What a fun week for football it was in Wisconsin. There were cheeseheads everywhere with the Packers winning the Super Bowl. We even finished our Sunday practice early that day so the team could get together for the big game.
The highlight was definitely having our head football coach, Bret Bielema, speak to our Badger Softball team on Thursday. Bret has created an amazing formula for success. After winning the Big Ten this year, and playing in the Rose Bowl, Coach B shared a few thoughts on success.
Feb. 2 was the start of a signing period for college football, and USA Today did a great story on Bret and
his recruiting classes at Wisconsin. Scouting services rank the top recruiting
classes in the country, and Wisconsin has historically been under-rated... or
maybe they just always overachieve once they get here.
That's the funny thing about coaching, recruiting and building a program. It's not always the top recruits who become the best student-athletes. Wisconsin football has done an amazing job identifying local and national talent and providing them with great coaching and a competitive environment to maximize talent and create a nationally-ranked, top-10 program.
Our Wisconsin softball model is the same. Find great athletes from outstanding families, provide them with amazing coaching, and a healthy environment and watch them overachieve.
We're so lucky at a school like Wisconsin to be surrounded by some of the best coaches in the country. As we build the softball program into a national powerhouse, it's fun to listen to and learn from some of the best athletes and coaches in the country who just happen to be right down the hall.
Coach Bielema spoke about 4 things that bring success:
a. For Faith, it's easy to say you have it, but more important to live it. Act as if you have faith in your teammates and the Wisconsin Softball family. Players and families have to have faith in the staff, faith in the program and trust the process.
2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
a. You have to know your weaknesses so you know what to address each day in practice. It's imperative to have a realistic view of yourself as an athlete, then work to minimize your deficiencies.
b. For our softball team, we've focused a lot on owning our strengths. What's your signature attribute? What are you known for? Everyone needs to know why they're here, what their role is and what they're great at. We even challenged the softball team to write a short note to each of their teammates, letting them know their biggest strengths. If you want to play with confidence and swagger, you've got to know what you're great at and accentuate it.
3. Hard Work
a. There's no substitute for hard work. There's no short cut. You just have to put the work in. Come early, stay late. Work harder and smarter than your competition. Bret said, "No job is worth doing twice, if you can do it right the first time."
4. Being Honest with Yourself
a. If you do something wrong, take ownership and accountability.
What an honor to be around such a successful coach, who actually focuses on life-lessons and values. When I first accepted the head softball job here at Wisconsin in August, the first piece of mail I got was a hand-written letter from Coach Bielema, welcoming me into the Wisconsin Athletics Department family.b. If you always tell the truth, you'll never have to worry about remembering what you said.
Our football program has taken a great leadership role in the athletics department, at the University and throughout the state of Wisconsin. As a coach, we all admire the athletic success of our peers. Big Ten titles and national rankings are impressive, but it's the coaches and programs that win, yet still work to be great people, role-models, and mentors, that have the greatest impact on our lives!