DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

"Teardrops,' smiles part of badminton camp

The 10 girls participating in Xavier Prep’s annual summer badminton camp wrap up a full week’s worth of work on Friday (June 14), and are much the better for what they have learned.

Longtime XCP assistant coach Francis Hartojo, who will assume head-coaching duties this fall, put the campers through their paces in XCP’s Activity Center.

Helping Hartojo were his two assistant coaches this fall, Karina Magana and Laura Forbes, as well as a handful of team players who were juniors last year.

The girls had varying skill levels, but all showed some promise.

Hitting the bird and moving about the court were among the basic fundamentals that Hartojo tried to pass on.

Quite a bit of time was spent on “teardrop’’ volleys, where players hit the bird as high and seep as close to the back line as possible.

Having a good grip on the racket and good footwork (particularly on backpedaling) also were emphasized.

“We have some girls who have been picking things up pretty well. They are starting to get the idea,’’ said Hartojo, who also is an instructor at a facility in Mesa. “Some of the players go into this not really realizing all that is involved, that badminton can be a physical game. There can be a lot to learn.

“We are watching the footwork, the overhead shots, the “tears’ and “smashes,’ also a few finesse-type shots. There also is the competitive aspect.’’

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