At a young age my mom instilled a love for reading in me. I don’t remember how or what the first books were, but I do remember reading books like Fab Five by Mitch Albom as early as 5th grade. It’s a good thing she didn’t read them also because I probably would not have been allowed to continue. I even wrote my own version of the Fab Five with a story about kids from Chicago attending a “C.A.S.H.” high school – Chicago Area Senior High. Obviously this didn’t exist.
Teaching someone to read is one of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone. When you can read you can learn, grow as a person and have an influence on others. Without the ability or desire to read you limit yourself.
As a coach, the most important thing you can work on this off-season is yourself. These books will help your team issues, personal development and hopefully inspire a vision of where you want to take yourself and your program. Here are 11 books every coach should read this off-season…
Success is a Choice, by Rick Pitino
This was the first book I remember reading on personal development and it changed my life. Mainly because it changed the way I think. The most important concept I took from the book was a chapter called “Being Positive is a Discipline”. Wait – what? I said to myself. I can literally choose to positive no matter the circumstance? I thought about it and realized “wow, you can and if you do that is powerful stuff”. There are some other great concepts in the book and some I don’t necessarily agree with, but if you haven’t read it you need to.
Wooden on Leadership, by Steve Jamison with John Wooden
This book contains a ton of lessons on Leadership from Coach Wooden. There are a lot of simple quotes from the book…
“Don’t mistake activity for achievement.”
“Study and respect the individuality of each player and handle them accordingly. Treat each man as he deserves to be treated.”
“I will not like you all the same, but I will love you all the same. Each one of you will receive the treatment you earn and deserve.”
The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle
This is an absolute must read if you are trying to build a high school basketball program. Daniel Coyle breaks down exactly what talent is and how it is developed. How do you motivate? What type of environment do you need to put your kids in? How do you develop your youth program?
Great concept from this book: Deep practice is built on a paradox – struggling in certain targeted ways – operating at the edges of your ability, where you makes mistakes – makes you smarter. The only mistake you can make is not making mistakes
The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy
Darren Hardy is my new favorite author, hands down. If you don’t already you NEED to subscribe to Success Magazine and follow @DarrenHardy on Twitter. You will without a doubt gain knowledge you can use for your team and program. The Compound Effect follows the principle of setting goals and consistently following through with actions that will help you move towards those goals. A great concept in the book is that almost everything you need to do “is easy to do yet it’s also easy not to do”. Think about it. If you want to read more about this check out my blog on the “Compound Effect”. If you’re a coach, parent or player stop reading this list and read the blog now.
The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olsen
This book is similar to the Compound Effect. Your life path is made up of decisions you make each and everyday. Every decision you make has a positive or negative outcome on something in the future – many of them are so small you don’t notice them. Many decisions and actions you take are done unconsciously because they are habits. The key is to become aware of your habits and create ones that will slowly move you towards your goals.
Bounce, by Matthew Syed
This book is very similar to The Talent Code, but has some different cases studies and stories to show how skill is something developed and it is not something you are born with.
Lead to Succeed, by Rick Pitino
Rick Pitino shares 10 traits all leaders need to possess and each chapter profiles a leader that exemplifies each of these traits. Fan of Rick Pitino or not this is a great read.
Hard Work, by Roy Williams
I am not a North Carolina fan at all, but after reading this book I am huge Roy Williams fan. Candid and with some great stories of his unbelievable work ethic and drive to rise in the coaching ranks, you will love this book even if you’re a Duke fan.
Training Camp, by Jon Gordon
A fable by Jon Gordon about a rookie struggling to make it through training camp and his relationship with an assistant coach.
The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon
Similar to your choice to be positive you can, believe it or not, choose to have energy. Another fable by Jon Gordon shares a story about removing energy vampires from your environment and how to get on the “energy bus”.
The Gift’s of Jimmy V, by Bob Valvano
As a younger “coach” I think it’s really important to read up on coaches who helped shape the game when I was watching Sesame Street. This book by his brother shares lessons on leadership, basketball and life through stories about Jim Valvano.
Well this list started out as 5, and when I got to thinking about everything I’ve read, it just grew. I could have added several more, but I promise if you read these 11 books and practice a few of the concepts it will help your team next year. Next year starts now.
Want to get your team an edge next year? Check out our 2012 Coaches Skill Development Clinic, May 19, in Milwaukee. http://www.coaches.mikeleebasketball.net This is the only clinic in the country specifically focused on individual player development. I guarantee you it will be THE BEST clinic you have ever attended.
Mike Lee Basketball Services trains thousands of middle school through NBA players each year in their skill development training, camps and coaches clinics. The owner, Mike Lee, is also a Nike Girls Skills Academy instructor and the assistant director for the Stephen Curry Skills Academy. Recently the company has authored 7 skill development DVDs and created miSkillz Online Basketball training. To host an event in your city or learn more please visit www.mikeleebasketball.net.