An interesting article from Dejan Kovacevic this morning, entitled ‘Pittsburgh Pirates Clueless About Winning’ is our topic. When the local ball club puts together a losing skid of epic proportions, one should expect an article which addresses the core of the organization.
The article talks about the Pirates’ Kyle Stark putting together a team-building exercise at Bradenton, and Dejan has some thoughts around the Pirates recent slump.
It’s a very well written piece considering what has happened in the 2012 Pirates season, and when read from an objective view point – not as pro or anti – Dejan makes some very interesting commentary that must be considered. Here is the story.
I choose to focus on just one aspect that I have some background with in my career. It might bore the shit out of you, so feel free to peel off anytime you like.
The Pirates will work with an organization composed of former Navy SEALS in order to accomplish a few different objectives.
The Bucs have worked with this group before – in spring training, as well as extended spring training. Stark outlined his goals, which aren’t in the article, but are on Dejan’s blog along with more detail.
The number one of the four objectives (and we can’t tell if they are ranked in any order) is below. Go check out Dejan’s blog at the Trib for the other three objectives–here is the link.
1. To give our guys a unique training experience to reinforce various lessons we stress all the time pertaining to leadership, team building and mental toughness (confident and calm under pressure).
We find this to be comical. Personally, I have trained with SEALS in Panama. In my line of work, I currently work with former Navy SEALS. I find them to be the second best – next to Army Rangers, of course – people I have worked with in my life after the military.
But I also have learned this from facilitating team-building for a large number of years. Not everyone is into team-building. Not at all. I’ve heard people moan and groan about doing a ropes course, a zip line, and making a boat that will float out of cardboard.
“Kumbaya” isn’t for everyone. For some people, it freaks them out so much it can bring them to emotional frustration.
Many of you will say, “Well, the Pirates organization could benefit from the conditioning, and the players can benefit mentally from such an exercise run by former Navy Seals.” Let me tell you what – I entirely agree with you. And personally I would charge you a lot of money for such a program. It’s not discussed, but the price tag on this would interest me. Especially when considering how many of these players will make the big leagues.
But my point is this: doing things that put people outside of their comfort zones is risky shit. We use a “challenge by choice” approach, but people have paid me some serious cash to conduct team-building, so if they don’t want to be challenged, it’s duly noted and I back off.
The company pays just as much attention to those people who choose not to be challenged as those that excel at such exercises.
We might be wrong, but this exercise the Pirates are undertaking hardly seems optional.
We trust that a player isn’t pushed into an injury situation, it just seems like the type of headline that would captivate DEADSPIN:
PIRATES 56th RANKED PROSPECT INJURED WHILE DOING HIS 19th PULLUP IN A US NAVY SEALS LED EXERCISE
It also makes us curious if the Pirates are keeping a scorecard on the team-building program, because anyone that knows anything about team-building, knows there isn’t a scoreboard. What if a prospect fails miserably at a certain aspect of this training? Do the players know up front that there are no repercussions? We really hope so.