This week’s blog is written by Coach Yamkela (Yam) Nako. Yam has been coaching for PPI for five years, and is one of our hardest working coaches. He’s an incredible student of the game, and has a deep passion to not only see his players become better basketball players, but better people as well.
Hi everyone, coach Yamkela (a.k.a “the man”, “coach Phil”, “the bally in Wentiez”) here. I am currently the coach at Assegai Primary School and the high school coach for PPI’s LDP in Wentworth, Durban.
Firstly I would like to thank everyone from PeacePlayers for a great year of basketball. 2014 was another great coaching year that gave me the opportunity to change and develop lives of players in one of the coolest communities I’ve ever had the chance to work in—Wentworth. I would also like to thank all the parents and the best school rep anyone could ask for, Miss Leroux Webster. Thank you to the PPI Staff and fellows. We said
goodbye to two good fellows Kristin and Kyler, cool people from whom I learned a lot, and at the same time welcomed new fellows Bryan Franklin and Ben Constable, an amazing pair of individuals. Finally I would like to thank my players, we experienced highs and lows, both wins and losses that never failed to teach lessons on and off the court.
This year I had the chance to start something that took my coaching to the next level. In April we launched a Wentworth Leadership Development Programme team. It was an amazing opportunity that gave me the chance to teach/coach players that I had previously taught in primary school. One of my former players, Brent, not only played on the LDP team, but also acted as my assistance coach at Assegai. Then there is Nduduzo and his sister Minenhle both of whom I coached in primary school, continue to carry on the family tradition of basketball on the LDP level.
On the primary school level it’s been amazing to see the growth of one of my now best players, Marcus. Marcus is a boy growing up without a father, and is known as the child who misbehaves a lot in school. When he first came to practice at the beginning of the year, he was constantly disruptive, not knowing how to use the energy and skill he possesses. By the end of 4th term he was leading the entire team in drills during practice, and his
maturity and dedication have increased greatly. Then there is my daily inspiration Chloe. Chloe is in grade 5, and is technically too young to be part of the PeacePlayers Programme. But she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. A little under a year later, she not only has the nicest jump shot on the team, but is able to take charge, encourage, motivate and lead her peers, many of whom are older than her. Finally there’s Jade, who as Fellow Bryan Franklin spoke about a few weeks ago, has grown enough to view all races as people. In a quote that comes directly from some of our training in the Anatomy of Peace, “it’s not about the colour of a person skin it’s about their character’”.
When it comes down to it, it’s the kids who make this the best job in the world. I’m honoured to be a coach at PPI, where I get to come to work every day and impact people’s lives.