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Sunday, August 4, 2013


A few weeks ago, I had a post about a book and made reference to the fact that I would have loved to have read it when I first started coaching.  In fact, it would be in my Top 10 books that I think could've impacted me greatly as a young coach just starting out.  I have since received a great number of requests asking for the complete list and so each day, over the next few weeks, I will list a book that I think young coaches would benefit from reading as they start their coaching journey.  I would imagine that many will be looking for X&O books -- just as I did when I first started coaching -- but instead you will find a list of books that will not only make you a better coach, but a better person. Books that concentrate on teaching, goal setting, communication and leadership.

I did not arrive at those 10 books easily.  There are certainly several more that could make a big difference to a young coach just getting started.  Here is my partial list of honorable mentions:

Getting Things Done
David Allen
This is a book about management -- of your office, your files and your time.  I've yet to meet a young coach that didn't need help in this area.  The introductory paragraph reads: Welcome to a gold mine of insights into strategies for how to have more energy, be more relaxed, and get a lot more accomplished with much less effort...It is possible to be effectively doing while you are delightfully being, in your ordinary workaday world.

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: Getting Your Office Organized

Make The Big Time Where You Are
Frosty Westerling
As Coach Westerling teaches us that the "big time" is a state-of-mind: "It is not a place, but a state of your heart.  It's not something you get, it's something you become.  It's a lifestyle. Success is not at the end of the road; it is the road."

This is a great book for all those young coaches who think they have to be at a BCS school or a large high school to be significant.  It's also a great read for players with the lessons taught by Coach Westerling who passed away this past year.

Leading With The Heart
Mike Krzyzewski, Donald T. Phillips, Grant Hill
This is a book that speaks to both leadership as well as how you communicate with those you work with and those you teach.  A couple of quick lessons from this book include:

1.When you get better, we all get better.
2.You hear, you forget. You see, you remember. You do, you understand.
3. It’s not what I know, it’s what you do that matters most.

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: What Coach K wants from his players

The Smart Take From The Strong
Pete Carril
A wonderful book by an outstanding coach.  The book is written in very short passages on just about every toping involving coaching, teaching, recruiting, discipline and leadership. It is well organized and gives some incredible wisdom from one of our game's best teachers.

A quick thought from Coach Carril: “When you teach basketball, it has its technical parts and its life parts. It has to be that way because it’s played by humans.”

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: Thoughts from Pete Carril

Jon Gordon
This is a book to help a young coach with having the proper vision and attitude.  Sometimes young coaches don't realize that while they may not be the boss, the primary decision maker, they are still responsible and in control of their own attitude.

A quick nugget from the book: "Real motivation is driven by purpose and a desire to make a difference. When people feel as though the work they do is playing an integral role in the overall success of the organization and the world, they are motivated to work harder."

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: 5 ways to love your passengers

Time Power
Brian Tracy
By far, the best book I've read to date on time management.  As I mentioned in an earlier review, time management is one of those areas that will engulf a new coach as they become swamp with responsibility.  This book gives simplistic guidelines to help you organize your day, your week, your year -- your life.

From Tracy: "To need the self-discipline to be proactive rather than reactive. You need to focus on solutions rather than problems. You need to concentrate on the most important thing you could possibly be doing every hour of every day rather than getting sidetracked by low-value or no-value tasks and activities."

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: The 7 Practices of Time Power

How Successful People Think
John Maxwell
Another one from Maxwell -- I should post all of my favorite Maxwell books!  Maxwell tackles the goal of improving your thinking -- and yes, you can!

Just a few thoughts:
Stop focusing on the impossibilities
Stay away from the “experts”
Look for possibilities in every situation
Dream one size bigger

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: How you can stay focused

Why We Win
Billy Packer with Roland Lazenby
"Why We Win" is a fascinating book. The preface of the book for Packer is to ask the same variety of questions to a series of outstanding coaches. The list of coaches include Red Auerback, Ara Parseghian, Bob Knight, Joe Gibbs, Pat Summitt, Dean Smith, Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Tommy Lasorda and Mike Krzyzewski, just to name a few.

Packer comes up with a series of questions to pose to the games great coaches.  Their responses are outstanding.


The Ultimate Coaches' Clinic
Pat Williams
There are over 5,000 insights in this book from over 1,000 coaches from every sport imaginable.  It is one of my favorites because you are getting expert advice from some of the best that have ever coached on a variety of subjects from coaching, teaching, discipline, leadership, team building, conditioning, preparation etc.

HOOPTHOUGHTS EXTRA: The Ultimate Coaches' Collection

Next month we will feature recommended books for head coaches.