UW Health Sports Medicine 
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With the season underway, Wisconsin softball head coach Yvette Healy talks about what the team is focusing on in the bye week and how the team must use some fight moving forward. 

Let's get better.

We're so fortunate at the University of Wisconsin, to have an Athletics Director who has coached.  Coach Alvarez not only understands how to run a highly successful athletics department, but he's been in the coaching trenches.  With his big Outback Bowl comeback win in January, he actually just climbed out of the trenches once again.  Coach knows what it's like to build a program from the ground up, to transform the culture, and to create a winning legacy.  It's never a straight climb, and the journey is never easy.  After two challenging weekends on the road, we invited Coach Alvarez to practice, to share a few insights into becoming a legacy program.  The bottom line, Coach talked about the importance of getting better every day. 

We have a bye this weekend, and it couldn't come at a better time.  We're 5-6 right now, after coming home with four wins from a weekend in Texas.  Yet with a young squad like we have, it's all about progress.  We're seeing a few bright moments, with freshman pitcher Mariah Watts earning her first victory, and junior pitcher, Taylor Stewart racking up two wins, but all-in-all, we have a lot of work to do.  Our focus this week has been on getting our heads in the right place, getting back to fundamentals, and just working hard.  We've talked all year about, "What are you Fighting For?"  The interesting thing is, when you struggle and lose a few games, fight is the first thing that starts to fade.  Before you ever drop a game, you lose a little bit of fight in your preparation, you lose some fight in your response to adversity, and you forget how to fight when it comes to putting in extra work, getting extra sprints, watching your film and meeting with your coaches.

"What are you Fighting For/WRUF4", is about being passionate about earning something together.  Before the season began, most of the team talked about fighting for the Badgers, fighting for the state of Wisconsin, fighting to create a legacy.  The interesting thing about fighting, is that it never happens.  People rarely fight.  People avoid confrontation.  We read a great article as a team from Psychology Today magazine, called, "Beyond Happiness".  The author suggests that anger isn't a negative emotion, it actually fuels change, and prompts people to stand up for the life they deserve.

The absence of fighting does not equal a healthy environment.  We all know families, marriages, relationships and friendships where people never fight, those aren't always the healthiest environments.  The opposite of love isn't hate, its indifference.  That, is the greatest problem of all.  Apathy, and not really caring what happens, and not really feeling motivated to do anything or change anything is the greatest failure of all.

What we are looking for right now, is a little bit of true passion.  We want people to be angry, to have an emotional response, and to fight to get better.  If you just ignore a problem, it's not solved, it's just lying under the surface.  If you are okay with being a below .500 team, just ignore what's not working and smile and keep doing what you're doing.  If you refuse to lose, and you refuse to be the athlete, or team that we are right now, let's get angry about it.  Let's get a little fire, and feel the urgency.  It's not an option to just go through motions, and show up.  FIGHT!

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Badger Blog with Coach Healy

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It was a short turnaround after opening weekend at Arizona State.  We're back on the road, traveling Wednesday, to play six games this weekend in Texas.  I think everyone on the team is anxious to get back out on the field.  Opening weekend was tough, as we faced a full weekend of very talented teams.  We were happy to see freshman pitcher Annie Davis, get her first collegiate win in front of her hometown Arizona Crowd.  She pitched a beautiful shutout against Virginia, showing a lot of composure and maturity in the circle.  Freshman walk-on Brianna Flugaur had her first collegiate hit and run scored against Oregon on Sunday, which was fun to witness.

Beyond the excitement of great weather, and all the key learnings that come from getting outdoors for the first time, the highlight of weekend was definitely our team dinner at Wisconsin Alumni and donors, Steve and Marsh Bennett.  Below is the thank you note we sent to the Bennett's.  What an unforgettable experience for our student-athletes.

Steve and Marsha,
Thank you so much for your generosity and hospitality, hosting the Wisconsin Softball team at your house.  It was such a treat to see Scottsdale, and the mountains. These early trips are so much about team unity and bonding. Your home was the perfect setting for a team meal.

The girls were so impressed with your home, your inspirational success story and your Wisconsin athletics family legacy. Yet the most inspirational part of the night was having you share your story of stewardship. Everyone loves hearing how you went from a Wisconsin baseball walk-on to Hall of Fame athlete and CEO. Still, your vision and generosity for the Wisconsin Student-Athlete Performance Center is what touched their hearts.

When I think about what three things I accomplished opening weekend, bringing the softball team to your house is at the top of my list. You helped open their eyes to a world of possibility, of what amazing things they can achieve with their Wisconsin student-athlete experience.

Thank you again for your generosity and kindness! 

Nurse's Notes: Hello from Mankato

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First things first, we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who met us at Vilas Park a few weeks ago and participated in skate with the Badgers. We hope you had as much fun as we did but after a great two weekends at home, we're on the road again! 

