Kiawah Tennis Academy Students Make Strides

Junior student Peyton Philemon is proof that Kiawah Island's Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy has made great strides in its three years.
Peyton Philemon

Kiawah Tennis Academy students make strides at Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy. Three years after the academy relaunched and rebranded, several students in the initial classes are now playing varsity tennis with full scholarships.

After a little more than a year in the program, one current student is attracting the attention of quite a few college coaches. Peyton Philemon shares her thoughts about her experience at Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy and how it has elevated her game, both physically and mentally.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort: How old are you, and what grade are you in?
Peyton Philemon: I am 16 years old, and I’m a junior.

KIGR: Where do you call home?
PP: I’m from Wilmington, North Carolina.

KIGR: How long have you been in the program at Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy?
PP: A little over a year now.

KIGR: How did you find out about it?
PP: My mom used to know Bruce because I would go to these developmental camps in Atlanta, and he was one of the coaches there. So I think she saw something on Facebook about him becoming director here, and we connected again.

KIGR:  How are you conducting your studies, directly here through the academy or through your home school
PP: I’m still at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, but I just take online classes from there. I’d always been taking one online course, so it hasn’t been that big of a difference. And the academy offers a lot of academic support and tutoring if students need it. But all of my teachers back home have been great, so if I have a question I just go to my own teachers.

KIGR: What areas of your game have you noticed the most improvement in since you started with the Academy?
PP:  I would say my net game and my backhand.

KIGR: A critical area of focus at the Academy is physical training and development. Have you experienced noticeable improvement there?
PP: Oh! I’ve noticed so much improvement there. I could barely do anything in the gym when I first came here, but now I’ve improved so much. It gives me more power on the court so I can hit the ball harder.

KIGR: That physical development has such long-term impact as well, developing the muscles the right way to make sure you can execute each stroke properly, which also reduces risk of injury and long-term wear-and-tear on your body, which in turn gives you a better opportunity for success over a longer career.
PP: Oh, yes, I believe I will see long-term benefits because of it.

KIGR: Another area of focus at the Academy is helping students get tournament ready. How has the Academy helped with that?
PP: I just think that my mindset has been better going to tournaments than it was before. I used to not prepare mentally, but now I really prepare. There’s nothing specific that I do mentally, but I’m more serious going into a tournament and more dialed-in that week, and I make sure that I’m eating right, paying attention to the time I go to sleep, and things like that.

KIGR: Have you implemented any major changes in your diet, or any other routine, since you started at the Academy?
PP: I think that overall my time management has gotten a lot better since I got here, because we are playing tennis and working out so much, it’s hard to find time, so it’s forced me to really work on that.

KIGR: How does that relate to work-life balance, have you been able to maintain a social life here?
PP: It’s great here. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve come in for just a few days or a week, whose families own houses here. And then we’ve all become great friends who live in the house. I’ve enjoyed the residential aspect of it. It’s been really fun.

KIGR: What do you do, say, for meals? Do you cook for yourself?
PP: Well, for breakfast and lunch we’re on our own — and the Academy provides a lot of food for us — but for dinner, our house mom cooks for us. She’s a good cook. But we have a lot of different house parents, so it varies.

KIGR: What is your goal after you graduate?
PP: My long-term goal is to play Division I tennis. That’s just been my goal for the longest time. As far as what I’m going to focus on academically, I haven’t gotten that far yet.