Coach Healy talks about the homestretch as the Badgers close out the regular season with a five-game homestand against Nebraska and Minnesota before traveling to Rutgers.
As we prepare for the
last 5 home games, we're about to face two of the toughest teams in the Big
Ten, with a three game series against Nebraska this weekend, and a Wednesday
double header against #10 Minnesota. Both teams are scoring more than seven
runs a game, on average, which ranks them in the top 20 in the country.
We've been battling
the winter weather this spring, canceling a home double-header on Tuesday due
to the wind chill. With all the challenges and adversity you face, after two
record-breaking, back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, the end of the year
is about energy, enthusiasm and momentum.
We use the word momentum a lot in sports. Usually we talk about riding the momentum, or
continuing it. Yet, one of the most
challenging tasks in sports, is creating momentum, and that's what we're
looking to do. That's the way we look at
this five game stretch, it's an opportunity to play against two of the top
teams in the country, learn from them, and create momentum by stealing a few
Coach Schneider always
jokes, that I use a lot Chicago quotes, and sayings. "Sometimes it's two steps forward, one step
back, when you build a legacy program. Sometimes you have to go down, to go up.
You have to take the bad with the good, and it's all part of the miracle." Those are the messages we've been sharing
with our team this week. You don't get
to pick and choose the parts you want to experience in life, you have to deal
with it all. Life's not a cafeteria line.
Every experience, every day, and every season is its own challenging,
exciting, gut wrenching, and amazing experience.
"David and Goliath" argues that the key to happiness, pride, and accomplishment
is to be "appropriately challenged". If something is far too hard, you're
overwhelmed and paralyzed by the daunting task ahead. If it's too easy, there's
no value, joy or accomplishment, it just becomes another easy day that means
nothing. Yet those who have the ability to delay gratification, and work
towards something great for more than a day, a week, a summer or a season,
those are the people and teams that accomplish something truly great. The other
book I love right now, "How Children Succeed", by Paul Tough, explains that
grit and character are created in these challenging times. You just need a little maturity and
perspective to work through the challenges, and stick with the process. Adversity is not something to avoid, but to
embrace. Life is not mean to be
easy. The challenge, and the lessons are
part of the climb.
The student-athletes that
gain perspective through adversity, walk away with a life-changing, life-transforming
experience. Anything is possible. Big, giant, far away
dreams and aspirations can come true, if you work hard enough, and long
enough. You must refuse to be deterred,
refuse to back down, or listen to the naysayers. There are plenty of people in
the world who say it will never happen, that you're not good enough, it's
impossible. We've seen the impossible
happen here at Wisconsin. When you start with one first-team all-big ten kid in
the history of the program, just a few all-region kids ever, one big ten
tournament win, and one NCAA win, ever, you have a tall hill to climb. To turn
those things into 10 all-big ten kids, a Big Ten tournament championship and MVP,
seven all-region kids, four big ten tournament wins, back-to-back top four
finishes in conference, and four NCAA tournament wins, impossible doesn't exist.
Great things can
happen. They can happen right here, right now, this season, if you fight for
it. How easily are you dissuaded? Are
you already focused on next season? How quick are you to listen to voices
around you, the voices in your head, and the numbers of what you've seen so far
This is our job in
life, to make ourselves, and those around us believe. That's what it said on
our men's basketball shirts, "Make 'Em Believe". Make your teammates believe, make your
parents believe, make the fans believe that anything can happen. Why not us? What if we all chose to turn it on at the end
of the season, and caught fire? What if we gained a little moment and went on a
run and won a few big games, anything could happen. If someone leaves the door
open and we sneak into the Big Ten tournament, we'll make a run. If any team
doesn't bring their best game, these last 8 big ten games, if we get a call, a
bounce, a roll, look out. That spark will catch fire. When you've been working
for it, and battling for it, and staying vigilant, believing it will happen,
anything is possible. If we find
ourselves with a chance to surge back and steal a game late against one do
these great teams, look out. That's momentum. That spark just might catch fire
if you win one. It's amazing how quickly
one win could become five. Get ready for
the synergy. If you can find a way to win just one, anything can happen. That's
opportunity. That's momentum. That's what you play for.
I believe we have a spark.
We have a secret weapon. We have a plan that will work. Taylor and Chloe, our
returning All-Region kids, are going to go out there this weekend and have fun.
They're going to strategize, buy in, make those touch calls and celebrate the
small victories along the way as they take ownership of these games. Coach Dow
and Mariah are going to put together a whole new look. They're going to bring
the energy and harmony we saw in practice Wednesday, having fun and competing.
Let's get excited about the home stretch.
