Destine Kawaka
Destine KawakaPOSTED: October 15, 2016
“When Zach kept constantly asking me to train with him for free at LA Fitness, I thought, “hmmmm why does he want me to train with him so bad?” Eventually I decided to give in and give him a chance to see what all the hype was about. I was so sore after the first two full weeks of training – I could barely move. But it was at that moment I realized the seriousness of the matter; I believed it was the start of something new. It took me a while at first to understand the process. His entire program was grueling and difficult, but I knew “no pain, no gain” so I stuck to it. After just the first month, I started realizing the crazy results he was promising. Jumping higher than ever before and completing dunks I could only dream of one day doing (already had a nice 32 inch vert, now I’m almost certain it’s 39 or 40 inches!), confidence in handling the ball anywhere on the court, moving quicker laterally on defense, becoming more physical around the basket, and shooting it without any doubt or hesitation most importantly. That’s when we both came to the conclusion that, “that Boi up to something”. After two months of training with Zach, he told me we’re going to start doing two-a-days, add in 60 flights of stair running/hopping every Wednesday afternoon (3,600 total steps), and play at an open gym on Thursday’s at 5:30am!!!!! At first I said “oh, you are out of your mind sir, I’m not doing all that!” because I thought it was too much. But Zach encouraged me it would all be worth it. I also thought about everyone else out in the world who has hoop dreams like me, they say, “there is always someone out there working harder than you.” With that in mind and Zach’s push, I was sold. I figured why stop now? Throughout the entire program Zach kept telling me, “you think all of this is hard??? Pshhh you ain’t seen nothing yet my friend! Just wait until I introduce you to the guy who used to train me!” His trainers’ nickname is ‘Ol’ Skool’, so all I kept hearing from Zach until I met the guy was “Ol’ Skool this, Ol’ Skool that, Ol’ Skool will get you right!” This is when the weight training and mental aspect got bumped to a whole ‘nother level! Ol’ Skool is a former Marine, so he had us doing some crazy ish!!! I’m talking incline benching 135 12x, then dropping immediately to the ground to do pushups for a minute! Squatting 225 12x, do one minute burpees, then going on the treadmill immediatley after all that to sprint on a full incline for a mile smh….. The first thing Ol’ Skool told me to do, as a mentor and former coach himself, was to start contacting UW about getting a scholarship to play football and walk on to the basketball team. Become a two-sport athlete. Contact other D1, D2, and NAIA schools too as a plan B in case UW falls through… I was stunned when he brought up the whole UW two-sport athlete scenario! I didn’t think it was possible because I was used to just being a role player at Edmonds Community College. My coaches at Edmonds CC said, “you could walk on anywhere, but you wouldn’t play much.” So that doubt in my TRUE ability was already ingrained in me. Zach and Ol’ Skool were able to remove that doubt from my head! What separates Zach’s training from any other workouts I’ve done with school teams or friends is the way he organizes and separates the basketball workouts and lifts into days. Certain days we work on a certain drill built to train one aspect of my game, another on another day. Lifting for certain parts of the body one day, others on another. It’s staggered in an orderly fashion. Drills were fun because of the competitive spirit, and his equipment is nice. I had fun hanging out and eating all types of smackables, and downing all kinds of drinkables too. The Aircast icing mechanism he’s got, Isopure protein and amino acid supplements, what more can I say… I lived any athletes dream training with Zach! While training with Zach, lots of people constantly asked me to play for their team. AAPBA, Puget Sound League, ZoLeague, Zeke-End, other weekend tournaments, Seattle Mountaineers, and even teams from the Seattle Pro/Am. Name any league or tourney in the Seattle area, and I bet someone other than Zach asked me to play lol. I only play for Zach’s Christian Faith teams because of Zach. He’s a man of faith like I am, and I share his vision in playing the game I love for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the free training that has made me the player I am today, he treats his players with respect, and makes them feel wanted in his program. We’ve bonded in a way that only God could have orchestrated, and he’s become like a brother to me. I’m behind him 100% in what he’s doing. The vision he has for his club is so huge people don’t realize it. Christian Faith until I die. That’s 100. Lastly, If you are reading this expecting to hit up Zach for some free training and get the results I got overnight, THINK AGAIN! You need to buy in completely to Zach, and he’s not going to accept any sorry excuses in regards to fatigue and being sore! Forget about all you know or think you know. Be a sponge and listen to everything he says. Be open to criticism because it’s all constructive; he wants you to make progress in your game and will speak up if you’re not doing a drill or lift correctly. If you do this, you will get the results you want, I can promise that!
