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On the road again

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It's been awhile, and I know I have been slacking. I have been all over the country over the past two weeks, and I have not found time to catch up on my blog. First and foremost, I have to wish all the mothers out there a very happy and belated Mother's Day. Even though I was on the soccer field all day in Temecula, Calif., I found the time to call my mother and wish her a very happy Mother's Day. 

My mother has always been my biggest supporter, and I don't remember her ever missing a game when I was palying in high school and club soccer. Her and my father would leave at 3 a.m. in the morning to drive to Amherst, Mass., to watch me play in college, and sometimes drive home the same day (a total of 14 hours of driving). I have been blessed with great and supportive parents, and I know I would not be where I am today without their love, support, and sometimes honest evaluation of my playing and coaching!

No excuses

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

I am really late this week with my blog because my week has been full of meetings and recruiting, but as my mother would say... don't make excuses.  I have a little time in between my seven meetings today to catch everyone up on the happenings of Wisconsin Soccer. I use these meetings to talk about the players' school, summer plans, health, and my expectations for them next year.  After these meetings, I always think I need more and more communication with players because I believe that is the foundation of a successful program. 

Our spring didn't go as well as I would have liked, mostly because of the number of injuries we sustained this spring.  My objective for the spring was to try players in different positions to see if different combinations worked better with one another.  We never had the opportunity to move people around as injuries slowly took our team over.  On the bright side, it did give some players a great opportunity to show me what they can do because we basically had just enough players to field a complete side.  With no substitutions, it was their time to shine.

Change is good

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

I have a little time between meetings and phone calls to give everyone an update on the workings of Wisconsin women's soccer. We returned from Dekalb, Ill., very late last night after playing NIU. First of all, thanks to all the parents and fans that made it out to the game despite the wind, drop in temperature, and little bit of rain. It seems like the weather is fantastic every day other than the day we are playing.

I was more pleased with our performance last night than I was with our performance in Milwaukee. After the weekend in Milwaukee, I felt the players needed to make a change with how we were playing and do a better job of controlling the things we can control in a soccer match. I have always felt 'earning the right to play' is the foundation of any good program, and I think we have been lacking some of that in our spring training and games.

Local competition

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

This will be a short blog today as I am really busy getting ready for the games this weekend and preparing for the recruits visiting on Sunday. This weekend we are headed to Marquette to play UWM and Marquette. As a coach I love these games in the spring. The games against the in-state rivals are always intense and fast paced, and it's great to see our players compete in that arena. I am just hoping the games are great and the weather is warm. This could be a good weekend.

Where does the time go?

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Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It has been a crazy/ busy week upon returning from spring break. It was a great time in our training for the break to come because I believe it gave time for the players to take a physical and mental break. It's hard to believe we only have 16 days of training this spring. The time has flown by so fast, and as a coach, I keep thinking of the things I want to work on this semester to prepare us for next fall. It never seems like enough time to accomplish everything I want to do on and off the field with the team.

Game on!

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

One more blog before spring break!!

I love a sunny day, and I love my drive into work along the Lake as my radio is playing the hits from the 80s and 90s. How can you not be happy to start your day listening to the Safety Dance or Maniac Monday?  

It is the Friday before spring break, and I feel like we are the only coaches working today. I have finished my last individual meetings for the week with the team. I make it a point in the spring to meet with each player to review their performance in the most recent games. I feel this feedback along with video and individual sessions really improves our player development in the spring. The spring is where we really have time to develop the team, so I view this as a very important time of the year.

Spring games underway

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

Another day and another blog! It was a crazy weekend this past weekend as we had three games in two days. Needless to say, the players were sore and tired at the end of our third game on Sunday afternoon.

We started the weekend with a match on Saturday against Illinois State in Normal, Ill.  I completely enjoyed the three and a half hour trip to Illinois State with a great group of players in my van. It was very quiet as they all studied in the van. We had a successful trip to Illinois State winning 4-1, but the game was a little funky as we only played 9 v 9.  It took a while for our players to figure out the system and get their rhythm back playing against outside competition. The big goal scorer of the game was Paige Adams with her first hat trick of her career here at Wisconsin.

