Vavae Malepeai was there. So was Tua Tagovailoa.
It was raining, but that didn’t bother any of the athletes in attendance for a speed and quickness session with coach Kenny Patton last Sunday at the Saint Louis School football field.
Malepeai will be shipping out to Los Angeles — for the USC football team — after graduating from Mililani in May. Tagovailoa will be committing to one of a handful of finalists among his 19 Division I college offers in a little more than a week.
Tagovailoa, who will be a senior quarterback at Saint Louis this fall, was going through the paces, and Malepeai, a running back, was stretching on the side, nursing a minor bruise.
A large group of student-athletes, most of them preparing for the fall season, listened closely to the instruction from Patton, a former University of Hawaii cornerback.
Patton says his Sunday training sessions — “rain or shine” — are for football players who want to be fast.
Here’s what he and three of the participants have to say about it —
Coach Kenny Patton: “The training focuses on speed, agility, and quickness specifically for football. It isn’t about doing drills that look cool, but instead, it is purposefully designed instruction to increase force production, coordination, and running mechanics. Another objective is to learn all the combine drills to have the fastest times possible, which helps college coaches know that Hawaii athletes are fast and just as deserving as mainland players. In addition, we are able to add in some football drills to make the first defender miss and movements to avoid the opposition using speed, which enables our athletes to make big plays. I am teaching the kids things that I wish I would have learned that would have helped me take my game to the next level. Everyone is training now, the difference is we train smart and we train hard.”
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Kapolei defensive lineman, senior to be: “It’s offseason training. You gotta get better, faster and stronger and this is the place to be right here. This is where a lot of people improve on their speed and it’s helping a lot. I see myself getting better faster. What I like about it is (coach Patton is) real disciplined with his time, so he doesn’t want to waste time. It’s all about getting better, so any time we’re on the field, that time is precious. You goof off and he’s going to send you home. I witnessed that before and I felt pretty bad for the kid, but at the same time, coach is right. You come here to get better, not to play around.”
Andrew Aleki, Kamehameha linebacker, senior to be: “I only heard of this session a month ago, but since then, I’ve been getting faster quicker and better. (Coach Patton is) more of a guy that focuses on technique and builds the speed in all the players, not just one. He focuses on every player on the field. Before I was really bad with my running technique. Ever since I joined up, it’s getting better.”
Seyddrick Lakalaka, Punahou defensive back/linebacker, senior to be: I want to get better and faster and right for the season. It’s been working. I notice more explosion. I’ve also improved my running form. I used to have a tendency to shorten my arm swings. (Coach Patton is) teaching me to swing it more powerfully. He also concentrates on the combines and teaching you the form and the steps you need to know. He goes over it a lot, and with more reps it becomes more natural.”