Princeton College Prep Showcase 2012

Benny Lin
Founder & Academy Director

Princeton College Prep Showcase 2012

Posted at : August 21, 2012

Day 2 (27 June 2012)

Our day started at 7 am this morning after only a few hours of sleep. Some of the kids who arrived earlier slept longer, but most of the kids had a very short sleep of about 3 – 4 hours or less. Nonetheless they were in high spirit.

 

We ran for about 25 minutes and also did a few conditioning exercises to help reduce jet lag and time zone difference. We had a good 45 minutes work out before breakfast.

 

After breakfast we drove about 1 hour to our first stop – Seton Hall University. As some of you may know one of our former students Chloe Sher Pui Wing is currently a junior and number one tennis player at Seton Hall University. With its close proximity to New York Seton Hall University has been hailed as one of the top ranked schools in the East Coast to study business.

 

We met coach Greg who then gave our team a tour of the school’s athletic department/ building and campus. Seton Hall has a very nice campus located in South Orange, New Jersey. Most of our kids were impressed with its facility and what the school has to offer. Coach Greg told us that the school offers 8 scholarships for tennis players. Moreover, he said full scholarship at Seton Hall means “full ride” as all their scholarship students receive full tuitions, books, meals, dorm and even a laptop from the school. Unlike some other schools full scholarship could only mean tuitions and you may still have to buy your own books or pay for your own meals.

 

After our campus tour, we drove to a public courts nearby the school to practice. I invited coach Greg to watch some of our players (private showcase) and he was impressed with some of our players. He told me that next year he’s got only 1 full scholarship and in 2014 he may have more spots open. Nonetheless he told me he’s going to recruit and start the process of recruiting 1 – 2 of our players who impressed him today.

 

Our team spent about 1.5 hours playing points, singles and doubles. Right after we finished our private showcase I took the kids to New York City. Traffic was horrible crossing the tunnel from New Jersey to New York (the traffic here makes Hong Kong’s cross harbor tunnel feels like a joy ride!) Luckily, we left early and arrived right on time. Coach Choy who is the men’s and women’s team head coach has been our friends for many years. One of my former students, Lai Ting Yee, is currently playing for NYU.

 

NYU is a division 3 school and it does not offer athletic scholarships. Nonetheless we all know NYU is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Being a good tennis player with a decent SAT score may help you being admitted to NYU. At NYU we also met with the director of International Students Affairs and Compliance – Denise. Denise, whom we also met in the past few years, was very kind explaining to all our team everything from admission process to life at NYU. She mentioned to us this year NYU received 40,000 applicants – school’s record. 

 

One thing really interesting about NYU was when Denise said being a student at NYU gives us abundant opportunities to be part of community (NYU does not have a campus).  She went on to say that student life experience should not be just behind campus’s wall and students should engage themselves and be part of their community. For kids who like the city life, NYU is a perfect school for them.

 

Before we left I told coach Choy to keep his eyes on some of our players and he promised to be in touch with me in regards to finding out more information about some of our players who are interested in NYU.

 

From NYU I took the kids to a very famous pizza restaurant a few blocks away from NYU. This pizza eatery is frequently visited by famous people and A list celebrities. I can tell you that this pizza eatery serves the one of the best pizza in New York. Everyone except Justin had never been here and thus tasted pizza this good in their life. Some of them swore they would never eat pizza at Pizza Hut anymore J J.

 

After we filled our stomach I drove the kids to see NYC’s Times Square where they host New Year’s eve party every year. It was packed of people as always and the kids had fun walking around Times Square. We took some pictures and the kids bought some souvenirs. We spent about an hour at Times Square. Our drive back to our hotel was a nightmare – traffic was so bad and people in New York drive like drivers in developing countries (no rules J).

 

In the evening before our dinner, coach K and I had a meeting with our players. We went over important stuff preparing them mentally and what to expect at the showcase and in the coming days. We talked about everything from how to handle pressure and why being nervous is normal to how to handle cheating opponents.

 

Coach K and I spent some extra time with a few players who English is not their daily spoken language. They practiced some basic communication skills in order to help them be more confident in social setting. For dinner I ordered a lot of pasta and vegetable as their body needs to store a lot of carbohydrate in the next 2 -3 days.

 

Overall, we had a very tiring day (also dealing with jetlag), but it was a very fruitful and productive day for everyone. Although some of our kids had an eye and jaw dropping experience today but all in all everyone definitely had learned something invaluable today.  Tomorrow we will start our day at 7 am again and after breakfast we will be going to Princeton University to practice on the battleground.

