It’s tempting to say the stars are aligning for Izaac Williams in 2018. The reality is the Invercargill basketball player and aspiring businessman is putting into practice some hard learned life lessons as he rolls out his I WILL skills training system.
Williams played professionally for the Southland Sharks basketball team for three years, and is a former national age-group squash representative.
Through sports, Williams has met people high up in New Zealand business circles and has spent time learning from and working with them.
“It provided me with a lot of business experience.”
The key moment of inspiration came when Orlando Coleman, the Sharks’ import player, noticed him running through some drills – liked what he saw – and asked Williams to take him for a training session.
“I’d never taken a pro-session before... but I put myself out there and took the opportunity, grabbed it.”
Through an associate of Coleman’s and a former teammate, Williams now has the opportunity to visit and network with some influential members of the US basketball community.
He’s planning to head to the United States in January to take advantage of these opportunities and to spread the word about his innovative basketball training system – and has an opportunity to spend time with a professional team in Australia as well.
“Everyone is beginning to see the value in it and are keen to be attached to it.”
The I WILL system is based on five pillars – movement, mind, morality, exposure and education.
A central aspect of the programme is a focus on detail and skill in relation to the five pillars.
He is developing the I WILL BASKETBALL framework and testing it at his former school, Southland Boys’ High School, and through the Eastern Southland Basketball Association.
He was able to warm up to pitch his programme when he presented to United States Ambassador Scott Brown during his visit in September.
“That’s really given me confidence, because an opportunity like that doesn’t come along too often.”
Williams is using his at-times tough upbringing as inspiration for work with young people in a sporting arena – to show there is light at the end of every tunnel.
“If I didn’t have sport, I don’t know where I’d be. It gave me an outlet, an avenue and a pathway out of turmoil.”
Williams credits the accelerator programme for helping him with his tone of presentation, and working on his professionalism in communicating the I WILL programme and philosophies.
His longer-term vision is to develop and establish a new schooling model in New Zealand, with the foundation being the five pillars.
He admits it’s a bold idea, but is a big believer in sport being able to break down any and every barrier.
“What we’re trying to do is to develop character, provide a pathway and the essential tools required to navigate life,” he says.