Kiante Woods
Kiante WoodsPOSTED: November 21, 2017
“I have probably known Zach longer than anyone else that has played for one of his teams (6 years). Seeing the progress he’s made physically, spiritually, and professionally since the day I first met him is beyond words. I remember when he first told me about his vision for the Christian Faith Pro/Am travel team 2 years ago after the Seattle Mountaineers offered him a game, and how he planned to grow the program each and every year. I was a part of that vision ; he’s wanted me to be his starting PG since day 1. “Why me?” is a question I still often ask Zach when there are other PG’s just as good if not better than me that he can pick up. At the time, his vision seemed like a huge stretch… One of those that sounds great, but also seems too good to be true. But that’s why I always kept in contact with him and played for his recreational teams just in case something huge were to develop. Since then, Christian Faith has grown so fast that it’s almost hard to comprehend… The team has gone from a 13 game season last year while I was playing for Everett Community College to a possible 50 game season this year in my first season being the starting PG for his team. This vision he’s got is clearly God-ordained judging by the confidence he’s showed in it from the beginning, and it’s something no man can take away from him! Zach’s Christian Faith Basketball Club has blessed so many lives with an opportunity to continue playing competitive organized basketball at a really high level year round! We are vastly growing into a power house to be reckoned with at any level of play. Everything happens for a reason; either a lesson or a blessing! Zach has told me hundreds of times over the years to stop ‘wasting’ my time hooping with scrubs daily, and to train with him full time instead. At first I was like “Okay, maybe he got a point, but Ima keep getting shots up on these bums and work on my craft…” Once I finally gave in and started training with Zach full time for a month straight this past summer, I immediately started seeing drastic changes in my game. Improved first step quickness, constant wet balls, higher vertical, more stamina, and a stronger overall physique. I had never felt so great on the basketball court in my life! Zach’s knowledge for the game is much higher than a lot of people may assume. I refer people to train with Zach only if they are really ’bout it. Because a lot of people say they are ready to train, then they will quit for all sorts of reasons the next week. His training is a combination of many professional workouts that pro and D1 college athletes often do, and his entire regimen is very rigorous. Idk how he does it sometimes… Zach has also boosted my IQ, and helped me grow mentally as a player in many ways through his training. He’s helped me understand as a PG when it’s time to take over a game, when is the proper time to do certain combo moves versus when I should keep it simple and go to the rack, when I should get other guys involved, and if I need to get a specific player a touch and how to do that effectively. Basically, he’s taught me there’s a time and place for every aspect of one’s game when on the court which is why he teaches the same things to everyone he trains regardless of position. That way nobody has a weak link since we’re all trying to perfect every aspect of one’s game. He’s put me in a position where I can learn the game of basketball 24/7 simply by committing myself to the Christian Faith Basketball Club year round. I love playing for Christian Faith teams because Zach’s Christian Faith teams are a mixture of the best players around the Seattle area. It is fun to play with selfless players that know the game, know how to play team basketball, and will do anything including coming off the bench to win. Whenever I get invited to play for any team in a rec league or tournament, I always call Zach to see if he thinks it’s a good idea or if he has anything going on around the same time. I choose to play on Christian Faith teams due to the fact that I have another opportunity to prove others wrong about the talent that Christian Faith as an organization can put forth, and to be a part of the vision Zach shared with me 2 years ago. Sometimes Zach will put his headphones on while I pick him up to listen to his worship music, tone out the world, and establish an inner peace of mind just for a training session lol. When he does that, I know not to talk to him much because he’s in his zone, is all about business, and wants nothing to do with the world. He also at times gets so mad about people not focusing on the specifics of an exercise or a drill to where he will cut you off and just do it himself and shout “You see! That’s how it’s done!!! This ain’t ****** rocket science people!!!” And it makes me laugh really hard every time haha. But the reason he does that is because he cares so much about the progress of the people he trains that he doesn’t want anyone to waste time goofing off during a drill. He wants everyone to perfect the craft, then practice doing it at game speed. He wouldn’t care about your progress if he never were to speak on anything and tell you to do things a certain way so many times, so I’ve grown to accept all of his constructive criticism and keep a level head when he has a spontaneous outburst. Sometimes he also gets extremely frustrated when guys don’t show up to the games on time, or will cancel on him the day of a game which leaves us with 5-7 players at tip off time. But we pull through with a win in most cases anyway due to team basketball! I love it when that happens because I can rub it in and talk a little smack to him after. Then there are other times where the tables are turned… He listens to his worship before a game to tune out the world, and everyone will ask “Where’s Kelly? Jerry gonna make it? Is David on his way? So no Shedrick or Norm again tonight or what?” and he’ll just be like “Focus on the players that are present and that we have to work with.” Lol. More times than not we end up winning those games too, then he’ll try to say “See what happens when you play with what you got instead of worrying about what you can’t control?!?” And I’ll just say “whatever, you know deep down inside you was panicking a little bit” with a smile on my face haha.