 

Pictures taken today has been posted on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.488180314542118.128550.134959733197513&type=1

 

Day 3 (28 June)

 

We started our day at 7am again today. I took the kids for light run and they also did some conditioning exercises. I wanted the kids to adjust to the US time zone as quickly as possible (exercises and sports have been scientifically proven to be effective for reducing jetlag). With the showcase just 1 day away I also wanted the kids to maintain their physical condition.

 

After breakfast we checked out from our hotel near New Jersey and drove to Princeton University. Princeton University has one of the best campuses I have even seen. Its tennis facility is definitely a world-class facility (23 courts and 6 indoor courts). Princeton University is also located in a nice and charming college town.

 

Our players practice for about 2 hours, mostly working on doubles. I told the kids that they have to acclimatize themselves to the court at Princeton because here is their battleground. Find out where the sunlight is when you are serving, where the wind blows, what’s the speed of the surface, how high/low the ball bounces, etc. Professional players know how to use the court and its surrounding to their advantage and it could be the difference between winning or losing.

 

During our morning session I told the kids that whatever game style, strategy or tactic they are going to use in a match they have to remember three things that would make them better tactically:

 

     1.     Use your best shot as often as possible (i.e., Nadal always uses his forehand)

     2.     Find out what’s your opponent’s weakness and exploit it with your best shot all day long!

     3.     Be consistent – hit lots of balls back. You can’t win if you don’t hit the ball in the court.

 

After our morning practice Justin who is familiar with the area took us to a local sandwich restaurant. We had to wait for quite long time to get our sandwich but boy it was worth it! I’ve eaten a lot of sandwiches all around the world but I must say this one is definitely on the top of my list. Best cheese steak sandwich ever!

 

Right after our delicious lunch I took the kids back to the court for more practice. I wanted them to play singles. I rotated the kids and they played tiebreakers against each other. We had a very good afternoon session. At the end of the practice, Coach K and I gave talks about mental toughness, how to deal with pressure and what to expect for tomorrow’s showcase.

 

Coach K and I feel confident that our kids are ready and know what to do at the showcase. One important advice I told the kids was about how their mind should always be connected to the ball! There should be an imaginary strong rope tied between your mind and the ball, and nothing should come in between your mind and the ball. It’s an illustration for the importance of a focused mind – a focused mind attached to the ball can solve a lot of problems.

 

Few players came to me and said they are not playing well which I suspect could be the anxiety. They told me that they are not in form or they have not found their rhythm yet. I explained to them that they don’t have to be in form or be in rhythm to play good tennis. Everyone play his or her matches feeling something is wrong, the key is how you adapt and deal with it. We rarely go into a match feeling everything is 100% perfect. Even then something will come up during the match that we have to recognize, adapt and solve.

 

After our afternoon session we drove the kids to our new hotel near Princeton University – Double Tree by Hilton. We will be staying here for the next 3 days. Tomorrow the showcase will start for the girls and I wish them the best of luck! It’s going to be a very hot day but I know our kids will grind it out!

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.488180314542118.128550.134959733197513&type=1

 

Day 4 (29 June)

While Hong Kong was hit by typhoon No. 8, Princeton had an early morning shower that lasted for 2 hours. We left the hotel at 6:15am for the courts to warm up but were forced to stay indoors until the rain stopped around 7:45am. We were very lucky that the rain only lasted for about 2 hours or else it could wreck havoc on the showcase schedule. 

 

After a long Q and A session with division 1, 2 and 3 coaches the girls finally started their matches right on schedule at 9:30am. The whole day was brutally hot after the rain. It was very hot and dry for the entire day.

 

Our girls took the court today and in general coach K and I must say all of them did very well. Although not everyone won their matches and some of them didn’t play their best tennis but coach K and I were happy and pleased to see everyone gave their full effort and fought hard the entire day.

 

Winnie Tang Wei Lin lost all her matches today – singles and doubles but she played extremely well the entire day. She fought for every single point, kept her composure and showed she has a lot of potential to improve her game. Although she lost all her matches she got what she came here for – coaches’ attention. A few coaches from some great schools came to me and expressed great interest in Winnie.

 

Michelle Lo impressed many coaches with her big forehand. Although she’s only a raising junior many coaches spoke to me and wanted to keep their eyes on Michelle.