After the game, we immediately got back in the vans and headed back to Madison. We got home around 8 pm just in time to have the players get home, eat and sleep to prepare for their next game at 10:30 am on Sunday. It was a grueling schedule, but we wanted to push the players out of their comfort zones physically.  We played Central Michigan at 10:30 am and drew, 0-0. I was disappointed with the result and performance. However, this is what the spring is all about, challenging players and playing them in different roles along with developing the entire program's mentality. As I told the players, this is a continuous process, and one we must continue to work on together. 

Spring has sprung in Madison!

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It's been difficult to keep up with my blog, because I have been traveling quite a bit these past few weeks. As I mentioned before, I was in Las Vegas this past weekend recruiting. The difficult part of recruiting this weekend was the weather in Las Vegas. The wind was absolutely incredible on Saturday and Sunday, and everyone who watches soccer knows how much the wind impacts the game. The wind was so bad that a goal toppled over, a goalkeeper scored off a punt, and several teams had difficulty crossing midfield when they were playing against the wind.

At times it was difficult to judge talent, but I was excited to watch several of the players we have identified and hope will come to Wisconsin. I never really had the chance to enjoy Las Vegas, as my flight was canceled leaving Madison on Thursday night. Therefore, I had to chance the early flight on Friday morning. Needless to say I wasn't happy to be getting up Friday morning at 3:45 am, only to get to Las Vegas to go to the fields immediately until 9 pm. It was a very long day!

All work and no play

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It is the second week of my blog, and what a busy week I have had already.

Monday was all about training in the morning and recruiting in the afternoon. I took a quick trip to the Chicago area to watch a game and sit on a recruiting panel. Needless to say, I got home at 12:30 am and got just enough sleep for training at 8 am on Tuesday. Tuesday was a great day as we had team training and several individual sessions. I was really pleased with the improvement I have seen with the players technically over the past few weeks. I did some office work, sending e-mails and making phone calls, and then headed to train a local club team. It is fun to work with younger players sometimes, as it gives me a different perspective as a coach.

Spring soccer and some other tidbits

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

With much encouragement from the staff on the fourth floor, I have decided to write a blog about the daily occurrence of the women's soccer program at Wisconsin and tidbits about Wisconsin along the way.

When I was a player at UMass, I believed coaching would be the ideal job, as you would only have to come in for training around 1 pm and be done by 4 pm each day. I was completely surprised when I got into coaching at Penn State that it was much more time intensive and physically demanding. I hope to walk you through our spring training and beyond.

We are currently in our nontraditional season, and we've had very busy days.  In the offseason, we spend a significant amount of time developing the players and the team's mentality through individual sessions, meetings, fitness training and team training. This is where we feel we develop the program and the team for next year. This Friday was a bit atypical, but it started at 8 am with the extra fitness group doing a workout for 30 minutes. At 8:30 am, the individual sessions started and we finished the last individual session around 1 pm. Today a bunch of players came onto the turf to do some extra individual stuff, which is always great to see. I have one meeting left with a player to discuss her fitness and her mentality to training, so today is a generally light day. I will finish up with some recruiting emails before the weekend.

The individual training has been great for me as a coach, as I get to know the players on a different level and get to address their specific needs. Monday we'll start the week off great, with training at 7:45 am. We are focusing on attacking in the final third this week in preparation for our upcoming matches, and I am hoping to see a difference in our movement off the ball in the final third.

Personally, this has been a great journey for me in my coaching career at Wisconsin. It has been a great challenge to rebuild a program, and it has had its ups and downs.  However, I truly believe I have grown as a coach, and I will continue to be challenged in the next few seasons. I have completely enjoyed my transition to Madison, and every Friday I find a new restaurant to eat at, so along with blogging about our spring training, I hope to let people know a little more about Madison and everything it has to offer. 

Well, I will focus on the food... I will have a food review for you next week. However, last night I went to Monty's Blue Plate on the east side for a piece of pie, and I have to suggest to everyone to try the pie from Monty's or at Hubbard if you are on the west side, so good. Last night was caramel apple walnut, and I will be back for another one. 

Also, to keep myself motivated to run, I have decided to try to run from my house in Madison, Wis. back to my hometown, Middletown, Pa.  It is a total of 810 miles, door to door (at least that is what Mapquest says), and I am attempting to run it by totaling my daily mileage running.  As of right now, I think I am somewhere near Milton, Wis, and I only have 765.5 miles to go to reach Middletown.  I will keep you updated.  Have a great weekend, and think about us coaches, as I will be meeting with a recruit on Saturday, no rest for the weary.

- Paula Wilkins


ON WISCONSIN