Last weekend, we faced the reigning national champions, the Clarkson Golden Knights for the first time in program history. With a tie on Saturday and a 4-0 win on Sunday, we were able to continue our undefeated out of conference record. 

This weekend we're in Mankato, Minnesota, to face the Minnesota State Mavericks. Games are Friday at 7 and Saturday at 3 and make sure you tune into the live blog and follow @BadgerWHockey on Twitter! 

Until Next Time!

~ Sarah

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With the start of the season on the close horizon, Wisconsin softball head coach Yvette Healy talks about the team's core values and how they will drive the team to success in the upcoming season. 

This is certainly going to be a new year for Badger Softball.  Looking ahead, we have seven games against teams ranked in the pre-season top 25, and almost 20 games against 2014 NCAA tournament teams.  We have two short weeks until we open up at Arizona State, facing off against University of California Northridge, Utah Valley and Virginia, before closing out to the weekend against Pac-12 rivals Oregon State and No. 2 Oregon. 

The past two seasons have been so special, posting back-to-back NCAA Regional Championship game appearances,  and finishing ranked in the top 25.  We graduated four All-Region seniors, who each contributed so much to our recent success.  As we work to help our newest leaders emerge, our focus has been on competing with character.  Our weekly chalk talks this fall featured how we can approach this challenge with passion and integrity. 

Wisconsin Softball 2015 -Core Values

1.     Gritty

2.     Selfless

3.     Driven

4.     Dynamic

In the Wisconsin Softball Family, we strive for our thoughts and actions to reflect our program's core values.  When a student-athlete embodies the core values of the program, she will be successful.  In order to maximize potential and reach optimal performance, fit is key.  When coaches, student-athletes, and support staff are aligned with the program's core values, synergy is created; athletes are connected, supported, and ready to learn, coaches are engaged, empowered and motivated to teach.  If we can put our core values into action this season, our greatest challenges will simply become opportunities to work together, grow and achieve together.

Wisconsin Softball Core Values in Action:

In order to understand and connect with our core values, it is important that our thoughts, preparation and actions connect back to what we value most.  When our words and deeds reflect our core values, we are in sync with our inner purpose and mission.  We are then aligned with who we are, what we value, what we're fighting for, and the significance we're searching for.

  1. Gritty

No amount of adversity, loss, setback, or failure seems permanent.  We are in charge of our own success and destiny.  When we have bad at-bats, bad innings, bad games, and even bad seasons, we know that we can work to overcome these challenges.  At the core, we know that life is good, and we are fortunate and talented.  We continue to connect with our teammates, communicate with our coaches, utilize our resources and work hard on our own to become better than the day before.  The path may be rocky at times, but our vision is clear, and our goals are worthy.  We are changing the culture of Wisconsin softball, bringing respect to our state and university, proving that a warm-weather sport can thrive in a cold-weather state. Confidence and composure are key elements of grit.  Our outstanding work-ethic, sacrifice, and preparation allows us to be optimistic and successful.

  1. Selfless

The selfless Wisconsin softball athletes always values the success of the program and team over personal glory.  She finds joy and gratification in the success of the team.  She embraces her role, and feels her contribution is crucial.  She works to do more, give more, and make the program better than when she arrived.  Selfless teammates care about each other's accomplishments.  They work to make their teammates look better on and off the field, backing up plays to save errors, being loyal in times of crisis,  giving full effort, diving for free outs to support the pitchers, minimizing personal drama and distraction.  Selfless teammates hustle, are engaged and play hard each time they step on their field.  They respect their coaches and teammates time, and are always engaged, enthusiastic, trustworthy.  Wisconsin softball student-athletes know that everyone has her own challenges and struggles, her goal is to make those around her better, and make people smile.  She wants to make the team better, improve the culture, and give back to her coaches, athletics department and university.

  1. Driven

Wisconsin softball student-athletes are driven, over-achievers.  They understand that creating momentum and legacy is far more challenging than walking into a program with proven success.  She embraces being an underdog, and wants to put her stamp on Wisconsin Softball.  She has come to Madison to break records, create a championship legacy, and achieve things that no team in the history of Wisconsin softball ever has.  In all parts of her life, she strives for success, overcoming odds and obstacles.  She over-achieves by always finding a way to succeed despite lacking a map for success, benchmarks or mentors.  A lack of All-Americans, blue-chip recruits, or post-season runs, is never an excuse for mediocrity.  These trailblazers take pride in being the first to achieve great things in sports and life. 