 

Vivian Lin was definitely one of the strongest players in the showcase and today she impressed many division 1 coaches. Vivian won all of her matches, singles and doubles. A lot of coaches watched her play today and I have already received 2 very solid offers for Vivian, one of them was from a very big and well known school. Now Vivian has to take the SAT and improve her grades. If she does not get her SAT scores to the minimum requirement all of her efforts here will be gone with the wind! 

 

Jenny Tong, Lu Yixin and Jasmine Sujajani were a little bit too nervous today. Although they didn’t win any matches today, all of them showed some good play and positive attitude. They lack match play experience but at least coaches saw they could play points well here and there. I talked to a few division 3 coaches who showed interest in three of them – and these coaches come from high academic schools.

 

Liang Chen played poorly in her first match. Her opponent didn’t give her any chance to find her rhythm. She tried too hard but because of a bad start (many unforced errors), she couldn’t recover for the entire match. Throughout the match she was constantly under pressure as her opponent moved her around. Nevertheless she gave her best, tried hard but nothing went her way today.

 

Mickey Hsu Minchi is a lucky girl. I thought there was no way she could play in the showcase because of record participants (72 girls). But a few players suffered from dehydration and heat stroke and Mickey took their places. In her singles she beat a good player and a few division 1 coaches spoke to me showing a strong interest on Mickey. Although Mickey didn’t play her best tennis today she’s a very solid player who will grind every single ball that comes to her.

 

Overall I must say today was a very good day for all our girls and for our academy. Everyone got some attention and our academy connected with a few new schools. Most importantly our girls got what they came here for – possible recruitment. We are also very lucky that our former showcase participants such as Sher Pui Wing, Leung Lok Sze and Sojung Lee have been doing great in college tennis. Coaches know they came from our program and this helps current players.

 

For the whole day coach K and I were talking to college coaches advocating for our players. I must thank coach K who introduced me to many new acquaintances from different kinds of schools.

 

Tomorrow the girls will play some more matches until 12 noon and the boys will start their first match. Sunday will be all boys matches only. After the girls finish with their showcase a big state school (Penn State) will be coming to see our girls in a private showcase. Penn State is a well-known school and has full tennis scholarships.

 

Coach K and I wish everyone the best of luck for the second day of the showcase.  We know everyone will fight like gladiators tomorrow!

 

On another note, I would like to congratulate John Hwang who joined our showcase last year for being admitted to Harvard University! Congratulation John, we’re proud of you!

 

 

Day 5 (30 June)

Today was another early day for our team. We left our hotel at 6:15am to have breakfast at our favorite place – Panera. Today the girls only played half a day and the boys played the other half of the day.

 

Vivian won both her matches today as she wrapped up the showcase winning all her matches. Many coaches were impressed by Vivian’s game and on court attitude. Her singles opponent was a grinder but Vivian constructed the points better and didn’t waste any opportunities to finish points when she had the chance.

 

Michelle had a battle with her opponent. The match was close but Michelle’s competitiveness and fighting spirit helped her win today. What coach K and I admire about Michelle is she’s such a nice girl outside of the court but on the court she’s so feisty and competitive. The good news is for Michelle, many coaches here are looking for feisty competitors!

 

Winnie gave her best but due to lack of match experience she lost all her matches again today. Nevertheless she gave all she had and that’s all anyone could ask for. Winnie could play good tennis but the problem is she would play 2 good points and 3 bad points. She can play good tennis but she plays sub standard tennis more often than she plays good tennis in a match. She knows how to hit the ball but many times she doesn’t know what to do with the ball or consistently she makes wrong decisions. This is a firm evidence of match inexperience.

 

Jenny won her singles match today. Although she started the match quite nervous and hit a lot of double faults in the beginning she was able to keep her composure throughout the match. She knew that her bigger opponent wasn’t so consistent so she took to heart my advice about keeping the ball in play long enough to let her opponent make mistakes. Jenny did really well today, she played well and she fought hard.

 

Jasmine suffered a shoulder injury in the middle of her doubles match which affected her performance. She tried to keep playing with her injury but her performance was pretty much limited. Braving the injury she got on the court and played another singles match. Unfortunately she couldn’t play her best tennis.

 

Liu played better than yesterday. She was feeling less nervous and it reflected in her game this morning. She had a comfortable win and she played a few great points that drew a few comments from the coaches who were standing close to me. She definitely played much better today and I am happy for her that she was able to perform in front of some great academic division 3 schools.

