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Posted in: Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

What one book has influenced you most as a coach?

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  • CoachD12345

    Wow! There are so many great titles here. I have a very long shopping list now.  One of my favourites is The Talent Code but I have a stack of summer reading to go through.  Can anyone put them in priority order for me?  They are......"Beyond Winning", "Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise", "The Teammates", "Playing To Win", "Top Dog", "The Way of The Champion".

    Thanks for all of the title suggestions.

  • jasoneady

    I read a few autobiography's, coaching books and training course materials which can all be inspirational and change what I do however, Its not actually a book that I think has made the single simple difference to how I approach training . But it is "Train Ugly Block v Random (http://trainugly.com/portfolio/block-random-practice/). Reason being is that there is lots of articles on coaching, drills, player centred, but this seemed to hit things in a slightly different for me.

  • robertkmaaye
    On 19/05/17 9:17 AM, Jason Eady said:

    Train Ugly Block v Random (http://trainugly.com/portfolio/block-random-practice/). Reason being is that there is lots of articles on coaching, drills, player centred, but this seemed to hit things in a slightly different for me.

    Train Ugly is a great site that Trevor runs! We've shared lots of his videos on ConnectedCoaches including the Block v Random Practice: Read, Plan, Do that you mention Jason. If you search this site for Trevor Ragan you'll find some of the other videos shared on here. But I would definitely recommend any others reading this thread check out his website as it's excellent. I know other members like  Elly Moore Andy Edwards are big fans as well and would also recommend it!


  • SOKTownsend

    I would have to say Bounce by Matthew Syed - gave great insight into how we can improve our ability to motivate students/athletes without dismissing their "lack of talent" or perceived abilities.

    I'm currently coaching rugby in Canada & you can see how the lack of exposure to the sport early on influences the players intuition & reading of the game (with some exceptions). It enables me to maintain perspective & not get frustrated when concepts aren't fully understood in the time frame that I would consider "normal" or acceptable coming from the UK.

  • Strangecloud

    Perfect Practice by Doug Lemov. This book is utterly brilliant, changed my whole view.

  • DeniseHolland

    The Inside Out Revolution - Michael Neill

  • KJMillar

    Zen and the Art of Archery

  • EllyNetball

    Yes ... LOVE Trevor Ragan's Train Ugly approach.

    Recent engaging reads include: 'Black Box Thinking' (Matthew Syed) and 'Top Dog: the science of winning & losing' (Bronson & Merryman).

    Currently reading 'The Sports Gene' (Epstein).

    Next on the list is to re-read 'Bounce' (Syed); and then I'll take a look at some of the other CC recommendations laughing

  • Gbscot1975

    A few that i have found beneficial are black box thinking by Syed ,5 steps to a winning mindset Damien Hughes ,The pressure Principle Dave Aldred but as said before Legacy by james Kerr is the one I keep going back to.

    I am a suscriber to train ugly highly recommend it 

  • Taekwondo

    I found successful coaching 3rd edition Rainer martens very useful as a basic all around coaching tool , and sports psychology concepts and applications fifth edition Richard h cox also very constructive and helpful , these deal with a broad spectrum of coaching issues and are easily understood 

  • Spike

    I'd recommend "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle.

    Very interesting book which looks at the way in which people are firstly engaged to want to try something and then driven to want to do well at it.

    Coupled with the biological way in which the brain learns skills this is very much worth a read.

  • Gouldy

    Hi Steve,

    Chimp Paradox is the book that really raised self awareness about thoughts and emotional thinking, this of course had positive impact on me as a coach and how I relate to others but also enabled me to be better attuned to others.

    The Pressure Principle by Dr Dave Aldred is a brilliant book in my opinion. It discusses the notion of 'pressure', how it can manifest, the impacts of pressure and ways of managing it. Again can help provide very useful insight into yourself.

    A book I am reading just now is.. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. The book gives attention to judgement and decision making, how it materializes and how our experiences impact on our judgments and decisions we make as coaches... 

