For Paul Legler, basketball has always been a part of his life. He started playing as a kid, and didn’t stop until an injury sidelined him for a year during high school. Looking for a way to keep his competitive fire stoked, and to stay close to basketball, one of his coaches set him up coaching younger players.

Paul was hooked. Coaching basketball was about more than the sport, it was to give back, “a way to teach discipline and hard work, which carries over into life for these kids.” It also has the added benefit as a stress relief for Paul. “I have a pretty stressful major – electrical engineering and computer science – so working with kids really helps me basically not go crazy.”

As fun as it is, coaching 3rd graders isn’t always a walk in the park. In Paul’s first season with Coaching Corps he started as an assistant coach, and the head coach was the father of a player on the team. “When I first got there, his dad was really hard on him, and I know it’s hard to coach your own kid. He was probably our best player, but he was always hanging his head.” Paul recognized that while the dad’s heart was in the right place, he didn’t have the tools to bring out the best in his son. Paul used his Coaching Corps training to sit down with the kid and talk about what was bothering him, and help him gain more confidence. Paul also spoke with the dad about focusing on positive encouragement.

“There was an instant change. He stopped hanging his head, he started playing better, he stopped arguing with the refs. His whole attitude changed.”

The Coaching Corps training gave Paul the understanding and confidence to make a real difference in his players lives, and he plans to continue making a difference now that he is a Senior, and once he graduates.

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