 

Mickey won both singles and doubles matches again today. She’s also one of the strongest players at the showcase. Many coaches were watching her play and were impressed with her grinding-penetrating game. If only she had more power on her strokes (bigger and stronger physically) she would easily be playing on professional tour.

 

Liang Chen played much better today in doubles. She was moving a lot at the net and being aggressive. A few coaches were impressed with her fine touch and good hands. However, in singles she didn’t play as good as she is capable of because her opponent was getting a lot of balls back. She tried everything but nothing worked for her today – her opponent was just simply better. On the good note, she was very focused and determined to perform better today to impress coaches.

 

The boys started their match at 12 noon. Coach K and I were not able to watch the boys too much in the beginning because we were talking to a lot of coaches for the girls. After the showcase finish players can talk to the coaches thus coach K and I spent a lot of time introducing our girls to most of their favorite schools. The girls were talking to coaches from big division 1 schools such as Rutgers, Seton Hall, Penn State, NY Albany, to name a few, and also to top liberal arts schools in division 3, including Smith College, Wellesley College, Trinity College, Mt. Holyoke and Middlebury College.

 

Some of our boys got a lot of attention especially Chris Tseng and Mark Huang. When they were playing I invited coaches from Georgetown and Northwestern University to watch them play. Word got out on how good they play and within 10 minutes coaches from UPenn, Yale, Stony Brook and some other schools were watching the two boys play. Georgetown head coach Gordy told me that if they boys can pass SAT and TOEFL he will take them right now to Georgetown.

 

After watching the boys play their singles and doubles today we had our daily meeting and I went over a few things with the boys to help them play better tomorrow:

 

Ryan – he played well today and I wanted him to keep hitting a lot of first serves in and show coaches his forehand. Play more shots with forehands and try to unleash a few big ones.

 

Marco – he’s always in full speed when he plays his match. I told him that if he was an F1 racer he can’t step his foot on the gas pedal all the time. That’s why he crashes a lot when he’s turning. In tennis, I told him that he doesn’t have to hit winners all the time to win the point. Sometimes all it takes is just another 1 -2 balls back.

 

Justin – he was so nervous today that he played way below his standard. He’s fortunate that he is only in his junior year so next year he’s got one more chance. However I told him that he has to learn to forget about what happened today, learn from the experience and redeem himself tomorrow. Why wait until next year if you can do it tomorrow? Justin needs to conquer his nerves. During the match he hit a few bad shots that could be more damaging than losing the match. Coaches are here to see what they can work with not looking for players who win every match. Justin’s biggest mistake was he was too focused on the prize (coaches’ attention) instead of focusing on his battle (match). By keep thinking on the prize it’s difficult to concentrate and battle the match out!

 

Andy – he’s still young and although this showcase is for him to get some experience he needs to learn to play more efficiently. In his singles match he missed too many first serves. I told Andy that first serves are extremely important to start the point. If you serve too many second serves you basically let your opponent start the point comfortably. Why would you do that? First serves can help set up the momentum of the point – make the most of them! Andy also needs to be more aggressive on the court (mentally). Meaning that he should not give up too easily. Sometime I see he gives up when things are not going his way whether during points or during the match. Be tougher, mentally.

 

Louis Liu – he’s a big guy but his game is not as big as he is. He’s game is too modest for his size. He should hit a bigger serve, and a bigger forehand, which he can do but he doesn’t do it. He plays too safely. Coaches want to see some big serves, and big forehands and Louis can do this. He’s a good player but he doesn’t know this because he plays a smaller game than what he is capable of. So for tomorrow I told him to play bigger.

 

Mark Huang – he’s a smooth player – very smooth with great hands. I told him that he is too nice on the court and it shows on his game. In America college tennis is a street fight. Kids will do anything to win including cheating, being in your face, etc. Mark is too relaxed and too nice. I told him tomorrow if he plays some good points I want him to pump his fists. Show the coaches that he is a tough and rough guy on the court. Mark is a very good player, there is no doubt that Mark and Chris are some of the best players in the showcase. But being good is not enough because it’s too easy for Mark. He needs to show the coaches that he’s also a tough guy.

 

Chris Tseng – he’s got a big game. His plays like Djokovic and because of this he’s got a lot of attention from a lot of coaches. He’s got similar problems to Marco – needs to learn how to slow down his game a bit. He takes too much risk sometimes and those risks he takes are way too risky even for the pros. I told him that when he does not have the opportunity to attack he doesn’t have to attack. Instead reset and start again from the beginning – learn how to set up and construct points better and this will make Chris a great player. In tennis there is no time limit to finish the point. Take as much time or strokes needed to win the point.

