In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the upcoming season.
t's been a special four years for the Wisconsin Softball program, going from a 177 RPI team, to back-to-back seasons, finishing ranked in the Top 25, and advancing to the NCAA Regional Championship game. Yet we are still far from becoming a legacy program.
Our greatest challenge will be overcoming the loss of 5 starters from 2013, and four more, All-Region athletes in 2014. When you graduate that much success, and experience, new talent must emerge within your program and from your incoming freshmen. We will need new leaders to step in and take starring roles in our program. With so much youth and inexperience, we'll need a tremendous amount of leadership, patience, discipline and hard-work. Yet character and team-work really can overcome a majority of our deficits.
The greatest asset that Wisconsin Softball 2015 holds, is our character. This team is filled with truly inspirational young women who care about their teammates, and are driven to achieve. It will take a tremendous amount of buy-in, selflessness, and maturity to weather the storm. Are you prepared to face the challenges of this leap year? This is the point in history where most teams on our path experience a great slide. It is at this point of perceived prosperity, when the times are actually toughest. Just as experience and success are graduating, most programs are lulled into contentment and laziness. When we think we're more than we are, we fail to truly see our team and ourselves for who we are, and frustration sets in. With frustration comes a lack of motivation, turmoil, and dissension.
This is a critical year in the growth of Wisconsin softball. Climbs and improvements are never linear. As we work to become a legacy, championship program, there will always be two steps forward, and one step back. The question is, how big are the steps forward, and how small can we make the steps back? As we grow, and climb and achieve, there will always be minor regressions along the. When winning outpaces recruiting, your team is bottom heavy with inexperience, and trouble naturally arises.
The good news is, our staff truly believes we can jump this learning curve and survive and even thrive this trap year, through character. If this group can be the most collaborative, hard-working, selfless, and purpose-driven team in the history of Wisconsin Softball, we just might thrive. It's the "Why and the what" that will count this season. Why do you play, what are you playing for, why Wisconsin, what are you fighting for, what drives you, why now?
We are excited to enter this journey with you. This will be your greatest test of character as student-athletes. Your mental toughness, confidence and composure will be challenged every day. If you focus on caring for each other, playing for each other, being great teammates, doing things the right way, being purpose-driven athletes, you may surprise every team in the country, and become one of the most memorable teams in Wisconsin Softball history.