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Since June 2021 the Suns have started a basketball programme at the Nexus Foundation Special School in Tonbridge. We asked Coach Nauris to give us an insight into the sessions and to talk about his experience with the kids.

COACH NAURIS: "I have recently started coaching sessions at The Nexus School, an ambitious school for kids facing profound and complex challenges. This has been a challenge for me too because it is my first time. Working with kids with such significant needs. It has also been a great deal of fun because the kids are so enthusiastic and try so hard. The school has high expectations for its students and strives to help them become resilient individuals able to make positive life choices. In my basketball sessions, I strive to support the school in pursuing these goals. In particular, I try to help the kids develop confidence in their ability to learn new skills and face new situations and demands.

We have several 45-minute sessions, each with 6-12 kids. Often these groups include kids with a wide range of abilities. Crafting a schedule for such diverse groups is a challenge, but we are finding that we can structure sessions in a way that allows the kids to have a lot of fun and get active, all while presenting physical and mental challenges appropriate to each kid. For instance, any skill drills can be structured as races. Kids love races, so these drills automatically become fun. However, they also become social situations that require kids to work as a group, support each other and deal with a certain amount of social pressure. Also, they have to deal with a small measure of success and failure. Thus, even simple drills like a dribble race can be a place to learn some real-life lessons.

At least a third of each session is usually devoted to playing matches. We have such fun with this! But again, this is a great opportunity for the kids to learn to work as a group and to cooperate with others. AS a coach, I am learning so much from these kids. I hope they can learn as much from me!."

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