 

In the end of the day when the boys were playing I set up a private hitting session for Penn State coach who came late today. He wanted to see our girls so I had four of our girls play singles and doubles for the Penn State coach to watch. Penn State is a division 1 powerhouse sports school. Vivian, Michelle, Mickey and Winnie played against each other in singles and doubles. Penn State coach were quite impressed with some of the girls and promised to be in touch with me.

 

Tomorrow the boys will play for the whole day. I gave the girls a rest so they will wake up around 8am. In the afternoon after the showcase is done we will drive to the University of Pennsylvania. The next morning we are scheduled to meet coach David Geatz on the campus.

 

Coach K and I wish the boys all the best for tomorrow’s matches. I hope they listen to what I told them privately and play better in their next match.

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook site.  

 

Day 6 (1 July)
Today was the last day of the showcase. The boys arrived to the courts at 7:30 am to warm up. A Q and A session featuring division 1, 2 and 3 coaches was held before the matches commenced at 9:30 am. The coaches and Tim Donovan gave a lot of insights and great advice about the whole college recruitment process.
 
I must say today the only two boys that took their game to the next level were Ryan and Louis. Others played well while some didn’t live up to the expectations. I thought some of the boys could play better and push themselves harder, but overall coach K and I were quite pleased with the boys’ performance. Although the weather was brutally hot throughout the day our boys hung in there and I saw that everyone gave their best effort.  
 
What coach K and I liked about Ryan today was the fact he was fearless on the court, he took my advice to heart (use lots of forehands and hit lots of first serves in), enjoy the battle and fight like there is no tomorrow. Ryan did just that and he won both of his singles matches which is great for him. A few coaches are turning their heads to Ryan but since he’s a raising junior I told the coaches he will be back next year better and stronger.
 
Louis rose to the occasion. He beat a good player by playing a bigger game. As I told him yesterday he has to unleash some bigger serves and bigger forehands (because he can) and today he did just that. Louis found another side of him that he never knew he had before. He is actually better than he thinks he is – he just has to get it out of him.
 
Andy told me he could not play well today although he tried everything he was just too nervous. Sometimes things like this happen and we just have to deal with it. Luckily for Andy he is still young and this showcase has been a great experience for him. Andy has some technical problems that he needs to address right away if he wants to improve his game. His serving and forehand technique need some technical attention because with his present technique he will not be able to reach his full potential.
 
Marco gave his best and played as well as he could but it wasn’t enough to beat his opponents. He slowed his game down today which was great. Marco would need to play more matches in the next few months if he wants to become a better player. His problem is he is all over the place with his game. One thing important missing from Marco’s game is his lack of ability to construct points. He doesn’t have much plan or strategy/ tactic in his game. Basically what he does mostly is just hitting the ball back. I will work with Marco for a few more weeks before he goes home on this area.
 
Justin played another bad match. He was really frustrated with himself for not being able to perform. His nerves got the best of him. Just a few days before the showcase he was able to beat Louis in a tiebreaker but these past two days he couldn’t even hit a ball in. Although Justin was very, very sad after the match I told him that this match may be the best thing that ever happened to him. Because of today’s match now he knows where he stands and what he needs to do for the next 12 months. Justin’s biggest problem is he has not gone through an intensive training regime. That’s why his game breaks down in matches and he does not know why. He is like a good basketball player who can dribble, pass (looks good) but can’t score. Nevertheless, as I mentioned before this showcase, this could be a great wake up call for him that if he wants to play college tennis he has to put up the hard work!
 
Chris and Mark played good doubles and they impressed many coaches. A few Ivy League coaches even told me that they would like to recruit both of them. Both players played strong tennis in doubles.
 
Mark’s first singles match was much better than his second match. He beat a very good player. Mark was able to show his talents and smooth play in front of many coaches. They were impressed by his great left handed game. However, Mark played poorly in his second match which was on the center court. He wasn’t able to perform to his standards due to the heat. I thought Mark could play harder and push himself harder but he wasn’t able to do that. In my opinion Mark still had something left inside him but he failed to get it out of himself. Sometimes pushing ourselves to the next level is much harder than winning the match. Luckily for Mark many coaches could see his talents and what he’s got as a player.
 
