Front Office

4 Things Rick Peterson’s Crunch Time Can Teach You About Running Your Sports Program

By LeagueApps
April 6, 2017
4 min


Former MLB pitching coach and author Rick Peterson dropped by the LeagueApps office recently to deliver some reframing strategies based on his book Crunch Time: How To Be Your Best When It Matter Most. Reframing is Rick’s pitching secret and it enables you to see a pressure situation with a new perspective.

The reframing strategy originated for pitchers in the majors and was a big reason for Rick’s success with several organizations, including the Moneyball Oakland Athletics of the early 2000s. Today, Rick and Lelia O’Connor deliver these same principles to businesses and other organizations looking to succeed in their respective industries.

These same strategies can be useful for sports directors and organizers like you who are looking to grow their programs. Here are 4 things the LeagueApps team learned that can help you do just that.

Open Up To A New Perspective

In Crunch Time, Rick offers six reframing strategies intended for the reader to shift their perspective of a threat to an opportunity in which you can shine. Several examples are littered throughout the book from Rick’s work with some of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball of the last 20 years.

For organizations or programs that have lofty goals- whether that’s recruiting, retention, coaching, or expansion- sometimes the pressure can mount. During these stressful times, try to look at the current situation in a new or different way.  Partnership Development Specialist Brian Koffler offers a quick solution when faced with pressure.

“Take time to relax the mind and the body,” he said. “Take some deep breaths and close your eyes for two minutes.” This is just enough time to put yourself or your staff in a new state of mind.

Like Rick’s athletes, the LeagueApps team will be using this same reframing strategy to reach our goals. “Our goal of 110% is something that we’ve never done as a company. This has set the bar for high expectations,” said Basketball Consultant Nick Sutedjo.

“In order to do something we’ve never done, we’re going to have to do things we’ve never done before. I think the entire reframe mindset and seeing things in a different perspective is key to us pushing our limits and achieving 110%.”

Mindfulness Equals Overpreparation Equals Performance

Mindfulness is described as “paying attention in a particular way- on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally [Crunch Time, p. 80].” It teaches you to be in the present moment and to keep your emotions in check, especially during pressure situations.

Rick practices mindfulness daily to gain clarity of thought. The book also provides several others examples of different CEOs, executives, and elite performers that practice daily activities to clear their minds. Decades of experience have shown Rick that even more than physical skills, it’s the mindsets of elite performers that separates them from the pack.

This mindfulness allows the best players to produce mental boosts during preparation. Repetition is good to prepare, but not enough. Elite performers, like Michael Jordan or Michael Phelps, intentionally overprepare so they are ready for any chaos in competition. To them, preparation is simply performing at their best without trying, while overpreparation gives them the confidence during crunch time.

“Overpreparation gives you the right to be confident,” Director of Marketing Ammad Sheikh said.

Vice President of Sales Cameron Goldberg added, “it is always a great reminder that preparation is key to building confidence, fighting the caveman, and understanding that it is key to have data points coming into any situation.”

Hit The Glove

In his book, Rick throws out the example of working with Jason Isringhausen, then relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics. He was standing in front of 57,000 fans New York Yankee fans during the playoffs. After Jason told Rick he couldn’t feel his legs, Rick responded by telling Jason to simply focus on what he does every day and just ‘hit the glove.’ The A’s won three batters later.

The idea of ‘hitting the glove’ is pretty basic. When faced with pressure, the task ahead can seem daunting. Rather than focus on the large problem in front of you, like nearly 60,000 fans screaming at you, reframe your perspective on the catcher’s glove.

“It’s all about breaking large goals into smaller chunks to help strategically attack and manage something that could seem overwhelming,” Baseball Consultant Alex Wolf explained.

“It’s important to trust the process and believe in your ability that got you to this point. You can’t let fear, worry or doubt negatively affect your performance,” Partnership Consultant Michael Kleinman said.

Failure Is An Opportunity For Comeback

The sports of baseball and softball do fine jobs in teaching young athletes how to fail. The best players in history fail 70% of the time. These sports celebrate athletes that fail less. However, whoever you are and whatever your age, there will always be a fear of failure.

“We have a choice in how we think of positive or negative events in our lives,” Brian said. “When we hear failure, we think negatively.”

Rick emphasizes reframing your word usage. For instance, rather than using the word ‘fail,’ think of it as a ‘learning moment.’ In his experience, those who see learning moments rather than failures are the ones that bounce back the fastest from adversity.

“Everyone loves a comeback story. These learning moments, or setbacks, are perfect opportunities to reframe your perspective and shape your comeback story,” Partner Success Manager Asaf Winer explained.

When those setbacks happen, it is inevitable that you will receive feedback. Do you respond to the feedback better or bitter? Alex Wolf has his answer.

“Always have a positive attitude and realize that the only way to improve the situation is to face it and react in a way that will create a better outcome.”