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Posted in: Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

What one book has influenced you most as a coach?

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  • StevieP

    I'm an avid reader, I probably read 2 - 3 books a week on average. I try to take at least one learning point from every book I read and obviously some books are more impactful than others.

    I'd be interested to know which one book you've read influenced you most from a coaching perspective, and why?

    Mine has to be Legacy by James Kerr. A really insightful research into what makes the All Blacks 'tick'. This book has really helped me to develop my work on how individuals integrate their own values and belief systems with those of their team or group.

  • AndyEdwards

    Hi Steve. I read Legacy very recently, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but the book that has probably influenced me most is Developing Decision Makers by Lynn Kidman - reading it boosted my confidence in the way I believe in coaching. I recently offered to lend it to a youth football 'coach' that didn't stop shouting at the kids playing for the whole match...

  • coachmessam

    A very interesting question Steve, like you I enjoy reading however I do not manage to read the volume of work you are getting through per week. I am currently reading the work of Dweck which I am finding interesting, I am trying to introduce the whole idea of 'growth mind set' in to the work I do with the regional squads, getting the players to see beyond their tight boundaries *** open themselves up to growth. 

    There are a number of books that I could offer as most influential however I am going to select Sacred Hoops, Phil Jackson. The work was really the start of my interest in to coaching behaviour, (typicall Basketball Coach's are 'screamers & shouters', and to see a coach that was removed from this type of behaviour was refreshing). Reading his work identified the time that he puts in to building a team and the level of empowerment he affords his players.

  • StevieP

    I'm a big believer in growth mindset Samuel and have read a few interesting books on the topic. I'll have to take a look at Dweck. I've heard some good reviews of Sacred Hoops but never read it....yet!

  • StevieP

    Hi Andy, I moved away from youth football for just the reason you mention. There seemed to be so much aggression from the touchline, both parents and coaches. Having said that I've started working recently with a local youth team coach as a volunteer mentor and I think attitudes at that level are definitely changing

  • saranicolehilton

    There are so many!! One of my most recent reads was A Modern Coach Soccer Coach 2014: A Four Dimensional Approach. I really enjoyed it, it gives a great insight into being a coach who incorporates all four dimensions of coaching: tactical, technical, physical and psychological. I read many things that I recognise in myself as a coach. It's a great observation of being a coach in today's sporting world. 

  • StevieP

    Thanks Sara. The four dimensions of a coach sounds an interesting concept

  • NickRuddock

    The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters was a game changer for me. It has helped me to better understand the emotions of myself and others, and respond better in testing situations. Would thoroughly recommend. 

  • Benjamin

    I enjoyed the Chimp paradox as well.  I believe that understanding and controlling your own emotions is the key to having better relationships with other people, whether in a coaching context or on a personal level.

    I would recommend The Three Levels of Leadership by Scouller.  this is probably the book that has most influenced me in recent times 

  • StevieP

    The Chimp Paradox is an awesome book. I've just re-read it for the 4th time!!

  • pickeringr05

    I`ve just finished reading Matthew Syed`s "Black Box Thinking" which I enjoyed more than "Bounce"! Also I enjoyed "Talent is overrated".

    Just started Alex Ferguson`s book "Leading", only a couple of pages into it so can`t say what it`s like as of yet.

  • StevieP

    I would be interested to find out what you think about Alex Ferguson's book. I'm debating whether to buy it or not

  • CatherineBaker

    Like Steve I loved Legacy, and have also really enjoyed reading books such as the Chimp Paradox, and Bounce (and have Black Box Thinking in my pile of books to read).  One that hasn't been mentioned yet is Bill Walsh's The Score Takes Care of Itself - often quoted as Stuart Lancaster's 'bible'. Like Legacy it has a big focus on environment and culture, and Bill Walsh distilled it down into his 'Standard of Performance' - the environment of excellence that guided everything he did at the 49ers.  Also enjoyed reading Rasmus Ankersen's The Gold Mine Effect - Crack the Secrets of High Performance. Incidentally I have been asked to deliver some leadership training alongside James Kerr - I am very much looking forward to meeting him!

  • CatherineBaker

    Thanks for this David - I will really look forward to reading this. Delighted to hear about your focus on emotional intelligence - we know from the programmes that we run the impact that working on you EI can have both in business and in sport.

  • StevieP

    I've just finally bought the Score Takes Care of Itself Catherine. I've heard so much about this book and am looking forward to getting started on it

  • pickeringr05

    I'm about half way through the Alex Ferguson book. Not really what was hoping for to be honest, it may improve but not the most insightful book I've read!

  • Wendyrussell

    Just wondering if any updates on books people have read? 

    Reading a lot of creative thinking books! One at the moment "The art of creative thinking" Whilst not about sports, can be easily linked.

  • CoachBerenyi


    It has to be Danny Coyle's Talent Code for me, as it explains "growth mindset" from not only a social and psychological point of view but also from a biological. Showing us how "myelin" helps us to think/move faster and how we can influence the growth of it.

    My first coaching book was Clive Woodward's Winning which gave me a very interesting isight into high performance coaching and the importance of "critical non-essentials" or as the cycling community calls it "marginal gains".

  • StevieP

    Hi Peter

    I also read Clive Woodward's book and you're so right, it was fascinating learning how he focused on the smaller details of creating a world class squad, as you say very much in line with the marginal gains approach in cycling

  • StevieP

    Hi Wendy

    I'm just working my way through an older book that I've not read before, The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley. Whilst it's essentially a cricket focused book it has provided a number of key pointers for applying in many other team orientated sports. Especially around how the captain's role has changed over the years and how a true captain (or leader) has the ability to tap into a diverse range of skillsets - technical, psychological, motivational, decision making, problem solving plus concentrating on their own performance

  • drscottyian

    Two books ... James  Counsilman's Science of Swimming when I was 15 or 16 years of age. It opened my eyes to what I perceived to be another world ... that of the thinking coach. He was a giant amongst swim coaches and, although I am no longer involved with swimming, his book still resonates in my mind due to its multi-disciplinary scientific detail, allied to an obvious practical knowledge and love for his sport. 

    The other book is Terry Orlick's Every Kid Can Win. This book brought to my consciousness that winning was not always about excelling in competitive pursuits, but that every child could benefit from sport if sport was organised differently and worked for them. It was a life changer. I still help aspiring champions in sport. However, this book takes much of the credit for opening my mind to the wider benefits of sport, challenged my philosophy of coaching, and made me evaluate my practices. It helped to settle my mind about assisting everyone to get what they want from sport irrespective of ability or level of commitment. 

  • KateO

    Great post! 

    I have read loads too.... Chimp paradox, I love the concept but by about 2/3 in I get a bit bored as you kind of get the idea, so I have to admit to not finishing it (twice)

    Strangely, the book that got me thinking most about my coaching was Rod Ellingham's Rainbow Jersey. It's a great journey of long term goals, team building, talent development, luck and how everything fits together. 

  • batty

    for me, it has to be "with winning in mind" by Lanny Bassham

    Mainly a psychology type book but well worth a read!

  • StevieP

    Hi Kate

    I've not heard of Rainbow Jersey but as I need a new book to read at the moment I'll check this one out

  • StevieP

    Sounds reight up my street that one Michelle. I'll take a look at it today

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