Chris had a good start with his doubles. He blasted many big serves and hit great returns to the feet of his opponents. Coaches could see that this boy can play some great doubles. I am not sure what happened in his singles but I watched him played so poorly for some reason. Nothing was going for him in the first 3 games for some reason. And in 8 games pro set if you lose the first 3 games it’s going to be very difficult to come back. His opponent was good but not good enough to beat Chris. Chris basically beat himself today. He played below his standard and I must say I felt sad for Chris today. He is such a good player but he wasn’t able to show it today. He made one unforced error after another. After the match I asked him why he played so poorly and he didn’t know the answer to that.  He wasn’t mentally focused enough in the first 3 games. There were a few points he wanted to blast his opponent of the court but it didn’t work and from there his confidence were affected. Chris should have taken his time, hit more balls back, grind for a few games (don’t give anything free) instead he chose to take a lot of risks with his shots which backfired. I hope Chris learned from his mistake today that when playing important matches it's best not to take too much risk in the beginning of the match. Luckily for Chris many coaches was able to see past his bad loss today.
 
While the boys were grinding the hot weather on the court, the girls had a nice day off. They came to the court around 10:00 am looking relax and comfortable.
 
After the boys finished their matches at 4:30 pm we checked out from our hotel and drove to Philadelphia. Tomorrow we will be visiting University of Pennsylvania and meet my good friend coach David Geatz. Coach Geatz will give us the tour of the campus and the athletic department. I hope one of my players will be able to study at UPenn sometime soon as coach Geatz is currently recruiting one of my players from last year’s showcase.   
 
This is my first trip to Philly and I was wowed when I arrived. The city is almost like a mix of New York and Rome. There were many New York style buildings but also a few Roman style buildings. Not sure about the kids but I was constantly mesmerized and fell in love with this city. We are staying at the Marriot inside a historical building. I told the kids that this is probably our last night staying at a luxurious hotel so make sure you enjoy it
J. Tomorrow after our visit to UPenn I will take the kids to see the Rocky Steps from the movie “Rocky”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Steps
 
After we visit the Rocky Steps coach K and I will take the kids to taste Philly’s famous Cheese Steak sandwich. And later in the day we will drive for 6.5 hours to Boston.
 

Day 7 (2 July)

This morning I gave everyone a much-deserved rest. After taking our breakfast at a typical American diner we drove a few miles from our hotel to UPenn campus. We met coach Geatz and the women’s coach as well who were very kind to give us a tour of the beautiful campus. In my opinion, UPenn has one of the best campus and facility in Ivy League. Their tennis facility and gym are simply state of the art facility. Everyone was impressed.

 

Coach Geatz asked me if some of our boys would be interested to study at UPenn. He’s seriously considering to recruit 1 – 2 of our boys if they can reach UPenn’s minimum requirement. Overall I am very happy with our trip to UPenn as now we have strengthened our relationship with UPenn’s men’s coach and made a new acquaintance with the women’s coach.

 

After our interesting campus tour I took the kids to the world renowned Rocky Steps. Some of the kids didn’t know who Rocky was but most of them had heard of Rocky. We did the Rocky run which was great and fun and we also took some pictures under the Rocky statue. It was a great experience for our team, especially for me who grew up watching all Rocky movies J.

 

Coach K’s father grew up in Philadelphia and he directed us to the best cheese steak sandwich place called Geno’s.  This place is packed when we arrived around 2:30 and by just seeing the line queue. Luckily the restaurant has prepared everything so our 18 sandwiches came out in just 3 minutes. I had no word to describe how good it tasted. Everything just melted in your mouth. The taste was just heavenly J. It definitely topped the sandwich that we had in Princeton. The only thing I could say is don’t miss Geno’s if you ever in Philly! Next to Geno’s there is another sandwich restaurant serving the same sandwich called Pat’s. We also tried Pat’s but I would give Pat’s 3.5 stars out of 5 while Geno’s is 5 stars out of 5.

 

After our delicious, physically and mentally satisfying lunch J we drove 6.5 hours to Boston. Tomorrow we will be visiting Wellesley where coach Brian Kuscher will be hosting us (dream school for some of our girls) and in the afternoon we will be visiting Harvard University and its legendary coach Fish who’s been coaching at Harvard for the last 20 years.

 

On another note I have been getting emails from college coaches interested on our players and the emails have been very encouraging.

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook page.

 

Day 8 (3 July)

We had an early morning conditioning work out before we left to Wellesley College. Some of our kids will be playing tournaments in California right after this trip so I wanted to make sure they maintain or improve their physical fitness level. We did a lot of aerobic, anaerobic, explosive and upper body work out for about 60 minutes.

