March 3, 2014
From running practice and coaching on the hardwood to impacting young lives, two basketball coaches are making a difference for local 5th and 6th grade girls. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell has more on a pair of coaches who volunteer for a Christian basketball league and they also happen to be brothers.
Brothers Derek and Mark Leach spend several days a month with the girls on team Mercury. They're all a part of the Christian league in Central Virginia called Upward.
"We love this league. This league is an instructional league. We all love to win. The coaches love to win. The girls love to win, but it's important we think to give back to the community and give these girls a chance to have a fun and safe place to play," said Derek Leach, Assistant Coach, Mercury Basketball Team.
Derek and his brother Mark stay pretty busy running through drills and preparing for games with the team from December until March.
"My Saturday's are pretty full and start at about 8:00am and I'm either coaching or refereeing games to mid-afternoon. It's a big time commitment, but it's a great commitment that we enjoy doing as coaches and volunteers," said Mark Leach, Coach, Mercury Basketball Team.
The young players say their coaches are making them better on and off the court.
"They're always helping us be better players and they're always teaching us that we need to have good sportsmanship and help the other players," said Alayna Spence, Basketball Player.
With these coaches, the focus isn't always on winning the game.
They always make time during practice to simply sit down and talk with the girls, offer support and be the there as positive male role models.
"We always have little sessions in the middle of practice and they talk to us about different things we can use in life and that's really helped me," said Riley Davis, Basketball Player.
Players and parents call the coaches heroes for their willingness to give back.
However, the brothers say it's a group effort and they couldn't do this without help.
"Certainly the other coaches and all the volunteers. It takes hundreds of volunteers to make this league work. I think as a team effort we're all making a difference in the community, Mark Leach.