Punahou High School: The Elite of Boys’ High School Volleyball 

Rick Tune dish­es on how Hudl has made him a bet­ter coach and offers advice on how video can do the same for you.

Punahou High School: The Elite of Boys’ High School Volleyball 

Rick Tune dish­es on how Hudl has made him a bet­ter coach and offers advice on how video can do the same for you.

Few teams can top the his­to­ry of the Punahou High School boys’ vol­ley­ball team. The Buff n’ Blue have won eight straight state cham­pi­onships, bring­ing their total to 36, and boast alum­ni like Micah Ma’a, a 2018 AVCA First Team All-American at UCLA, and U.S. Olympic vol­ley­ball play­er Eric Shoji. 

The program’s biggest prob­lem might be the ever-shrink­ing avail­able space in the tro­phy case.

Despite that, head boys’ vol­ley­ball coach Rick Tune doesn’t con­sid­er suc­cess a giv­en. It’s earned every step of the way. We sat down with Tune to learn more about this illus­tri­ous vol­ley­ball pro­gram that strives to cre­ate not only elite ath­letes on the court, but upstand­ing men off of it.

We want kids that want to com­pete, and that oper­ate their lives with a zest and a zeal.” Rick Tune

Spike, one of the most rec­og­nized words in the vol­ley­ball dic­tio­nary, means some­thing more to the Buffanblu. The acronym is at the fore­front of every­thing they do—sac­ri­fice, pas­sion, integri­ty, kin­ship and excel­lence—and it’s at the core of their success. 

In our pro­gram, kids come from all kinds of clubs, and they’re usu­al­ly the guy, but when they come to Punahou they have to learn to play with­in their role, and they have to embrace it,” Tune said. Sacrifice real­ly talks about putting the group first. And then pas­sion means you have to bring more than skill to the court. You can’t just be a good, tech­ni­cal set­ter. What do you bring to your teammates?”

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Integrity and kin­ship are the two cor­ner­stones of their vol­ley­ball program. 

Simply put, what are you doing when no one is look­ing?” Tune said. We try to train like that. There’s no cut­ting cor­ners. A lot of guys don’t know how far they can push them­selves, and what they can endure to push through those bar­ri­ers. So in our train­ing, we do some intense work­outs, but they’re not designed to be phys­i­cal­ly tough, but men­tal­ly challenging.

Our rela­tion­ships with our play­ers are vital to that. In order to get the most out of them, you have to have a good rela­tion­ship with them. You have to be a human with them. And when you do all four of those things well, excel­lence will come. We want not only good vol­ley­ball play­ers, but sons and boyfriends, etc. Excellence comes from being the best that you are capa­ble of becoming.”

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It’s easy to be enam­ored by the school’s over­whelm­ing suc­cess, but Tune ensures Punahou remains built on the foun­da­tion of doing things the right way. 

Year over year, we focus on the process,” Tune said. We let the prod­uct take care of itself, using our phi­los­o­phy to do that. It just hap­pens to work out for us.”

Tune and his staff believe in devel­op­ing not just supe­ri­or ath­letes, but supe­ri­or stu­dents of the game. 

That’s where Hudl comes in,” he said. We want kids who are going to study the game and under­stand the tac­ti­cal side of the game, espe­cial­ly when we get in and talk about scout­ing reports for preparation.”

I haven’t met any­one who watch­es as much video as we do. It’s hours of film review.” Rick Tune

Tune sets bench­mark stats he learned from his time as a Pepperdine assis­tant and places a high pri­or­i­ty on meet­ing those marks. His most impor­tant num­bers are scor­ing per­cent­age and side-out percentage. 

What fac­tors are con­tribut­ing to those things?” he asked. There are a mul­ti­tude of rea­sons, but hav­ing video along­side is absolute­ly vital. Based on that infor­ma­tion, we tai­lor prac­tices to help improve where needed. 

I haven’t met any­one who watch­es as much video as we do. It’s hours of film review. Hudl allows me to break it down into lit­tle chunks, so if there is some­thing I real­ly want to focus in on, like all of rota­tion one’s attacks, I have the video and data to do that very eas­i­ly. It allows me to get a clear­er sense of trends and you learn a lot.”

Preparation goes so much fur­ther than just the coach­ing staff. Punahou has made video analy­sis para­mount for their play­ers’ development. 

For dif­fer­ent posi­tion groups, they have dif­fer­ent queues for dif­fer­ent things — the mid­dle block­er is get­ting into the mind­set of the oppos­ing set­ter and vice ver­sa as an exam­ple — and the game hinges on those things,” Tune said. We spend a lot of time watch­ing video with our play­ers and we find they get a real ben­e­fit from it. As I men­tioned before, the best play­ers that I coach are stu­dents of the game, so they under­stand why things are hap­pen­ing the way they are. 

The best play­ers can see the play devel­op­ing, and they can exe­cute a counter strat­e­gy. The quick­er they can under­stand and see that, the bet­ter we are.”

The tools we have now with Hudl are so much eas­i­er to use, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort.” Rick Tune

Certain play­ers, like for­mer Punahou stand­out Ma’a, uti­lize video analy­sis to reach their full potential. 

Micah was prob­a­bly one of the best play­ers to come out of Punahou,” Tune said. He set all kinds of records, and he came in with a lot of knowl­edge about the game. I remem­ber hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with him going into his senior year. He said that even though he came in with such an exten­sive back­ground in vol­ley­ball, watch­ing video and see­ing the trends and stats ampli­fied that and took him to anoth­er lev­el of play. So I think for any play­er who wants to max­i­mize their poten­tial, they have to be dis­ci­plined enough to look and read and evaluate.

The tools we have now with Hudl are so much eas­i­er to use, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Hudl gives us some of the same ben­e­fits with­out hav­ing the extreme amount of time and com­mit­ment it could take. I love Hudl. It’s some­thing that has made me a bet­ter coach, and it’s some­thing that can do the same for any oth­er coach and for their team.”

We’re proud to help Punahou con­tin­ue to devel­op a suc­cess­ful pro­gram through video, and the tools they use are avail­able for any­one. Click here to learn more about our vol­ley­ball tools and see how they could improve your program.

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