  • jhcoaching

    I liked Alex Ferguson's book - definitely worth a read, but I'm probably with the Steve Peters crowd as the most influencial book I've read. That and The Complete Middle Distance Runner by Frank Horwill and co.. 

  • BarbAugustin

    Hi John - which one of Alex Ferguson's? "Leading", "Will to Win" or his autobiography? Thanks, Barb

  • jhcoaching

    "Leading", I haven't read his other books.

  • cath

    Dave MacCleod's '8 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes' - it's a distillation of all the myriad things rock climbers try in training in order to improve their climbing and it's THE THINGS THAT WORK, so time poor people who work and want to improve don't waste valuable time trying stuff that doesn't have such good outcomes.

    Also, Make or Break by the same author, the Holy Grail of injury prevention.

  • kraichura

    Black Box Thinking and Top Dog (not sure I've finished that actually!) are both full of really useful insights and stories.

    Really felt like I've gained a lot of knowledge from them.

  • Reversestick

    Great post Steve, 

    I have 3...

    The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle - the section on master coaching has so much gold within it! 

    The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin - his description of becoming totally engrossed and absorbed in learning is soectacular! 

    Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov - although this is aimed at teachers and is based on the classroom the techniques that are shared in the book work for anyone concerned with learning and development. 

    Hope these help 


  • crlbarnes

    'Coaching Better Every Season' by Wade Gilbert. This one has hit me fairly recently, for Head or Lead Coaches it's fantastic. It is utterly comprehensive, it covers setting culture and mindset, through practice planning, through competition and to post-season review. It has lots of relatable references to successful teams in many sports, I am thoroughly enjoying reading it. Recommended!

  • GlennSweeney

    Just finished a book of immense standing . "No hunger in paradise " by Michael Calvin.Not only is it packed with great coaching philosophies and practices ,it also highlights the dark side that football clubs use to manipulate aspiring kids and gullible/greedy parents. eye-opener. must for all coaches and parents of all sports

    Glenn Sweeney

  • chriswyles95

    There are 2 books that have massively influenced not just the way that I coach, but every domain of my life. 'The Talent Code' by Daniel Coyle and 'Mindset' by Dr Carol Dweck are absolute must reads in my opinion. So many people, both players and coaches (including myself at one point), are stuck in what Dweck describes as the 'fixed' mindset. Dweck is writing about how if we can change our attitude towards challenges, failures, competition and success, and basically see everything as an opportunity for learning, then we will be developing much stronger mindsets in ourselves and in our athletes.

    Similarly Coyle, in 'The Talent Code', discusses how that learning process looks in practical application, and proves to us that skills development really is a case of perfect practice makes perfect (almost). Obviously there are certain genetic limitations on an individuals eventual ability to reach an elite performance standard in some sports. But for everyone else, there is no real reason why you can't develop an advanced skill set in whatever sport you are involved in.

    These books give such powerful tools to use in your own lives and not just on the sports pitch. What these books offer is guidance on not just developing great athletes, but great people as well. And I think the people side of it is a massive part of the reason why we coach!


  • shootcoach

    Since my post last year I have purchased and read 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach, and Champion Minded by Allistair McCaw. Both these books are written in a simple but effective way and have become a great addition to my coaching reading material.

  • Rebengawake93

    Hello everybody. I'm not a heavy reader, I mostly rely on experiences acquired by being a Wakeboard athlete/coach and by teaching at the gym. Although I have to say I got really inspired by Steve Jobs Biography. I know it might not be related to coaching, but his story gave me a good perspective on how to influence positively other people.

  • robbinsp


    John Adair’s Effective Leadership. It is a simple no nonsense book which highlights what any leader, like a swimming coach needs to do to meet needs in three areas - needs of task, needs of the individual and team needs. I have written an article on the subject - see my LinkedIn page if you are interested.

  • mattydinho95

    If you like the 'Chimp Paradox', then this book is a must. The author challenges your beliefs like never before by revealing the ever-increasing role of superstitions in sports psychology. He explains the dangers of listening to self-talk, with no filter to determine fiction from fact.

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