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Badger Blog: Building leaders

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In today's blog entry, head coach Yvette Healy writes about last week's games and the UW sports medicine department.

What a great weekend in sports here at Wisconsin. We played our final three games of the fall softball season at home last Friday and Sunday, going 3-0. We had a great pregame meal Friday afternoon at the Kohl Center, our basketball and hockey arena. We got to visit with our women's hockey coach, USA Gold Medal Olympian Mark Johnson, before the meal. Women's hockey dominated in its opening weekend, scoring more than 20 goals in two games. Our men's basketball coach, Bo Ryan, addressed the softball team too, attributing his years of Big Ten conference championships and NCAA Sweet 16 finishes to teamwork, toughness and great chemistry.

Friday night was an exciting game battling DePaul. Our junior pitcher Meghan McIntosh did a great job keeping hitters off balance, working ahead in the count and inducing groundballs. She only gave up three hits and one walk, while striking out five and getting 11 hitters to ground into outs. Meghan has always had great speed and spin, getting gunned at 67mph, yet she went 3-0 this fall by hitting her spots, working ahead and changing speeds.

Redshirt sophomore Molly Spence hit a game-winning walk-off home run in the bottom of the 7th of the DePaul game, crushing a change up over the fence. Molly spent last season rehabbing her shoulder. We are so proud of her leadership, focus and toughness, battling through a shoulder injury, surgeries and a long year of doctor's visits and rehab. Our athletic trainer Ashley Parr had a huge smile on her face as Molly trotted around the bases.

I believe we have one of the best sports medicine departments in the country here at Wisconsin. Our team physicians and connection to the UW hospitals is amazing. Yet the most impressive part of our healthcare is definitely the people. Our athletic trainers go above and beyond the call of duty, working long hours before and after our practices, and on days off, keeping our team healthy and happy. Beyond physical therapy and rehab, our athletic trainers manage the nutrition of our student-athletes. Each Wisconsin student-athlete attends a healthy shopping and cooking seminar each year, to learn what to choose in the cafeteria, how to get the most nutrition for your money at the grocery store and, of course, quick and easy recipes for nutritious meals and snacks. Each athlete leaves the nutrition seminar with a binder filled with great recipes and cooking tips.

Our main function here as coaches at the University of Wisconsin is not only to create a winning legacy athletically, but also to help transform our student-athletes in mature, healthy, capable young women who will lead on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  The college years are critical for helping transition students into adulthood. The health and nutrition lessons learned here at Wisconsin will last a lifetime, as our Badgers learn how to build strength and character through adversity and teamwork.  


Badger Blog: Chalk-talk

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In today's blog entry, head coach Yvette Healy writes about last week's games and assistant coach Randy Schneider's chalk-talk.

What a great week in Badger softball. We had the opportunity to travel to Chicago last weekend for our first bus trip and hotel stay as a team. Our football team played at Soldier Field while we competed at Loyola and UIC. It was a great bonding trip to spend a weekend together as a team; we even got to enjoy a little deep dish Chicago pizza after beating Loyola Friday night.

We had a few great practices this week, breaking down film, working on the fundamentals and getting in a great sweat yesterday with our "Texas BP". We opened the season last year at the University of Texas, going 4-2 on our first road trip. We designed a great 1.5 hour batting practice/"BP" workout that featured as ton of fly balls and grounders, combined with batting practice on the field with live runners. It's amazing how much work you can get in when everything is highly organized, and planned out. Our staff takes a lot of pride in teaching the game, but also being efficient. We love to see our student-athletes hustling on and off the field, diving, playing hard, sweating and learning. It was a great day both offensively and defensively.

The highlight of the week was coach Schneider's chalk-talk. He spent a few hours on Wednesday helping our student-athletes understand what it takes to be an outstanding student-athlete. One of our biggest challenges in taking over the Badger softball program has been creating a championship culture. It takes a lot of mentoring and teaching to help create a culture of competition, exemplary work-ethic and belief. Coach Schneider challenged the team to make history, take ownership and go above and beyond the call of duty, doing extra every day.

One of my favorite quotes that coach Schneider uses is; "You're either training for something, or you're not". It's so simple, yet profound. Either you're on a path of discipline and goals, working towards some great accomplishment, or you're just coasting.  Either you wake up every day motivated to get better, or you spend your life being average.

