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Basketball: Arly Ohm brings life lessons to Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton

Arly Ohm talks gratitude, Bueckers injury and moving forward at ‘Wahpper’ league in Wahpeton last week.

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Arly Ohm returned to his roots to coach "The Wahpper," a 3-on-3 basketball night on Aug. 15, 2022 at Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton, ND.
Contributed / Robert Wanek Jr. / Daily News
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Editor's note: This was written by Robert Wanek Jr. of the Daily News in Breckenridge, and was contributed to the Perham Focus.

It was a cool evening Monday, Aug. 15, for some hot shooting by the “Wahpper” 3-on-3 basketball players at Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton. Week three of the youth instructional league was led by former Breckenridge basketball coach and 2021 Best of the Valley “Best Teacher” Arly Ohm, who shared wisdom and work ethic with the young hoopers in attendance.

Ohm began the session by introducing a dribbling drill he brought home with him from a visit to the University of Florida. Throughout his storied career, Ohm has visited countless colleges and learned firsthand from the likes of Mike Krzyzewski, Duke, and Eric Musselman, Arkansas, using those encounters to soak up knowledge of the game and bring it back to the Twin Towns Area.

“Unseen hours. How hard are you working in the unseen hours?” Ohm asked the group of attentive kids. “It doesn’t have to be in a gym. If you do one drill, at NBA timing, for one minute a day — do you think your ball handling will improve? Absolutely.”

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Arly Ohm returned to his roots to coach "The Wahpper," a 3-on-3 basketball night on Aug. 15, 2022 at Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton, ND.
Contributed / Robert Wanek Jr. / Daily News

Former Hopkins, Minnesota, high school basketball star Paige Bueckers was a topic of discussion. Bueckers, the Naismith High School Player of the Year in 2020 and the Naismith Trophy Winner at UCONN in 2021, suffered a torn ACL in her left knee during a pick-up basketball game two weeks ago.

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Players like Bueckers, Ohm said, have a unique ability to respond to injuries and adversity, adding that the greats respond to negative events by looking forward and putting the past behind them.

“We always want to look out the windshield. We don’t want to look in the rearview mirror. The rear view is smaller, isn’t it? Which way is it facing? Backwards. Why would we look backwards?,” Ohm asked the inquisitive athletes.

Ohm laid out real world examples of using “Effort + Response = Outcome” to succeed in sports and life. His no shortcuts, no laziness approach stretched beyond the hardwood.

“When a referee makes a bad call, that’s an event. If you freak out, do you think the outcome will be very good? When mom and dad tell you to do your homework, that’s the event. If you don’t do your homework … that was your response. Do you think the outcome will be good?”

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Arly Ohm returned to his roots to coach "The Wahpper," a 3-on-3 basketball night on Aug. 15, 2022 at Chahinkapa Park in Wahpeton, ND.
Contributed / Robert Wanek Jr. / Daily News

A flier provided by Ohm to the athletes read as follows, “We all have events in our lives … Some are good and some are not so good. The bottom line is we have no control over these. What we do have complete control over is our response! How we choose to respond to daily events is entirely up to us. Many times, our future outcomes are a direct result of our response.”

The two-time section champion basketball coach and Babe Ruth Baseball Hall of Famer emphasized “teammate touches,” meaning high fives, fist bumps, pointing to the passer and clapping when fellow players make a basket. Ohm gave out dozens of high fives during his 20-minute session, making teamwork a priority by setting the example.

Ohm, now an educator in Perham, Minnesota, shared his key word for the night — “kaizen” — which means “continuous improvement.”

“My goal for you is to have an attitude of gratitude,” Ohm said. “Next time you get in your car and you look out that windshield, it’s big because you are looking forward. Just like where you’re at with basketball now, looking at how you can get better. Keep practicing the things that Tylee (Irwin), Coach (Brian) Watson and myself taught you.”

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