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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
aftermath of Wisconsin's thrilling, 34-31, overtime win over Auburn in the
Outback Bowl, much was written about the Badgers' collective performance,
especially that of Outback Bowl MVP, running back Melvin Gordon.
to complete coverage on UWBadgers.com and from Insider Mike Lucas, below is a
list of links from around the web: