One of the most read pages on this site was my post in April, 2014 called “5 Books for Every Athlete” (found here). I was then asked if there were certain books that I found were useful more as a coach. Right of the top of my head, three came to mind. One of the books I consider the most influential book I have ever read (from a coaching standpoint). Another has been a great tool in many ways. The last was the framework for most of this site and was a required text when I was earning my Masters in Sports Psychology.
1. Mindset: The Psychology of Success
By: Carol Dweck
I honestly think that you should not be allowed to coach or teach without reading this book. I am not sure how much more I can emphasize that. Dweck’s work and easy method of presenting it are amazing. She takes you through ways to recognize the different mindsets, but how to help each grow and become more productive. This is worth buying a hard copy and keeping a copy on your digital reader. You will reference it a lot.
2. The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook
By: Martha Davis
A lot of books that we read make sense but can be hard to put in to place in real life. This workbook helps you implement ways to have your athletes (or anyone in general) to overcome stress through imagery, breathing, even self-hypnosis. This is pretty much the “How To” guide for stressful situations. In my years as a coach, I have found stress is usually the main psychological issue facing young athletes. The format of this book makes it easy to work with your team.
3. Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology
By: Robert Weinberg and Daniel Gould
I can’t hide the fact that this is an actual text book. It is big, heavy and expensive. That being said, it is a great book that covers pretty much everything from performance to wellness programs. The one thing I like most about this book is how it breaks down the populations and the differences that each has. Coaching a female athlete is often very different than a male athlete. Sometimes we as coaches forget that the brain trains differently as well. There is also an online component with the book that has a lot of beneficial activities.
I can’t say enough about the books above. They are all books that do not just sit on my shelf. I find myself using them a lot every season. One of the best decisions I ever made was to wake up one day (at age 36) and decide I wanted to be a sports psychologist. While I have a ways to get to get licenses, earning my B.S. and my M.S. showed me I certainly made the right decision. All of these books had a major impact on my training.