Wisconsin softball is about more than winning and losing.  Well-rounded athletes know that happiness and optimal performance go hand-in-hand.  In order to achieve true greatness in life, it's never just about personal glory.  Driven, well-rounded student-athletes value a renaissance experience.  They want to be great at many things, from academics, athletics, and community service to relationships.  Our well-rounded athletes have maturity, perspective and purpose.  When we know life is about more than softball, we can truly enjoy the time we spend training and perfecting the gifts and talents we've been given.

  1. Dynamic

Wisconsin softball athletes are exciting, driven, and full of vitality.  They are well-spoken, endearing, dynamic young women who find ways to achieve great things in life.  Wisconsin softball athletes are passionate about their opportunity to be a Badger, and earn a University of Wisconsin degree.  She loves competing at one of the most challenging academic and athletic institutions in the country.  She is driven to achieve great things, and excited to take on new challenges.  Her energy and optimism is obvious, in the way she approaches learning, training, academics and competition.  She is fiercely loyal to her teammates, coaches, and the athletics department.  She understands how special and finite this opportunity is.  Every season, every game, every inning, out, at-bat, and pitch matters.  Her hustle and enthusiasm let others know how much she cares about her teammates, Wisconsin Softball, and this opportunity.

Nurse's Notes: Ready for the Border Battle

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Happy New Year Badger Fans!

We ended off the first part of our season with a series sweep of North Dakota after a couple of big non conference wins at New Hampshire. 

After finishing off the 2014 schedule Jenny Ryan, Annie Pankowski and Karley Sylvester spent a week at USA Hockey's National December Camp in Minnesota while Ann-Renee Desbiens and myself were in Germany with Team Canada participating at the Nations Cup, where we ended up winning gold!

With exams and winter break training behind us we're looking forward to this weekend and taking on the Gophers. It's always fun playing Minnesota and this series is one we've been looking forward to. We face off Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and our game on Saturday is on the BTN, so make sure to watch!

Until next time!

~ Sarah

Badger Rewind: Outback Bowl

Badgers react to Outback Bowl win

Hey friends!

Happy New Year's y'all! I'm sitting in an Evanston, Illinois, hotel room watching the Randy Moss 30 for 30 documentary, with a big ol' bottle of water. Crazy exciting New Year's Eve right? I know my New Year's Eve isn't typical of a 20-year-old college kid but never the less, I'm still extremely grateful for my quiet evening in Evanston. 2014 was a year that deserves a quiet evening and one last entry.

Personally, this year felt like a lifetime condensed into 365 days. I feel like I learned lessons that some people never get the opportunity to learn.

My AAU teammates and one of my close friends was killed in a car accident on June 3. She was the friend and teammate we all dream about. Our days on this earth are simply not promised and I vowed to never step on the court again without playing for her. However, after my second knee surgery in July and months of still being in pain, I made the decision to step away from the game for a while and focus on getting myself healthy.

If any of y'all know me, you know how hard this decision was for me to make. My mom and a very long conversation at the most hipster coffee shop in Madison, taught me that not even the game I love is worth risking my health for the rest of my life. The amount of pain I push through does not define how much I love my team and this game. In the meantime, I've had to find ways to encourage my team off the court. That, my friends, is a process still in the making but I will say, I am learning every day.

As for the team, this year was one of trials, but more importantly, perseverance.

Our team's record with injuries seems to be a constant theme, but I would argue the more remarkable theme is our relentless fight. Within the last year I have witnessed these players beat teams with a roster of 15 with our seven players. Despite the injuries, we always find a way to fight until the buzzer, and for that I am always proud to be a Badger.

We ended the year beating Michigan at the Kohl Center. Needless to say, the trials were more than worth it. As we head into the Big Ten season and the New Year, we are ready to reap the successes that the trials of 2014 prepared us for. We are a veteran team with a veteran mind set that is stable and unwavering. 2015 is going to be one to not only remember, but one to witness. 

Thanks for the support, the love and the memories Badger fans! We can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

Happy New Year friends!

One final practice and one for the fans



Photo Gallery: One Last Practice

Rain in the Tampa area forced the Badgers inside for their final practice of the season, a spirited and productive session held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. It also kept the team from its scheduled appointment at Clearwater Beach for the annual Outback Bowl Beach Day.

That rain did not keep Badgers fans from turning out to show their support, however, as many in red and white made their way to Channelside to enjoy a performance from the UW band and spirit squad, as well as some words of thanks from seniors Rob Havenstein and Marcus and Michael Trotter.

Badgers take Busch Gardens



- Photo Gallery: Badgers at Busch Gardens

After working through a short practice at the University of Tampa on Monday, the Badgers had the chance for some fun at Busch Gardens. Players from both Wisconsin and Auburn had the opportunity to enjoy the theme park, with a small group getting some inside access to the Falcon's Fury ride and a safari experience that included feeding the giraffes.


ON WISCONSIN