We'll plan, prepare and strategize, then turn it over to heart, grit,
gut feelings and passion. If we're going to go out, we do it our way, together.
We go down swinging, scratching and clawing, playing badger softball with
Coach Healy talks about the team's fight through an emotional weekend a successful Softball 101 Clinic.
What a great weekend for softball in Madison. The stands were packed as we battled Iowa in
a nearly four hour, marathon, rubber match, game on the Big Ten Network
Sunday. Our staff was filled with pride
watching our team battle and compete for 10 innings, in front of a huge crowd
of more than a thousand fans through the weekend. We played some great softball. The defense was making plays, the pitching
was on-point, and the hitters kept finding ways to pressure the defense and get
on base all afternoon. Our local
Wisconsin athletes carried our team this weekend, with Ashley Van Zeeland
(Kaukauna, WI) and Megan Tancill (Madison, WI), both hitting over .500 for the
series. Maria Van Abel (Kaukauna WI) hit
nearly .400 with three runs scored, and had the walk off hit on Saturday.
Surprisingly, the best softball of the weekend came after
the games. Our team was scheduled to
host a kid's clinic at 5:30pm, on Sunday.
Since it was after 7pm when we finished our heart-breaking extra-inning
affair, we weren't sure if any kids would still hang around. The team grabbed a quick snack in the locker
room, shook off all the emotion of the afternoon, and walked back on to the
field to be greeted by nearly one hundred little future badgers and their
parents. Seeing our student-athletes dig
deep, and give their best energy and smiles to our young fans was amazing.
We've talked about grit and character all season. Sometimes the greatest grit and composure you
can show, is to continue to be selfless, positive, and enthusiastic, no matter
what the circumstance. It's such a
life-lesson, to be able to leave work at the office, and give your best energy,
and attention to the kids in your life, after a tough day. I've never seen such maturity and composure
in a group, as I saw from our team last night, hosting a kids clinic, as the
sun set, after an emotional weekend.
We host in-state rivals Wisconsin Green Bay this week,
before traveling to Champaign for another exciting Big Ten Match up this
Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy talks about the legacy of Wisconsin athletics and building programs into the successes that they are.
It's a great time to be a Badger. Our Wisconsin softball team had a blast
cheering on Men's Basketball, in our Final Four and National Championship
run. All of Madison has been wearing red
throughout March Madness. In the five
years our staff has been at Wisconsin, we've seen three Rose Bowl appearances
by Football, two Final Four runs by Basketball, a National Championship and
three Frozen Four appearances by Women's Hockey, and Big Ten titles brought
home by Football, Basketball, Hockey, Volleyball, Soccer, Track and Cross
Country. What a fun school to compete
The winning at Wisconsin, is easy to see, and it's fun to
follow. Yet the path to success is so
much tougher than people realize. So
much of the success at this University has been built over time. Coaches like Barry Alvarez (football), Bo
Ryan (basketball), Mark Johnson (women's hockey), Kelly Sheffield (volleyball)
and Paula Wilkins (women's soccer), have built their programs up, creating
championship environments. Volleyball
went from failing to reach the NCAA's for a few seasons, to back-to-back Final
Four appearances these last two seasons.
Women's soccer climbed from the bottom of the conference to a Sweet 16
appearance in three years. These stories
of creating legacy programs can be seen all over campus.
Our softball staff is so proud of the strides we've made
these past four seasons. It's taken a
lot of sweat, grit and strategy to go from back to back 15-40 seasons, to
back-to-back NCAA Regional championship appearances and a Big Ten Championship. Yet the challenges don't end here. For our softball program, success is not a
destination, it truly is a journey. Each
season, each new class has to work, and earn every win that we achieve. Our goal is to create a legacy program. We want to become a softball team that
competes for a Big Ten Championship, and makes a run in the NCAA's every
year. Consistency is one of the greatest
achievements a program can have. The
first step towards greatness is accomplishing something amazing once. To have one great weekend, month, or season
for a team or an individual is special.
Yet the truly great teams and the really impressive athletes do great
things every day. They bring confidence,
composure, work-ethic and high level performance to the field every practice,
every game, and every season. What a
jump it is, to go from having a great day, or a great series, to being a
consistent athlete, and a legacy team.
Right now, we're proud of our athletes when they have a few
great games, or a great season. As we
continue to chase history, and work towards becoming a legacy program, we're
challenging our athletes to be "everyday" kids.
To be great every day, and every season.
The world loves Badge Basketball right now, for the National
Championship appearance against Duke, and the Final Four win over Kentucky, but
our staff is most impressed with their 16 consecutive NCAA tournament
appearances, and the fact that Bo's teams have finished 4th or
higher in a powerhouse Big Ten conference every year that he's been here.
