Welcome to the first in a series of articles that we’d like to share with you, exploring the wonderful colour, character and commitment of the people who are POWER ASSIST.  As a voluntary organisation that’s provided a weekly basketball competition on Friday nights for over 36 years, it’s the people who give their time and love to help us succeed that are of paramount importance.

Joel Paull is a 33 year old who’s been involved with our Friday night basketball for nearly 20 years.  Joel started playing for a Rossbourne team but he only got 1 game in before he suffered a significant health problem which has prevented him from ever playing sport.  Joel’s sports teacher, Peter Corr, can be credited with igniting a passion in Joel to give back to a sport that he had quickly developed a love for.  Joel became a coach of his team, and with Peter’s support he learnt what was required to coach a group of his peers.

Our long term volunteers often reflect that once bitten they have come every Friday night to help.  This is also Joel’s story – 18 years later his passion and commitment to the competition and his team members is amazing, and we see it every Friday night.

Two things we have noticed about Joel. Firstly, he is always smiling, always happy and very polite.  Joel has a great sense of happiness and enjoyment of life and he encourages his players to always remember why these attributes are important.  Secondly, he’s always thinking about how to improve – his coaching / messages to the players, identifying opportunities for others, how Division 2 can be stronger.  Joel has coached Division 2 teams for most of his coaching years. In 2019 Joel was the second person to ever receive the Division 2 “David McFarlane” Award.  This award reflects the nature and contribution of our inaugural Board Chairman who valued fair play and equality, and demonstrated great leadership and commitment.  David would have been very pleased to see Joel as the recipient of this award, knowing that Joel was also making a difference in the lives of many young basketballers and that he attended each and every week with a smile and encouragement for all, and an ability to balance out a sense of fun with on court achievement.  All things David highly regarded.

Joel’s partner, Belinda, told us that Friday Night Basketball is locked in to their calendar, and they always arrive early to the stadium and get the teams sorted out.  Belinda, now a willing assistant (coach, scorer, uniform designer, washer, team manager and strategist), says that being given the opportunity to coach a Championship Division team last year was a significant achievement for Joel, and he was proud that others trusted him to take on and perform at this higher level.  But he didn’t want to give away his beloved Division 2 team.

So we floated the idea with Joel, that he could run a Championship / Division 2 pathway for his team members.  Two teams to coach instead of one (although he had been coaching two Division 2 teams for a few seasons already).  Joel was all for the pathway idea and he has worked super hard to get the right players into the right division, ensuring there is sufficient challenge AND opportunity for each of his 12 players.

Like all coaches, Joel likes to win, but it’s the friends that he has made over the years that come to mind when asked what he enjoys most about coaching.  Joel further shared with us – “It’s personally rewarding, seeing people succeed and achieve their goals.  I value my players and their insights while continuing to grow as a coach”.

Joel and Belinda have designed a new uniform that Storm and Raiders players can wear, meaning each player can keep their number regardless of which team they are playing in.  And we have already seen players moving on the pathway – up and down.

Recently due to a game scheduling conflict, both of Joel’s teams were playing at the same time.  Not to be phased, Joel raced from one court to the other, managing subs, time out and half time chats, ably assisted by Belinda.

Joel’s advice for anyone thinking about a coaching job – “Have a go.  You need to be passionate about it, and keep in mind that it’s a big commitment.  You must be willing to show up every Friday because people depend on you.  It’s important to be enthusiastic, patient and be a good communicator.  Most importantly though – it’s important to have fun!”