 

Wellesley College campus was voted as one of the ten most beautiful campuses in the world. I must say it lives up to its reputation. By far this is the most beautiful campus we have visited. I’ve been to Wellesley almost every year since 2007 and still its beautiful surroundings and environments impressed me. The whole campus feels like a national park with many historical and renaissance style buildings. There is a big lake inside the campus as well and there is one area near the lake called “Green Beach” because the lake has no beach but only grass.

 

At Wellesley we met a very good friend of mine who visited our academy in Hong Kong many times – coach Brian Kuscher. Coach Brian was very kind to give us a personal campus tour and see all Wellesley’s athletic facility. Wellesley is some of our girls’ dream school and after their visit they are now more determined than ever to give their best to be admitted to Wellesley. One of our girls joked that the main reason she wanted to go to Wellesley is so that she can marry a Harvard guy J.

 

The good news is coach Brian is looking at 2 – 3 of our girls and will be in touch with them. Coach Brian has promised to look at their scores and help them in anyway. Lucky for us, one of my players Sojung Lee, has been doing great at Wellesley this past year and coach Brian is looking to recruit more players from our academy with the same qualities and work ethic as Sojung.

 

After our Wellesley tour coach Brian showed us a very good sandwich place and ordered parma ham with fresh mozzarella cheese for our team. It was so finely made and extremely delicious. The mozzarella cheese was so fresh I could eat it for the next 2 weeks J.

 

We drove from Wellesley to Harvard University after our lunch. We were greeted by coach Andrew and coach Fish who gave us a private campus tour. Harvard, as we all know, is one of the most if not the most prestigious schools in the world. We were very lucky to be given a private tour by coach Andrew who graduated, played and now works for Harvard. He knows Harvard inside out and it was fun listening to some of the interesting facts about Harvard. Harvard has a very nice tennis facility – both outdoor and indoor. When we were touring Harvard we saw many, many tourists who toured the campus just like us. We felt privileged that our tour was given by Harvard’s tennis coach.

 

After our tour we sat down with coach Fish who has been the head coach at Harvard for the last 37 years. His Zen-like approach and philosophy were very interesting to hear and the kids were very lucky today that they got to sit down with coach Fish for 30 minutes discussing everything about college recruitment process to how to choose the most suitable school for yourself. Coach Fish really gave us a lot of great insights and advices that money can’t buy.

 

Kelvin Lam whom I coached from 10 – 14 years old will be attending Harvard this September and coach Fish and coach Andrew are excited to have Kelvin joining their team soon. I told both coaches what a great and hard working young man is Kelvin Lam. I am sure Kelvin will excel and succeed at Harvard under the guidance of coach Fish and coach Andrew.

 

After our tour to Harvard we drove back and had an early dinner because the kids wanted to go shopping. Lucky for us we stayed across a very big mall. The kids spent about 1.5 hours at the mall and they bought a lot of stuff especially from Abercrombie! One of them even spent over USD300! Her excuses: I bought stuff for my family. Good one J.

 

Tomorrow we will be driving for 5 hours to visit Hamilton College. Coach Barr is very kind to let us visit on 4th of July. A big holiday in the US.

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook page.

 

Day 9 (4 July)

Today is Independence Day for the United States of America. This is perhaps the biggest holiday for everyone in the US. For us, it was almost a whole day of driving! Although it was tiring, we had a fun road trip.

 

Our team was scheduled for conditioning training at 7 am but our plan was slightly disrupted by early morning rain shower. Instead of our usual morning run and strength workout we did a kickboxing workout instead. It was fun yet great exercise for the kids because they had never done a kickboxing workout in their life.

 

After our breakfast we drove about 5 hours to Clinton, New York to visit Hamilton College (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_College_%28New_York%29) and coach Barr. Hamilton College is best known for the second best school for writers (behind Emory and ahead of John Hopkins, MIT, NYU). It is also one of the “Hidden Ivies” schools. Coach Barr who is my personal friend gave our team a tour of the campus and athletic facility. We were also introduced to one of the Biology Department professors from Taiwan who gave us a very interesting tour of the Biology Department and talked to us about his experience working and teaching at Princeton, Cornell and Hamilton. He also gave great advice to our kids – take double major if possible. I could see most of our kids taking that advice to heart.

