Waiting is the hardest part

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In this week's softball blog, head coach Yvette Healy writes about how the team spent its week off after an opening week in Austin, Texas. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates throughout the season.

I think Tom Petty said it best, "The waiting is the hardest part."

It's been two weeks since our last games. Two weeks since our trip to Austin that we've had to break down film, assess our progress, attack our weaknesses and scout our opponents. I know everyone's bodies needed a few days off after winning four of our first six games. The University of Wisconsin is taking midterms right now too, so the team got a few extra days off over the weekend to catch up and get ahead on their studies preparing for mid-semester exams.

As a coach, I'd rather not take extra days off. Practice days are the most enjoyable for me, and game days are even better. A weekend of following scores while others are competing isn't any fun. Yet our staff works hard to maintain a little work-life balance in season, enjoying the moments we can spend with family while we're home.

It's all sports in the Healy household right now with my husband Shawn and me both coaching. My daughter Grace and I got to attend Shawn's overtime boys' basketball win for the St. Francis Spartans last week on Senior Night. Shawn and I caught up with old friends at a DePaul Softball alumni gathering at a men's basketball game too.

Wednesday night I was inspired as Shawn's team, the No. 10 seed in the Illinois High School Association Regional, upset the No. 5 host team, on the road. I'm blessed to be in a family with great coaches and mentors like Shawn and his brother, Mike. We love sports for all of those great underdog, come-from-behind victories that literally bring you to your feet as you see David beat Goliath right in front of your eyes. Shawn's teams always play hard; they always overachieve and they really embrace being the spoiler.

One of my favorite coaches spoke to our team last week, our Athletic Director, Barry Alvarez. It's amazing to have a boss who has coached at the highest level, single-handedly turning a program into a national powerhouse. He's built a winning legacy at Wisconsin, and our softball staff has modeled a lot of our philosophy after his benchmark for gritty, tenacious teams.

Barry spoke to our team about buying into the system, and really embracing the vision of the coaching staff. He said his most successful athletes and teams had an amazing ability to focus in their training and preparation, but most importantly in competition. They could focus on the task at hand, prioritizing their lives to give attention to "what's important now."   

Barry said that his staff kept their game plan simple, but always created an edge for their teams. Our softball staff has taken those words to heart. There's so much you can teach, drill and work on during this time of year. You can spend hours on complicated drills, defenses, first-and-third strategies and hitting adjustments. Our job is to keep it simple for our athletes and let them play the game. As far as creating a competitive edge, Coach Schneider has made huge contributions through his spread sheets, scouting reports and spray charts. He spends countless hours studying our opponents so our team can feel organized and prepared.

We're about to face two outstanding teams in Utah and Florida State. Florida State started the year ranked in the top 25, and Utah has a few huge ranked-wins too. As a staff and team, we're thrilled at the challenge of playing such strong teams. We know we have our work cut out for us, but facing tough pitching will help prepare us for Big Ten play. Both Utah and Florida State have pitchers that average more than one strikeout per inning. After our strong offensive start in Austin, hitting over .300 as a team, our toughness and resilience will be tested as we go head-to-head with outstanding pitching and powerful teams.

2 Comments

Coaches, what a great game vs UNLV.
That game is a testament to the spirit you have instilled in your team.
Seeing the players demonstrate the confidence they have in each other and the "never say die attitude" is at the very least refreshing.
They are a team playing to win, and having fun doing it.

In a world of sports, where measurements are usually only statistical, take pride in what you have done in short order - changed the culture of Wisconsin softball!

Congratulations and ON WISCONSIN!!!

Great Game. Keep up the good work. This is on of the best
things to do in madison

ON WISCONSIN