UW Health Sports Medicine 

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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.

Nurse's Notes: Badgers ready for Frozen Four

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Good Afternoon Everyone!

After 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 Live Blog

Until Next Time!

- Sarah
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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).

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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.


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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

ON WISCONSIN