Books to Challenge and Inspire
A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden.
My most shared book for coaches. Neither a conventional narrative, a biography, nor a how-to book on basketball. It is instead a compilation of the tenets and teachings of arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time. His focus was not on winning (outscoring your opponent), but on preparation, on reaching your own level of competency, and on emphasizing teamwork over individiual focus (to a degree that would be hard to imagine in today’s game).
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
‘It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual,’ Viktor Frankl
Slaying the Dragon (How to Turn Your Small Steps to Great Feats)
‘There are challenges we can all skate through, days when we get by because of our natural ability or low expectations placed upon us. But you will find that self-discipline becomes especially vital at two very different and equally important points in your journey: when the goal is to finish first, and when the goal is just to finish,’ Michael Johnson.
Its Not About the Bike Lance Armstrong by Lance Armstrong
‘The real reward for pain is self-knowledge. If I quit, however it would have lasted forever, that surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, would have stayed with me for the duration. When you felt like quitting, you had to ask yourself which you would rather live with?’ Lance Armstrong‘To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be.” “Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn’t fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these are the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit… So, I believed.’
Sacred Hoops Spiritual Lessons of Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson
‘Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.’ Phil Jackson
One of the most successful coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson provides an inside look at the higher wisdom of teamwork and mindful basketball. Filled with stories on how Jackson directed his players to act with a clear mind; to respect the enemy and be aggressive without anger or violence; to live in the moment and stay calmly focused in the midst of chaos. Mindful basketball.
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
‘The closer you are to death. The more you realize you are alive.’
Joe Simpson’s account of physical endeavor. Touching The Void is an astounding true story of one man’s survival against seemingly insurmountable odds. This story is told with such graphic truth that you can almost feel his agony and share his despair. You are there with him on the mountain, book first, film second.
The Damage Done (Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison) by Warren Fellows
In 1978 Warren Fellows was convicted of heroin trafficking and sentenced to life imprisonment in the notorious Bang Kwang prison. It was the beginning of 12 years of physical and emotional torture. It is not a plea for forgiveness nor his denial of guilt, but a story of endurance and survival and the abuse of human rights during the decade of a life wasted.
Patrick Daniel Tillman, Jr. was an American football player who left his professional sports career and multi million dollar contract to enlisted in the United States Army so that he could serve with his brother in Iraq. A story of choices, honour and values.
100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever
‘13. Become a performer: We do not sing because we are happy. We are happy because we sing.’
Steve Chandler gives you the 100 most effective ways to turn your defeatist attitudes into optimistic, enthusiastic accomplishments. Steve includes many reflections on youth and academic experiences.
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
It’s a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye, the concept of how fast we really do make judgments or ‘thin slicing.’ How deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed. You can find him at TEDtalks as well.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
The book is written as a series of passages; the format is that of a “Prophet” answering questions on life. The passages are short but profound and leave your vision of this world subtly enriched.
The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma
A great story full of meaning and it reminds you that living a balanced life is important. It tells the story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life following a near fatal heart attack.
The Way of the Champion
‘Knowing yourself as a person and athlete is more important than knowing your opponent.’
Jerry Lynch encourages readers to develop the capacities and qualities that typify Champions, notably courage, fortitude, determination, perseverance, tenacity, self-awareness, integrity, the ability to take risks, and the ability to learn from failure.
Thinking Body, Dancing Mind
“Thinking body, dancing mind” shows you that all you have within you is all that you need to be and to do anything you wish. Jerry Lynch provide many exercises and tools to support athletes including visualization, focusing, and centering. Examples of how athletes and others have benefited by incorporating elements of Taosports are included throughout. A must read for those easily distracted by the arena of competition.
Catch Them Being Good
Tony Dicicco and Colleen Hacker
DiCicco coached the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to victory in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Hacker is a psychology consultant for the team. Primarily written in DiCicco’s enthusiastic voice, the book’s practical advice covers forming a team, nurturing exceptional players; criticizing and motivating effectively; working with parents; and evaluating one’s own coaching performance.