Consistency, Legacy, Pride.
This season is just another step along the path to becoming a
championship program. We're 3-2 at home
right now, excited to play another five games in Madison this week.
Coach Healy talks about how meaningful opening day is and how playing in front of a home crowd brings out some sparks in certain players.
Change. It's never easy, it's never comfortable, and
usually it's forced upon you. In the case of Badger Softball, change can't come
soon enough. There are all those great leadership books, like "Who Moved
my Cheese", that praise those who anticipate. They commend the savvy leader who
stays one step ahead of the curve, who's ready to tie up her running shoes and
look for new avenues toward success, before life even throws her a curve ball
or takes an unexpected turn.
The Badgers softball team has one goal this weekend, beat
Penn State. For some on our team, they'd like to pitch better, others want to
score more runs, others are focusing on top-notch defense. Yet at the end
of the day, the goal is to score one more run than Penn State in each game we
play. With a doubleheader Friday, and the series finale Saturday, our softball
team is focused on capturing a conference series win, then joining together to
cheer on our men's basketball team Saturday night in the Final Four!
In order to get there, change needs to be in the air. New
month, first home games, fresh start. Each year there are always a group of
kids that blow it up at home. It's a really interesting thing to study as
coaches. Who plays great softball at home? We've had a group of pitchers over the
years who throw their best games at Goodman Diamond. There are hitters, for one
reason or another, who hit 100 points higher and slug 200 points more when we
play at home.
They say home is where the heart is. We're about to find
out who those passionate, "hot home" kids are. Lucky for us, we have
a lot of Wisconsin talent on the field. We've never had more hometown heroes
playing in our program, than right now. We certainly need that Wisconsin
pride. This weekend, we'll have three outstanding Wisconsin walk-on's,
who've worked their way into becoming scholarship starters, in our opening line
up. We'll have two local girls from Chicago in the outfield and we'll have a
Midwest Iowa athlete behind the plate. When 6 of your 9 starters live just a
few hours from Madison, you know they'll be supported at home. Friends and family,
high school and summer ball coaches, parents, grandparents, siblings and former
teammates from Kaukauna High School, Edgewood, Downers Grove South, Andrew and
Pleasant Valley, IA, all want to see their hometown heroes compete on the Big
Seventeen of our next 20 games are at home. That's a heck of
home-stand. When you're one of the last teams in the country to play at home,
and your first 31 games have been on the road, all across the country, you'll
take every edge and nudge you can, to get back on track, and get things
Happy opening day!
Below is the team chalk talk from Sunday morning,
before the Badgers' last game at Purdue. Coach Healy talks about playing the game with passion and embracing the challenges they have faced this season.
Our opening Big Ten weekend was
certainly challenging. We didn't pitch,
hit or defend well. We're almost 30
games into the season, and we still have one more road series at Northwestern,
before we have our first home game. Our
goal right now, is to focus on the process.
We're working as a staff, to continue to teach, focus on effort,
improvement, execution and approach.
These hard times have so much to
teach. They have so much to teach about
our approach, our thoughts, our minds and our actions. When things get tough, as they are right now,
how do you get from here to there? When
life isn't what you want it be, are you action oriented? What goes through your head? Are you part of the problem or part of the
solution? Are you moving forward or
moving backwards? Do your thoughts help
you or hinder you?
I saw a great quote, and TedTalk
that said, "Fear of failure means you're not focused on the task at hand". You're more worried about what could go wrong
than how to execute what you're doing.
I'm sure this isn't a news flash,
life is hard. You're going to face
adversity. The sad part is, the
adversity you'll see in life moving forward is 10 times harder than this
adversity in sports. You'll have to deal
with losing a parent, a sick sibling, kids and drama, mortgages, saving for
college, cooking and cleaning. That's real
life, that's stress. This isn't
stressful, it's just playing the game you love.
It's not life or death, it's softball,
It's not heart surgery, don't make it more than it is. You have prepared, you've worked hard, go out
there and play the game with passion.
Before we can think about playing
like champions, you first have to think like a champion. Champions are in the moment. They are focused. Are you focused or distracted? Are you thinking about this inning, this
pitch, this at bat, this ground ball, or are you carrying with you all the
feelings and emotions of what's gone wrong?
Defeatist thoughts are a pity party.
What's going through your head? "I should be better, our team should be
better, no one's nice, no one likes me, coach doesn't believe in me, here we go
again, this kid's unreal, I'll never hit her, she's owned me. I wish we were better, I can't believe how
cold it is, I can't believe it's going to snow, why did I come here, maybe I
made a wrong choice, I miss my friends, I miss my family, I want to go home."
