Pittsburgh Pirates: Focusing on Innovation and Quality Coaching to Overcome Financial Disadvantage

In the absence of having significant financial resources, the Pittsburgh Pirates try to focus on innovation and the quality of the coaching they offer their players.

In just over a month, eight MLB teams will enter the 2024 season with payrolls in excess of $200 million. Meanwhile, at the other end of the food chain, organizations like the Oakland A’s and the Pittsburgh Pirates will respectively have to get by on budgets of 45, 5 and 67.6 million.

The fight, we agree, will be downright unequal. But that doesn’t stop the Pirates from looking to narrow the gap. Due to lack of money, they seek to improve themselves in other ways.

A few weeks ago, just before the training camps got underway, André Lachance was able to see this when he was invited to give a talk at the Sommet des Pirates .

By organizing this event, the Pirates leaders wanted to provide space for growth for their management team and their main coaches. They thus wanted to allow them to share ideas, experiences, strategies and perhaps even to develop a certain complicity. Most importantly, Pirates leaders sought to expose their employees to innovative schools of thought to help them become more effective in their daily jobs.

And this is how André Lachance found himself on the short list of invited speakers. Regulars of this column have already heard of Lachance, whose expertise in the development of coaches, athletes and sports systems is constantly sought after on the international scene.

A few years ago, Lachance left the management position he held at Baseball Canada to join Cirque du Soleil, where he is now responsible for identification and design. talent development (the castingas they say in the entertainment industry).

In my eyes, this invitation was beneficial in both directions. I was going there to give a little information to the Pirates staff, but I was also going to get some information to help me become better in my work at the Cirque. For example, I wanted to know how the Pirates measure the fatigue level of their athletes, how their organization works and how they develop their players, he explains.

The Pirate Summit brought together around 80 people. There we found in particular the general director Ben Cherington with his assistants and advisors, as well as all the coordinators and flying coaches of the organization such as, for example, the coaches responsible for the development of receivers or infield players.

Listening to him recount these few days spent around the Pirates, two observations from André Lachance particularly attract attention.

Accustomed to participating in similar events in the company of leaders of high-level sports organizations, the Quebec expert said he was impressed by the degree of listening and open-mindedness of the Pirates staff.

The level of listening and involvement of the participants was so high that I even wondered if this was a criterion for hiring the organization, confides Lachance.

The latter was also struck by the thirst for innovation of the Pirates’ leaders.

It was interesting to see to what extent a team that doesn’t have a lot of financial resources turns over all the stones in order to be able to do things well differently. There are undoubtedly many organizations that do not make as much effort. But to stand out, they probably have no choice but to look elsewhere and do things differently.

So, what are we talking about at a summit bringing together 80 people who already know their sport like the back of their hand?

Participants were obviously treated to workshops on the latest trends in the development of hitters, infielders, trail running or athlete physical conditioning. your. But we also discussed several heterodox subjects.

For example, one speaker gave a presentation on the fact that, statistically, scoring the first point in a match results in more wins.

Once science shows that we win more often when we score first, we must ask ourselves what we can do to score the first point more often. This gives rise to really interesting conversations, says André Lachance.

Is it desirable to adopt more daring strategies at the start of the match? Should we train differently to get players used to being on alert from the first round? Who knows.

Another expert came to explain what a high performance culture consists of and what are the triggers and values ​​that create a collective identity.

This presentation made the participants think a lot and it allowed me to learn things. It was very interesting, he observes.

For his part, Lachance presented a program developed at Cirque du Soleil which aims to maximize the confidence of athletes when they return to their functions after having treated an injury.

There is a correlation between the athlete’s level of confidence and their ability to return to normal activities. And we have a program at Cirque called Confidence by design and which focuses on anything that can be said or done that could be likely to raise or lower the confidence level of an athlete during their rehabilitation period.

And when we dig deeper, we realize that injured athletes lose a good part of their identity when we remove them from the entourage of their team or their sporting environment. For Cirque athletes, it’s the same thing when we take them away from their show team, he explains.

The Cirque program therefore consists of adopting strategies that allow injured athletes to remain positively connected with their competitive (or performing) environment instead of isolating them during their convalescence.

Recent news has taught us that the Canadian is adopting such an approach with young center Kirby Dach, who regularly participates in viewing and discussion sessions. ideas with his coaches during his long rehabilitation period.

Dach is recovering, but he remains in contact with his coaches and the team’s entourage. We seek his opinion and continue to ask him to analyze games and think like a hockey player. We created a positive environment for him.

At the end of the day, these knowledge sharings are always positive. They allow all participants to be better when they return to their workplace. If we want to continue to innovate and progress, we have no choice. We must open up to others, believes the Quebec expert.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have not had a winning season since 2018 and have not made the playoffs since 2015. It will be interesting to see if, through innovation, their leaders will manage to do like those of the Tampa Bay Rays and experience constant success despite their imposing economic disadvantage.

2024-02-21 22:11:05
#Pittsburgh #Pirates #thirst #innovation


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