UW Health Sports Medicine 

Three words for team culture

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In today's blog entry, head coach Yvette Healy writes about three words that represent the core principles of Wisconsin softball.

Our softball staff was in Las Vegas last week at the NFCA National Convention listening to the top speakers and presenters in our sport while working on legislation for softball. One of the best speakers was Eric Kapitulik. He is a U.S. Marine Corps officer with a great background in leadership. He shared a lot of insight in dealing with adversity in the team setting.

My favorite message from Eric was simple, can you, your staff and team all agree on the three core principles of what it means to be one of the women of Wisconsin softball? What three words would you use to describe what it means to be a Badger? What goals, values and standards do we live in our program? The three words that I would use are: tenacious, composed and family. The women of Wisconsin softball are tenacious, composed and family. Those three words are simple, yet powerful.

Obviously in a high level, Division 1 program, you've got to be competitive. But tenacity takes competitiveness to a whole different level. The single biggest attribute our staff looks for in young recruits is their temperament. We want kids that love softball, and love to compete.  Some people just naturally love the thrill of working hard, developing their game and winning. Yet even more powerful than just competiveness is tenacity. Those who refuse to be stifled by obstacles become champions. I've always been drawn to great underdog stories. Talent truly is overrated. Those athletes that I have been most proud of in my coaching and playing experience are the ones with the most fight. Those that continue to battle, scrap and win, even when they face setbacks, have tenacity. When you find someone who refuses to lose at all she does, she will over-achieve in all aspects of her life.

Composure is actually my favorite compliment to pay. It goes beyond being calm and poised in the face of adversity. Young women who are composed have this amazing aura of confidence. They have swagger. They trust and believe in their ability and preparation. Composure only comes to those who know they will achieve and overcome. They have experienced tribulations before, and found a way to pull themselves up and rise above the challenge. Composed people are usually selfless, more focused on solving problems than complaining about the situation. When you can find athletes with great composure, they are usually those who worked hardest and feel confident in how they prepared. They know that failure is only temporary and success is a process.

Finally, the women of Wisconsin softball are family. These words have never seemed more meaningful to me than now, as the mother of a three-year-old. Although the word family means different things to different people, we can all agree that family is forever. At its core, family is about selflessness.  Family members have your best interest in mind, sacrificing to make others' lives better than their own. Family is about unconditional love, about putting others' happiness before your own. Family is about having relationships that matter, being there for each other through the good and bad and truly connecting with someone.  We talk a lot about being a great teammate and a great person in the Wisconsin softball family. Our coaches are here because they are good people that care about the young women in our program and love to teach.

I am proud to work with the women of Wisconsin softball every day.

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