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White Belt Mentality with Bernie Holliday - Pittsburgh Pirates, Director of Learning

The best performers have black belt skills and a white belt mentality. Pittsburgh Pirates Director of Learning, Bernie Holliday, breaks down what goes into having a white belt mentality and how to cultivate that mindset in your own life.

In this conversation with ReliaQuest Mental Performance coaches Dr. Nicole Detling and Derin McMains,  Bernie discusses:

  • The advantages of having a “Challenge Mindset” vs. “Threat Mindset”
  • Strategies around motivational interviewing
  • How vulnerability makes you stronger

Bernie Holliday has worked as a full-time mental performance professional with high performing individuals, teams, and organizations for over twenty years.  Currently, Bernie is the Director of Learning for the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club.  He’s worked full-time for the Pirates for 15 seasons, teaching mental performance principles and techniques to their 100+ coaches and 300+ players to improve their:

  • on-field performance under pressure,
  • resilience
  • adaptability when facing times of adversity,
  • ability to thrive in various learning environments,
  • and overall sense of meaning and fulfillment at work and in life beyond the ballpark.

Prior to his work with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bernie worked as a Performance Enhancement Instructor for the Center for Enhanced Performance at The United States Military Academy at West Point for 4 years.  There he taught sport psychology principles to NCAA Division 1 cadet-athletes to improve their athletic, academic, and military performance.  As that role expanded to the larger US Army, he spent two additional years at West Point as the Master Trainer for the Army Center for Enhanced Performance, teaching peak performance principles to Army Soldiers and units while also training a staff of 50+ sport psychology professionals to provide sport psychology services in military settings nationwide.

In addition to his full-time work, Bernie has enjoyed supporting numerous part-time and short duration “passion projects.”  He’s currently working closely with Pitt Volleyball, Pitt Men’s Soccer, and LMU Beach Volleyball as their mental performance coach and has accompanied the three teams to a collective five NCAA Final Four appearances and an additional four Elite Eight finishes across their past five seasons.

ReliaQuest is a global leader in cybersecurity. ReliaQuest helps enterprise cybersecurity teams increase visibility, reduce complexity and manage risk through its security operations platform, GreyMatter.  Powered by decades of experience and streamlined by AI and automation, ReliaQuest exists to Make Security Possible. Learn more about ReliaQuest at:

Bernie Holliday LinkedIn Profile:

Dr. Nicole Detling LinkedIn Profile:

Derin McMains LinkedIn Profile:

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