Coach Dominique Nelson: Taking Ownership
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Coach Dominique Nelson desires his athletes to take ownership in everything that they do. Coach Nelson has been coaching for almost 15 years, on multiple different levels. He started off as the student manager for the Women’s Basketball Team at Tennessee State University.
During this time, he was in charge of many of the day-to-day operations of the team. For instance, making sure that hotels were booked, meals were being ordered, and so on. Ultimately, he was responsible for making sure that everything happened in a timely manner. Coach Nelson was also blessed to have an internship with the Chicago Sky and Attack Athletics. During his internship at Attack Athletics, Tim Grover told him,
I will never ask you to do something that I am not willing to have as part of my brand and training facility.
This reassurance and advice have stuck with Coach Nelson throughout his coaching career.
After finishing the graduate program at Tennessee State, he moved on to become an Assistant women’s Basketball Coach at Roosevelt University in Chicago. After serving one year at Roosevelt he accepted an assistant coaching position at Calumet High School. During his first year there, he noticed the absence of a strong team culture. This school was in the middle of a low-income area, and many of the kids there seemed to show a lack of hope. In his second year at the school, Coach Nelson was promoted to the Head Coach. His goal was to change the culture and help build a winning program.
We went from winning 6 games the previous year, to wining 12, to winning 17.
How was Coach Nelson able to change the culture and help build a winning program? Through helping his athletes take ownership in everything they do: on the court, in their career, and within their community.
All In Takeaway #1: Taking Ownership on the Court
Coming into the program, many of the athletes did not believe that the team had a real chance to be anything special. One of Coach Nelson’s key roles was helping them believe in themselves and their abilities on the court. Once he was able to create that spark within the team, each athlete was able to take ownership in their role on the court. This belief helped them make 4 straight sectional championship appearances and enjoy much on-the-court success.
All In Takeaway #2: Taking Ownership in their Career
Coach Nelson constantly encouraged his athletes to think about their future career, outside the game of basketball. Besides, what good is success on the court if it does not lead to helping them grow within their future professions? Coach Nelson primarily wants his athletes to think about going to college or starting their own business. However, Coach Nelson ultimately wants his athletes take ownership in thinking about what they want to do professionally, beyond the game of basketball.
All In Takeaway #3: Taking Ownership within their Community
Come outside of yourself.
Coach Nelson wanted his team to understand that some things they do are bigger than themselves. Coach Nelson’s teams do a lot of community service. For him, it is all about creating the servitude mindset. Even though many of his athletes did not have much themselves, he always encouraged them to give back to their community. This is one of the many ways he was able to bring the team closer together. Coaches, encourage your athletes to give back and take ownership within their community.
Coach Nelson just accepted a coaching job to be the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Trinity Christian College. As Coach Nelson prepares for the 2022-23 season, it will be exciting to see how allowing their athletes to take ownership, contributes to the overall success of the team throughout the season! Go Trinity!
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