The double-beam, mode-controlling technique (DBMC) is a compact side-pumped laser design, very advantageous for systems based on active media with intermediate absorption cross section, such as Nd:YLiF4 (Nd:YLF). Recently, a record optical efficiency of 53.6% and 63.5% slope efficiency has been achieved for a Nd:YLF laser emitting at 1053 nm with diffraction limited beam quality. In this work we review our results using the DBMC design and present the latest achievements exploiting new ways to push the limit of this technique to higher pump powers. By narrowing down the laser emission bandwidth of the pump diode bar using a volume Bragg gratings (VBG) we increased the effective absorption cross section in the Nd:YLF crystal, improving the spatial overlap between pump and laser beam. With this setup the laser delivers 68 W peak fundamental mode output power at 115 W of QCW absorbed peak power, resulting near 60% of optical-to-optical efficiency which is, to the best of our knowledge, the highest efficiency ever reported for a Nd:YLF laser, considering even longitudinal pump schemes. The results reported here highlight the remarkable advantages of the side pumped DBMC laser scheme versus longitudinal pumped laser set-ups, showing that the efficiency of the side-pumped DBMC laser is not suppressed by its spatially weaker overlap between pump and laser mode and preserving single mode laser operation, even at high pump powers.