How is that going to help? We know when you're thinking it. We know
when you're distracted.
Or, are you in the moment? Are you gritty? Can no obstacle bring you down or make you
lose focus? How is grit made? You have to earn it. You have to go through it. You really have to experience the down to
feel the up. You have to know bad to
really appreciate and relish good. There
needs to be some death, for you to truly understand life. That's the truth. You earn your grit. And here's a chance.
Sometimes you have to go down, to
go up. Let's embrace the challenge, and
relish the climb.
Good Afternoon Everyone!
traveling up to North Dakota and winning the WCHA Playoff Championship and then
beating Boston University in the NCAA Quarterfinals inside a packed
LaBahn Arena, your favorite Badgers are back at it tonight in Minnesota of the semifinals of the Frozen Four!
We got in Wednesday
night, had a quick practice on Thursday and then attended the Frozen
Four banquet where Annie Pankowski took home National Rookie of the Year
and Jenny Ryan won the NCAA Elite 89 award. So far it's been a successful
few days and we're looking to continue that tonight as we take on the
Gophers. You can follow along on Twitter or with the Badgers' Gameday
Until Next Time!
MADISON, Wis. -
For the 17th-straight season, the Wisconsin men's basketball team will be dancing in March. That streak, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the country, is impressive on its own.
However, when coupled with the success of the football team since Barry Alvarez took over in 1990, the results are amazing. The Badgers have participated in a bowl game and made the NCAA tournament every year since 2002-03. That run of 13 straight seasons of going bowling and playing in the tourney is by far the longest streak in the country.
Big Ten rival Michigan State has the second-longest streak in the country at eight-straight seasons. After that, Louisville and San Diego State have put together five-year runs. But no other school in the country has done it for more than four consecutive years.
If you wanted to go back even further, since the 1996-97 season, UW has played in 18 bowl games and 18 NCAA tournaments. That combined 36 postseason appearances also leads the nation. Coming in at No. 2 is Texas, with 34 total appearances (17 bowl games and 17 NCAA tourneys), followed by Florida with 33 (19 bowl games and 14 NCAA tourneys).
Individually, the Badgers boasted two of their respective sports' best in Melvin Gordon and Frank Kaminsky. If, as expected, Kaminsky is named a finalist for the John Wooden Award, Wisconsin would be the only school in the country to have multiple Heisman Trophy and Wooden Award finalists since 2006-07. Kaminsky would join Alando Tucker, a 2007 Wooden finalist, while Gordon and Montee Ball have both been Heisman finalists in the last four years.
Maintaining the Badgers' high level of success in both sports simply isn't done anywhere else.GOING STREAKING
Wisconsin's football team has qualified for a bowl game and its men's basketball team has earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament for 13 consecutive years (every year since the start of the 2002 season). That is the longest streak in the country, five years longer than Michigan State's streak, which is the second-longest.
* Wisconsin - 13 years (2002-03 to 2014-15)
* Michigan State - 8 years (2007-08 to 2014-15)
* Louisville - 5 years (2010-11 to 2014-15)
* San Diego State - 5 years (2010-11 to 2014-15) POSTSEASON PARTY
Since the start of the 1996 season, UW's football and men's basketball teams have combined for more bowl appearances and NCAA Tournament appearances than ANY OTHER school in the country.
* Wisconsin - 36 (18 bowl games, 18 NCAA tournaments)
* Texas - 34 (17 bowl games, 17 NCAA tournaments)
* Florida - 33 (19 bowl games, 14 NCAA tournaments)BIG TEN'S BEST
Wisconsin had both the Chicago Tribune Silver Football (Big Ten MVP) winner (Melvin Gordon) and the player of the year in men's basketball (Frank Kaminsky). That has only happened eight other times in Big Ten history and just once in the last 33 years (Indiana in 2001-02: Antwaan Randle El and Jared Jeffries).
All this success has not gone unnoticed. Frank Kaminsky graces the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, marking the eighth time in the last calendar year that a Badger has been featured on the cover of the preeminent sports magazine. Kaminsky himself has been on the cover three times since last March, making him the only athlete, college or pro, to be featured on the cover more than twice in that time.
In addition to Kaminsky, Melvin Gordon appeared on the cover in November, Josh Gasser was featured with Kaminsky when the Badgers made the Final Four and former UW athletes Russell Wilson (twice), J.J. Watt and Ryan McDonough have been cover boys.
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
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!
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
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!
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!