Player development: it is imbedded in the core of netball at the North-West University (NWU), and if there is a more enthusiastic proponent of this than Lucy Twani, this person will be hard to find.
Lucy is the high-performance netball coach for the junior teams at the Potchefstroom Campus, and it is because of this 27-year-old’s dedication to unearthing and developing netball talent that the NWU is one of the netball hubs in the country.
The articulate, quick-witted Lucy was born in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and called the Eastern Cape home until the opportunity to coach at the NWU beckoned.
It was at the NWU that she found her niche.
“I have learned so much in terms of what you do to develop players to get them to a high-performance level. The development of a player is not only about what you do on the court, but requires a more holistic approach. It is about their personal growth, their professional growth and even social aspects of their development. It is more than just about netball,” she explains.
One of the fundamental goals of NWU Netball is the identification and development of talent in rural communities.
“I think netball is a sport that is very inclusive. Netball South Africa (NSA) talks about taking netball back to the people, so it is important for us as a university to tap into those spaces. Many of those learners are sometimes not even privileged enough to know that they can get into university. So, it is important for us to reach out to them and include them in the system to make sure that they get the same opportunities. Identifying players from so-called smaller schools and taking them to a high-performance level is something I think we can be really proud of as a university,” she says, adding: “We have been part of numerous community engagement initiatives where we conduct netball clinics and we have even been to schools that do not have netball courts. We invite these girls to our facilities to have engagement sessions and have our players train and interact with them. It is one of the ways we are sharing our skills with them.”
She may be a thousand kilometres away from where she was born, but Nolusindiso Lucy Twani is right at home.
“The NWU speaks to my personal values. It means being a family and playing for each other. It also means we have each other’s backs, no matter what.”
Because, at NWU Netball, the prevailing ethos is one of “teamwork, commitment and backing each other through and through”.
If the NWU’s triumphs on netball courts are a barometer of the success of this philosophy, one would be wise to imitate it