’s popularity has grown, but it’s not a huge mainstream sport. What’s something the average sports fan doesn’t know about badminton?

Badminton shuttles are made from real goose feathers. The feathers come from the left wing of a goose.

On the sidelines, what are you most proud of as a coach?

I’m most proud of seeing the players develop in to competitive and gracious players. The players who have come through the Sandburg badminton program develop self-confidence, competitiveness, skills, and attributes that will not only help them on the badminton court but throughout their entire life.

As told to Tim O’Brien



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