Monday, February 4, 2013

Proper Preparation Produces Peak Performers

This will be new Astros Manager Bo Porter's mantra for his players from Day One. Proper Preparation Produces Peak Performers. This is what we heard from Porter as various members of the blogging community talked with him at last Saturday's Fan Fest. I wanted to include some of the actual audio from that Q&A because I was struck by how the recorder picked up Porter's punctuation of his words, fingers firmly tapping the table for emphasis.

Proper Preparation Produces Peak Performers.

This response came in connection with a question posed by Terri from the Tales from the Juice Box blog about fundamentals, about doing the little things right. According to Porter, the little things aren't necessarily so little, "I'm a firm believer that anything that can cause you to lose a baseball game is major."

He went on to elaborate on the importance of mental as well as physical preparation by the players:

And you get the feeling that Porter has prepared himself well for this opportunity. Every answer he gives comes quickly and emphatically. He is a man who knows what he wants and has thought long and hard about the best way to get there.

When I asked Porter if he had any prior relationships with any of the Astros minor league coaching staffs, he brushed the question aside as unimportant. What matters to him are the relationships and cohesion going forward, "When minor league camp opens, I will address the entire minor league camp, the players, coaches, staff, the support staff." He will make it his business to establish a relationship because he contends, "One of the problems than can exist is ... a disconnect from the major leagues to the minor leagues. We're not going to have that here. It will be completely one family. We're all in this thing together. And from the minor leagues to the major leagues, it will be the Houston Astros way."

Aside from preparation by the players, Porter will want to see their competitive natures emerge at Spring Training as well, "One of the best things when you talk about our organization, where we're at right now, is the fact that there's a lot of opportunity. And with opportunity comes competition. And I think competition is one of the best things for competitive athletes. If you can't compete against each other, how can you compete against another team?"

Porter asserts that he will do everything in his power to prepare these players for success, including his embrace of data produced by the Astros Analytics Department, "We would be foolish not to take advantage of all of the material that's made readily available to us that can help the outcome of games." But he is also a realist, "At the end of the day, it may turn out that the player's not good enough. And if the player's not good enough, we need to find another player and that's the reality of the business that we're in."

When all is said and done, I think it will become evident that Porter's mantra is meant for him as much as it is meant for the players. And I think he is just fine with that because he's been preparing for this opportunity for a very long time. Proper Preparation Produces Peak Performers.

Bo Porter - Fan Fest 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

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