In today's blog, head coach Yvette Healy writes to the team about preparation, approach and response.
As we get ready for our first trip of the 2013, I want to challenge this group to get in the right frame of mind. What do championship programs have in common? They prepare for games, approach games and respond in games like champions.
We've spent the first half of this year in preparation mode. We challenged you to work hard in fall ball. You've had more days practicing outside on the dirt than ever before, taking grounders on the field into December. You survived two-a-days our first week back. You've lifted and ran like champions all winter long. We have one of the best strength, conditioning and nutrition programs in the country, and you are physically strong and prepared. You're smarter and savvier than ever before due to our chalk talks, situation practices, live base-running and IQ sessions. As you spend these last few days reviewing our scouting reports, know and believe that you are prepared to succeed this weekend.
All the thought, homework and preparation in the world can't help you, if you don't walk into the games with a winning mentality. Preparation is important, but when you arrive at opening weekend, focus determination and a championship mindset will win you games. Do you have something to prove this year? I hope thoughts of Nebraska are still fresh in your mind. I hope selection show Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings seems like yesterday. Are you on a mission this year? Are you ready for your first business trip of the year? Our goal is to win the Big Ten. Our goal is compete in the NCAA tournament. Our goal is play in a super regional. The mission of this squad is to create a foundation of excellence for Wisconsin softball, to put us on the map as a perennial national powerhouse, and build a legacy of success. No one is going to hand it to us. You have to brave enough to go take it. Notre Dame has played in 16-consecutive NCAA tournaments. That's a legacy.
The final key to success is a character goal. How you respond to adversity is the single most important lesson that you'll learn through sports. It really isn't about winning or losing. It's not about strikeouts and home runs; it's what you do next that counts. How you respond to a bad call, to an error, to strikeouts and home runs will define you. What kind of teammate are you? What kind of leader are you? What kind of softball program are we? If we embrace adversity, and are truly excited about the challenges that lie ahead with this tough softball schedule, we'll become the type of athletes and the type of team that can win the Big Ten and compete in the NCAA's on an annual basis.