Coach sent the poem below to the team, and it really summarizes what being a successful, motivated, division-one student-athlete is all about:

Don't wait for some distant day to come,
it may be too late before you've even begun.
Not everyone will agree with all you decide.
Be true to yourself first and foremost.
The only important thing in life is what you do
with the time you spend here on earth.
Don't be afraid to follow your desires,
they are not silly nor selfish.
Take the time and do what makes you feel alive.
Leave your fears and regrets in the past,
for this is where they belong.
Don't cloud today with things that can't be undone.
You have no more control over yesterday or tomorrow,
than you do the raging of your passions.
Do not quiet these dreams nor quench your desires.
For if you do, your journey is ended.
You have only today to begin anew and follow your dreams.
For in the end all we have are our memories.
When the twilight comes to us, let there be,
No excuses, no explanations, no regrets.

Badger Blog: Back to school

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Catch up with coach Healy as the Badgers return to Madison for the fall season.

It's great to have the softball team back on campus and practicing. I'm amazed at how fast the summer flew by. This was the Healy family's first summer in Madison, and although I was on the road recruiting and doing camps around the country, my husband Shawn, our three year old daughter Grace and I found some time to enjoy  Madison's Farmer's Market, the Zoo, a few festivals and the beaches.

We had our first football game on Thursday, Sept. 1, beating UNLV 51-17.  It was nearly 90 degrees at kick-off, one of the hottest games ever played at Camp Randall. 

Last week we had our softball kick-off meeting and classes began. Our men's hockey coach, Mike Eaves, addressed the softball team, sharing some words of wisdom and keys to success. Mike won a national championship as a student-athlete at Wisconsin in 1977 and led the Badgers to a national championship in 2006 as the head coach. Mike is competitive, dynamic and passionate. It's no wonder UW hockey leads the country in attendance, filling the Kohl Center with nearly 16,000 fans every home game. 
Mike shared Wisconsin hockey's focus this season, "PAD". "P" is for Persistent work ethic, "A" is for attitude and "D" is for discipline.

Persistent Work Ethic. The goal is to show up each day and truly focus on the task at hand. Get a little better every day. Create a ritual before stepping on the ice or field that allows you to tune out distraction and prepare to learn. Appreciate the opportunity to grow. Be deliberate about practice, do something that will turn your head around before entering the arena each day. 

Attitude. See everything as a challenge, negative attitudes only gets in the way of your progression. Mike spoke about the book "Talent Is Overrated", by Geoff Colvin. The greatest life lessons and achievements come from those who are determined and have great attitudes. If your approach is great, and you stay positive throughout the learning process, you'll surpass even those who walk through the doors with more talent.

Finally, Discipline. Discipline is not a bad thing. It's not only a word that means you've done something wrong. True self-discipline allows you to organize your life, prioritize your tasks and accomplish. Discipline is the opposite of chaos. If you had no order or organization to your schedule, you'd never get your homework finished, you'd never find anything in your room.  Discipline allows you to focus time on the most important tasks, prioritize your life and ultimately achieve your goals due to sacrifice and order.  

Our Badger softball team is so lucky to meet and learn from some of the best coaches in the country. After winning 30 games in 2011, we know our biggest challenge will be sustaining what we've started to create, and creating a culture of success.

Great athletic teams:
1) Create momentum.
2) Sustain moment.
3) Build a winning legacy. 

That's our goal for 2012.


Off the mat with coach Kyle Ruschell

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UWBadgers.com caught up with assistant wrestling coach Kyle Ruschell after recently completing World Team Training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA Wrestling world teams held training camps at the Olympic Training Center in preparation for the world championships in Istanbul, Turkey in September.

What is World Team Training camp?

The World Team Training camp has the top wrestlers in freestyle in the nation come to train together in Colorado Springs.

What is your training schedule like?

My training schedule is pretty similar to the guys. I am on the mat with them every day and working out when they do. I also travel to get freestyle instruction of my own. 

While I was out in Colorado Springs we had two workouts a day either wrestling twice, a lift and time on the mat or a run and then time on the mat. 

What did you learned at camp that you will bring back to Wisconsin?

I learned new technique and how to attack certain positions. While I was out there I also picked up how to get my point across to my wrestlers. By being part of the practices out there, I recognized new ways to run practices to give the guys in our room a different feel, instead of the same workout week-in and week-out.

Did you ever attend World Team Training camp as a student-athlete? If so, how is it different attending as a coach?

I did. While I was out there as a student all I looked at was new technique for me. Now when I go out there I watch every time a coach is doing something so I can bring it back to Wisconsin. Also, I never really paid attention to the flow of practice and how it needs to be planned out so you're not just bouncing all over the place.

What else have you been doing this summer?

This summer I have been in Wisconsin working with the guys, training for the Olympic trials in April and coaching wrestling camps.

What are you looking forward to this year at Wisconsin?

I am looking forward to our young guys stepping up with opportunity. These guys work hard and I know how bad they want to succeed. I am excited to help them reach their goals.