The 12 Pillars of Peak Peformance

  • by Brian Cain

In my experience as a peak performance coach working with many of the top college and high school baseball programs in the country, I have noticed that they implement many of The 12 Pillars of Peak Performance. If you observed these programs (TCU, Vanderbilt, Oregon State, Coastal Carolina, Houston, East Carolina, Texas A&M, Cal State Fullerton, Ole Miss etc.) their coaches would probably not use the exact terminology, but following these principles is exactly what makes their programs great.

I have no formal research that shows a direct correlation between the number of The 12 Pillars of Peak Performance that a team implements and their winning percentage, yet I created the framework for The 12 Pillars of Peak Performance from my work with these top coaches and programs over the last 15 years.

PILLAR #1 – ELITE MINDSET

They have a consistent process for teaching what an elite mindset is. Whether it be using the classroom on a consistent basis
to teach mindset, doing a “Navy SEAL” type of training on a consistent basis or breaking down books as a team, they know that to have a growth mindset is to give yourself the best chance for success, and that mindset can be trained just like the physical aspects of baseball.

PILLAR #2 – CHAMPIONSHIP CULTURE

They have a distinct set of principles or values that drive the behavior in their culture. They know that leadership is responsible for driving culture, which drives behavior, which drives results. Principle-based leaders have a domino effect in increasing their teams’ culture, behaviors and results.

PILLAR #3 – TIME IS TICKING

They have a healthy sense of urgency. They work relentlessly day to day and realize that the most important day of the season is always today.

PILLAR #4 – KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

They know that measurement drives motivation, and they measure and post competitions in training on a consistent basis. They
also know their key performance metrics that are stat-based and lead to winning—such as free bases, scoring first or big innings— and then train to be great in those areas.

PILLAR #5 – SAIL THE RIGHT SHIPS

They focus on leadership and relationships. Average programs talk about winning championships. Great programs talk about and work to improve leadership and relationships knowing that championships are a byproduct of those ever important ships.

PILLAR #6 – PRESENT MOMENT FOCUS

They train their team to compete one pitch at a time and to be where their feet are. They often have a form of mental practice such as a meditation or yoga training that they do to help their athletes learn to get present in a world of distraction.

PILLAR #7 – PROCESS OVER OUTCOME

They focus on controlling the controllable aspects of the game and surrender to the process. They know they don’t control the results and yet get more results than their competition. Like the Greek god of philosophy and archer, Apollo, these programs have a target that they’re super committed to hitting, yet remain unattached to the act of actually hitting it.

PILLAR #8 – ATTITUDE DETERMINES ALTITUDE

They are full of energy givers and weed out the energy suckers. They teach and live positive in a game of failure and don’t just embrace adversity, they thrive on it and seek it on a daily basis.

PILLAR #9 – EVERYTHING HAPPENS TWICE

Like Skip Bertman and his five-time national champion LSU Tigers, they know that everything happens twice, first in your mind and then in reality. They invest in mental imagery, highlight videos and shadow bullpens knowing that these are an essential part of preparation and sharpening your mental game before competition, so that you can project more confidence and play with a pre-determined edge.

PILLAR #10 – ROUTINES & HABITS OF EXCELLENCE

They are built on system and structure. They know that the bigger your goal, the tighter your routine must be and they have
tight routines. These coaches map out every minute of their day and a few of them take golf carts to the office since they live so close, knowing that time lost in transit is time you are falling behind the competition.

PILLAR #11 – RECOGNIZE YOUR SIGNAL LIGHTS

They teach A.T.W. (Awareness to Win). They build awareness in their athletes to know when they are in control (green light), losing control (yellow light) and have lost control (red light).

PILLAR #12 – RELEASE & REFOCUS

They train their players how to release the red and yellow lights so that they can get back into green lights, back into being in control of themselves and back into their best competitive state to win the next pitch.

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