Feb. 15, 2014
After taking over the program in May, Jan Dowling used U-M's four-tournament fall season to gauge where her program was at and what the Wolverines needed to focus on during the winter break. The last three-and-a-half months have been non-stopping learning and practice prepping for the upcoming spring season schedule. Concentrating on conditioning, technique, swing work and overall short game play, the Wolverines had a very busy winter break; one Dowling hopes will pay off when postseason play begins in late April. After a winter training trip to Florida, the Wolverines are ready to open its five-tournament schedule with the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. Exploring that topic in-depth, Dowling took a few minutes from practice to talk with MGoBlue.com for a spotlight segment.
On offseason winter practices and workouts ... "We had a great couple months of practice in here. They were very focused practices, very individualized practices and we did a lot of competitive team practices on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and I've got to give a ton of credit to our team. Between Coach Mary (Mattson) and I, we can bring together the greatest drills in the world but if they don't come in completely focused and ready to compete, they're not going to be getting much better. Every time we set something up for the team they came in and brought their A-game and competed down to the last point possible, so we're very fortunate to be able to get the work in that we need to in our facility."
On some of what the competitive challenges the team practiced ... "A lot of short-game stuff, like pressure putting and pressure chipping. We didn't do much of the full-swing stuff within the team competitions. That was saved for their individual practices."
On whether they're ready for Puerto Rico ... "Yeah, I think so. I know we're very excited to get down there. I know we also had a wonderful training weekend two weekends ago that got us playing golf off grass, which was a nice perk to have and it really gave the program confidence heading into our first tournament with the work that we did over the winter plus our training weekend, we're ready to go. We're going to have a great practice around and really dissect the golf course and be ready to tee it up on Sunday."
On expectations of winning in the spring season ... "I think our focus has always been to do the best that we can in every single situation, every shot we hit, every hole we play and every practice that we play. If we're doing that, I've got to say that's a successful tournament, or season, or month, or whatever that may be. As long as we're moving forward and working hard to get better every day and working hard to do our best in every single situation that we're in, I think that we're going to have a great spring season."
On the course management aspect of the game ... "There's a lot introduced in the fall and I think they've had time to let that sink in, and it's now become part of our normal routine. When we're out there this spring, we're going to be doing what we've done all fall and that's not going to change. We're going to approach every tournament and every round of golf the exact same way and prepare the best we can."
On how coach spent her winter break ... "One of the highlights was a nice, relaxing break with my family. I did a lot of cross-country-skiing with my mom and my brother, I spent some time with my nieces and nephew and just enjoyed Ann Arbor. I've finally settled into this great down, and I enjoyed being home when I could be."
On the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor ... "I did go to the Winter Classic (and cheered for) the winning team. I've also been watching a lot of our basketball team. Basketball is one of my favorite sports, so I've taken in a lot of games. We've been to every home game I've been in town for."
Previous Spotlight: Catherine Peters