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June 28, 2008

Elvis Act I

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The 2008 Punahou Summer Tennis Coaching staff perform a weekly demo titled the "Modern Game," featuring Elvis, Roger, Rafa, Maria, Elvis Jr., Karate Kid, Justine & The Turtle. Elvis was the originator of the open and semi-open stance and these famous moves are still used today in the modern game.

June 21, 2008

Beach Ball Warm Up

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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School, conducts a workshop with the 2008 Punahou summer school tennis coaching staff. In this episode, the staff use beach balls as a warm up exercise. This exercise is great for young children.

June 12, 2008

Two handed backhand

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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii shows examples of the two-handed backhand; the Eastern/Eastern (good for beginners), the Eastern/Continental (good for advanced players) and the Semi-western/Eastern backhand (good for advanced players who want to generate topspin.)

June 8, 2008

Myth: "Watch the ball"

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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School explains the "MYTH" about watching the ball hit the strings of the racquet. Also, as reported in Sports Illustrated, the Punahou Boys tennis team has won the state high school championships 40 times and the girls 34 times since 1958.

May 23rd, 2008 by Wes Nakama - The Honolulu Advertiser

OK, I finally got my hands on the Sports Illustrated issue with the article featuring Punahou as the nation's No. 1 athletic program out of more than 38,000 high schools in the United States of America.

BTW, I was puzzled as to how the rest of the country had the issue on their newsstands Wednesday but even at 7:30 p.m. Thursday it was nowhere to be found at Borders Ward Centre or Barnes & Noble Ala Moana. The copy I have is on loan, from the bunch FedExed to Punahou from SI's offices in New York.

I don't subscribe, and my dad canceled his subsciption in March after more than 50 years (no time for us to read it as much nowdays).

Anyway, I wanted to wait until reading the article and seeing the actual layout in the hard copy (instead of just reading the on-line version) before commenting on it as a blog topic.

Overall, I think SI did a pretty good job educating the country on what Punahou is all about. The two-page introductory photo spread was fantastic, and reporter Austin Murphy seemed to grasp both the big picture and the minute details and put them together for a concise, well-written story.

I also give SI credit for legitimizing Punahou's achievements, because I'm sure there are readers in New York or Texas or Florida who might question how hard it is to win a state championship in Hawai'i. Some in those states or Michigan or Ohio or Pennsylvania might equate a Hawai'i state championship as being the champ in Guam, or Rhode Island or Alaska.

Which brings me to why I think Punahou is worthy of the ranking, and why my only big regret with the story is I wish the reporter and photographer also got to spend some time at Kamehameha, 'Iolani or even Mililani. As impressive as Punahou is academically, athletically and campus-wise, I don't think those three schools are too far behind.

HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya suggested as much with his comments in Tuesday's Advertiser article, but at least one person has told me they thought his comments had no merit.

But honestly, I would have to agree with Amemiya that Punahou would not be No. 1 if Kamehameha, 'Iolani, Saint Louis, Mid-Pacific or even Mililani, Baldwin or Waiakea were not giving the Buffanblu serious competition in nearly every sport across the board. Punahou has to strive and maximize its performances, otherwise they'll lose.
The article portrays Punahou as the ultimate destination for prospective athletes and students, which might be true, but it ignores the fact that Kamehameha is statistically harder to get into, or that 'Iolani's selectivity in admissions is more than comparable.
If Punahou is indeed the "Harvard of Hawai'i" that a lot of parents want to send their kid to, as Kapolei football coach Darren Hernandez is quoted as saying in the article, then what does that make 'Iolani, which annually produces twice as many National Merit semifinalists with half the enrollment?

This is no knock on Punahou, because there is no question it is an outstanding school with a fantastic athletic program. I think it deserves the No. 1 ranking, but other schools in Hawai'i are not very far behind.

Punahou is No. 1 largely because it has to compete in girls volleyball against Kamehameha, which was ranked No. 3 in the nation last season. It has to compete in boys basketball with 'Iolani, which won seven of the past eight ILH chmpionships. It has to compete in football with Saint Louis, which has won 21 of the past 24 league titles.

It has to compete against athletes like Derrick Low, Brian Ching, Jonathan Spiker.
When your competition is that good, it forces you to raise your bar, train harder and play your best.

So, I agree that the No. 1 ranking is deserving, and I also think Hawai'i's overall competition level helped Punahou get there.

June 4, 2008

Focus Pads

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John Nelson, USPTA, Head Mens Tennis Coach for the University of Hawaii uses "Focus Pads" to teach the power source for hitting ground strokes.

June 1, 2008

Forehand intimidation

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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii shows a 3 ball forehand only drill. This is a great drill to work the movement and footwork needed to hit the inside-out and inside-in forehand.