Jacob Caldwell
Jacob CaldwellPOSTED: December 14, 2017
Before I met Zach, the only times I would play basketball was in a local men’s league and occasionally some pickup at the Shoreline YMCA. Two years ago I seen a very well organized team warming up in the ZoLeague. They were running through organized UCLA-style layup lines you’d usually only see at the college or pro level while also throwing lobs and performing dunks. There was a photographer taking pictures at all of their games. I wanted to be a part of the live action, so I asked if I could hop in the layup line real quick. I threw one to myself off glass and Zach and his players all showed love. That moment was when I wanted to be apart of the Christian Faith Basketball Club in some capacity going forward – they were the team I wanted to play with. I wasn’t training or working on my game at all until I met Zach. I would go shoot around by myself or play pickup but that was it. Zach was honest with me from the start about the type of player he envisioned me becoming in his teams system, what I needed to work on to improve in those said areas, and was very adamant about being in the gym on a consistent basis. So I started training with him at LA Fitness multiple times a week as he’d get me in for free with his guest privileges. We lifted weights, did resistance training on the court and treadmill, agility ladders, resistance jump trainer similar to Vertimax, was in the gym doing skill work (ball handling, shooting drills, post moves, takes to the rack while being hit with a pad, and form shooting and passing with a heavy ball). He also added in a weekly 3,600 step stair workout and a weekly hill workout later on. I’m often on Instagram looking at NBA player training routines… Sometimes I come across a workout a well known NBA player is doing and I’ll send it to Zach letting him know that his knowledge for the game and basketball training is NBA caliber. Basically encouraging him to keep doing what he’s doing while also letting him know he’s a basketball training expert. Zach is very disciplined and great at motivating others giving them that extra push that we all need to elevate our game. He doesn’t accept any excuses when it comes to being sore, and he does a great job of leading his players by example on the court in addition to his training sessions. I enjoy playing basketball with Zach because he always plays hard, is very passionate about the game, has great vision, always looks to make the best play available, is great at encouraging and motivating his players during games, and has a high basketball IQ. I love playing with the Christian Faith organization because it’s managed very well by Zach, the players he recruits are all very talented and know how to play the right way, most of us grind together in the gym on a regular basis which develops a family atmosphere, and the schedule he puts together for us is very competitive. Who else is out there creating a 40+ game schedule participating in multiple tournaments and playing against the best prep schools, colleges, club teams, and ABA teams all along the I-5 corridor? And a scrimmage game versus the WNBA’s Seattle Storm this past April? You can’t beat it, and I am blessed to be apart of it.
Anthony Little
Anthony LittlePOSTED: January 26, 2018
A year ago I was living with a family in Marysville. I was sleeping on the floor in a corner in their dining room. Life was miserable and I literally felt homeless at times. I was seriously contemplating retiring from all things related to basketball… Zach was one of very few people who’d often check up on me to see if I was ok and if I needed a ride to practice; he made me feel accepted and loved while I was at one of the darkest points in my life. Zach would often throw out the idea of having me move in with him at his Mom’s in Lynnwood so I could be in a more stable living environment and we could train together. Zach saw something in me as a person and a player I didn’t think I had anymore. Eventually I contacted him about moving in because the Marysville situation was beginning to be way too much for me, and I just simply wanted to be happy again… Zach’s Mom and Caleb & Hannah welcomed me into their home with open arms. They always showed me love, and were just an awesome family to be around throughout the 6 months I was living there. Zach was very aggressive in his approach to try to get me to train with him while I was his roommate. I trained with Chauncey Billups’ uncle in Tacoma growing up, so when Zach asked me to train with him, I thought he was being funny and didn’t feel as if I’d truly gain anything from it. I’d always try to ignore that question with him… But he touched my heart once I realized his dream and vision for the Christian Faith Basketball Club. It was at that moment I realized I needed to somehow create time to work with him in order to fellowship with the guys as well as better myself as a player. I learned many things from Zach’s training… Every day we worked on a different aspect of our game, and he always explains how his drills and conditioning directly correlates to how we’d use them in games. He took me to these stairs in Mill Creek this past summer for a 3,600 step workout… I went expecting it would be a cakewalk, but then when I saw firsthand the intensity of the workout and how he be doing 1,200 bunny hop steps and 1,200 single leg steps in addition to the 1,200 sprints, I thought he was out of his mind! He was making it look easy while wearing his strength shoes, and there I was huffing and puffing just trying to keep from puking… I gained a lot more respect for what he was standing for once I experienced his grind for myself. His IQ, knowledge, and passion for the game and helping others was very surprising to me. The most important thing I learned from Zach was don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do anything – because all things are possible with God on your side. I was one of those guys who used to try to talk him into charging people for his training because it irritated me seeing him give out his personable training and abundant knowledge for the game while getting nothing in return. What really threw me off was how he’d always respond to me: He’d always say “I don’t think that’s what God wants me to do right now…” with a peaceful tone and a smile on his face. It baffled me every time I heard him utter such words in a calm manner. The faith he has in God combined with his passion for giving back to the hoop community is truly inspiring. Eventually I realized that everyone’s motivation for doing something is different and what he sees may not be what you see. So while the public thinks he’s giving away free training and people are taking advantage of him because money ain’t involved, he’s actually giving back to better another person and fellowship with them while bettering himself and his network in return. I love playing with Zach’s CF teams because he has an eye for what would make a real strong team on and off the court, and he’s gifted at getting guys from all over the greater Seattle area to come fellowship through his training in order to make a fun successful team. We are like a band of brothers. Zach has touched my life in a special way that only God could have orchestrated. He and Caleb have become brothers to me, and their Mom is one of the best Mom’s if not the best that I’ve ever come across. I appreciate everything Zach and his family did for me, and the opportunity they gave me to get my life back on track. They will forever have a special place in my heart.