 

After our visit to Hamilton we drove about 3 hours down south to New Jersey because tomorrow we will be visiting Rutgers University (division 1 scholarship school). I was thinking if we should stop somewhere to watch the July 4th firework show but lucky for us we saw 2 firework shows while driving to our hotel near New Jersey. We were able to pull off the side of the road and watch what is one of the greatest traditions in the American Culture.

 

Tomorrow after our visit to Rutgers, most of our players will be flying back to Hong Kong and some of them to California. Everyone was rather sad tonight (some don’t want to go home yet J), but I could see they are also excited for their future. They will fly home feeling inspired, motivated and with better sense of direction.

 

Coach K and I have been talking privately to each of player. We sit down with each player for 15 minutes to go over their showcase experience and what comes next. Most importantly coach K and I are giving advice to each player about schools that could best suit their tennis, academic standard and personality.

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hong-Kong-International-Tennis-Academy-HKITA/134959733197513

 

Day 10 (5 July)

I gave some of the kids who are going back to Hong Kong after midnight today a rest from our daily morning work out because I knew we are going to have a very long day. Kids who are going to California after this trip have no choice but to get up early at 5:50 am for our morning work out because we have to drive for 2 hours from our hotel to Rutgers University this morning. I was surprised that a few kids who are going back to Hong Kong today also showed up for the work out – great effort! We had a shorter work out but I made the work out more intense than usual.

 

After breakfast we drove for a little bit over 2 hours to the biggest university in the state of New Jersey – Rutgers University. Rutgers is in the division 1 and I must say the school has unbelievable athletic facility for its student-athletes.

 

Coach Ben Lucca gave us a tour of both the athletic facility and campus. Our tour started at the basketball stadium. The stadium has a capacity for 9000 people! We also visited the football stadium. I have to say Rutgers’ facility is just amazing. We went to see 2 different weight rooms for the athletes and both of them were state of the art and amazingly equipped. So far of all the schools that we visited Rutgers by far has the best athletic facility and resources.

 

Since the campus is so big we had to drive from one facility to another facility. The school is big! Other coaches told me that coach Ben is one of the smartest and humble coaches in the Big East conference. In his off time from tennis he is a lawyer and sit in the US Open Rules and Regulations committee. I am so glad that we made this new connection with coach Ben and Rutgers. Coach Ben is currently interested in 3 of our players and had asked me be in touch regarding those 3 players. Surely, I will be in touch with coach Ben.

 

Our trip to Rutgers has given the kids a very insightful idea of what a big school is like versus smaller schools. I know some of the kids prefer smaller schools and some of them are still undecided. I am glad that I took the kids to see a big state school like Rutgers. The good thing about Rutgers is it is also a very good academic school.

 

Finally after our trip to Rutgers we had some time to burn. So I took the kids to an Italian restaurant nearby to enjoy a delicious but mostly relaxing lunch where we can really take our time. We had a good time having lunch together sitting just at one very long table. The kids got along really well with each other and they were having fun while learning a lot about everything in the past 10 days.

 

Before I sent some of the kids to the JFK airport I took them to a nearby mall to do last minute shopping.

 

This will be my last report from this year’s college showcase tour. I hope everyone who read my reports have learned something invaluable about college tennis recruitment process.

 

Before I end my report I would like to thank everyone for reading my daily report. I would also like to thank coach K for all his hard work and dedication to our players. Without coach K this tour would not be as smooth, productive and fruitful. Coach K is one of the harder working and reliable coaches that I have ever worked with. Thanks again coach K and we hope to see you again next year!

 

I would also like to thank my sister Rinny who’s been helping our team with logistics since day 1. She worked very hard to make sure our team has a decent place to stay and delicious food to eat! Thank you sis for all your hard work and tireless effort!

 

Lastly I would like to thank all the kids for being great kids – very obedient and respectful. I had so many coaches and people come to me and told me how nice, respectful our kids are. It was my honor and pleasure to be working with them all and I wish them the best in their future. My duties on this tour are now finished but my work with them is not done yet. The easy part is now over. Next step will be the application process.

 

See you all back in Hong Kong. I am currently in California for another tour. I will return to Hong Kong on August 3rd.  Thank you once again.

 

Pictures have been posted on our facebook page.

 

 

 

bravo
Posted at : October 02 2014, 1:17 AM by clemens colsen

you clearly love yr work, what a wonderfull read !! keep going !

Leave a Comment

Latest Updates by
Benny Lin
Founder & Academy Director of Hong Kong International Tennis Academy
Vuk Zelunka
Head Coach of Hong Kong International Tennis Academy

See All >

Loading