Colorado Student-Athlete Spotlight: Chelsea Dale
February 02, 2011
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
There's no 'I' in team. Well, there's no 'I' in Chelsea Dale either.
Dale, a senior guard from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., is in her fourth season at Colorado, and as a Division I athlete she believes that "you must put your time in and one day it will be good."
"My family has always told me, 'You're not a quitter; we didn't raise a quitter,'" Dale said.
Dale's senior year started off on the wrong foot due to the fact that she had to sit out the first nine contests because of academic issues, but she's now experiencing that she has put in her time and this is the season that "it will be good."
In her past three years, she had seen action in 46 games, logging 189 career minutes. After 10 games this season, she has started four times and played a whopping 228 minutes.
Numbers aren't Dale's main focus. She knows her role on the team and that isn't it.
"The whole sitting out thing-I've done that for the past three years, so I've learned how to take in the game," Dale said. "Whereas some people may slump around about it, I've learned how to read the game and see if there's something I see and can help them out with."
Dale's character helps her to be a vital role to the team no matter if she's on the hardwood or watching from the sideline.
"I have definitely dedicated myself to basketball and this school," Dale said. "I'll score when I need to, or at least I should, but I know that's not my job. My job is more of a morale booster and getting my team into it."
Dale is averaging 5.1 points per game and leads the team in free throw shooting percentage (.846). Despite her opinion of her individual role on the team this season, head coach Linda Lappe relies on her consistency on the court.
"Chelsea is an outside shooting threat that opposing teams have to respect," Lappe said. "She helps our tempo offensively and is a smart player defensively."
This season marks Lappe's first as head coach at Colorado. Although the two have worked together for no more than a year, Dale said she has "never learned so much from a head coach."
Coaching is a future goal of Dale's, and Lappe's approach is something that has already influenced her.
"After every practice, I go home and write down any new plans that we do or drills that we do because I want to take those and use them for when I'm coaching," Dale said.
Dale was given an opportunity last summer to coach an eighth grade girls basketball club team based in the Denver metro area. She went into the interview thinking she was applying for an assistant coaching position, but later when she was told she not only got the job, but also would be coaching her own team, she said she "was so excited."
It didn't take long for Dale to realize that coaching was something she was pretty good at after her team won the very first tournament they participated in.
"It was probably something I'll never forget," said Dale. "The emotion that I got seeing my girls out there doing things that I taught them."
Dale used a 'fundamentals only' approach to coaching her team.
She used to tell her players that they "need[ed] to learn fundamentals and then they would beat teams with just fundamentals."
Her approach paid off since her team was the only team in her program to win its first tournament.
"She has the makings of a good coach in that she genuinely cares about kids, can think the game and is learning how to also teach the game," Lappe said.
Whether Dale is on the sideline as a coach or on the sideline temporarily as a player, one thing is for sure, she completely supports the players on the court.