A list. A bibliography is a kind of list, a summary, of reference materials wherein you can find gems of value, of wisdom to help you on your path to where you wish to go. Here is a list of some of the books a coach might benefit from, though certainly not all.
I am a reader. I have read with a great appetite since an early age. Taking an Evelyn Wood speed reading course at 14 did not hurt, either. Growing up with a great public library nearby and a paperback novel displayrack full of books (for free for me) in my dad’s drug store was a distinct advantage as well. OK. so I read A LOT. I’ve got more than 200 books on Kindle for calendar year 2012 as I write this on 12-23-2012 (23-12-2012 for my backwards English friends<G>).
Herein I am going to try to summarize some of the readings I have that have helped me to be a better coach, a better team leader, a better person. Where I can recall, I’ll credit the person that brought me into contact with the book – the wiser person who told me, “you should read this”…
First, Tom Parrish told me to read “Golf is Not A Game of Perfect” at a time when I was struggling with how to get my daughter to a higher level of consistency. I was worried about her occasional fliers (all archers will have these as they are developing – 5 great arrows and then one amongst them will be off in the blue instead of the gold/red ). Tom told me something like, “ignore the parts about the sand traps, and the laying-up, substitute the word “archery” anytime the word “golf” appears. He was right. It is a superb educational book on the mental aspects of trying to put the itty-bitty pointy stick into the tiny target 76 yards away with some consistency. Author is Rotello and here is the Amazon Link to the book.
I thought for a long time that Malcom Gladwell was some exotic, immensely intelligent, doctoral psychologist. His books are literally THAT good. I think early on that Coach Tom Barker turned me on to this author. But Gladwell, a “mere” New York Times reporter, weaves together again and again in his book, fundamental facts from a host of different sources and creates a tightly-woven rug that can hold water. I read everything he writes, and I am the better person and coach for it. Some are truly better than others, of course. Thank you, Tom!
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
Outliers: The Story of Success
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Of these, I love Outliers the best because I have always felt myself as something of an outlier.
I do dare you to read any of these and not come out of the book with a sense of increased wisdom, power to effect positive change in your athlete, and a different perspective on how to approach your calling. This author has been passed around between coaches so much that it’s hard to know for sure who first zeroed in on how apt his writings are for the archery coach, but Tom certainly deserves my thanks.
Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions, by Susan Barry. As I have said in earlier blogs, she reveals (to me, at least) a way to get a huge percent improvement in performance by training a set of muscles that no archery coach has ever attempted before. Teach the muscles of the eye to respond faster and more accurately and with more range of motion and you’ll have reached the outer limits of performance. You think *nothing* of teach your athletes to do the same with their biceps, triceps, lats, and especially their trapezius set, why not with their ocular muscles? jeez, this ain’t rocket science! Ask any special-trained optometrist (NOT opthalmalolgist!). Who told me to read this? NO ONE. I have met only disdain and dismissal for my insight regarding the potential for training the muscles of the eyes in like manner to how all other muscles of the body are trained. Someday I will be vindicated, unfortunately I fear it will not be because the US archery team is demonstrating a renewed potential best because of it – some other country will do this first.
You should never, ever, again mention the phrase “target panic”. It is a stupid phrase and lacking in accuracy and truthfulness. Instead, you will find you have to deal with “shot choke” or “hesitancy” in your elite athlete. Beginner athletes never get this. Only excellent archers find a plateau where their frontal cortex reactivates, overloads, and blocks the action that SHOULD be an entirely autonomous function. To help you understand why this is more of a choking sensation than a panic situation, please read
CHOKE, by Sian Beilock. Read it twice. And quit planting the seeds of destruction by using the phrase target panic.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves – the title pretty much implies all you need to know about why it is something you should learn from.
Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else – by Geoff Colvin. Puts lie to the notion that there are “overnight wonders” and “natural professionals”. The 10,000 hour rule is a truth. NO ONE EVER BECAME ELITE without myelinating their neural pathways properly over a period of thousands of hours of doing that “something to be great in”. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, well, read the book and learn. It is a fundamental truth that every coaching certification course I teach includes. Bill Gates, the Beatles, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, you name the athlete, they ALL put in at least 10,000 hours of purposeful practice on their way to the top step. If I had to choose only one book, this one would probably be it.
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How – Daniel Coyle – Again, pounding away on the fact that we only think someone is “big for their age” or “naturally athletic”. Our society builds a false premise that we continually fall for. (as coaches and as parents). Learn how NOT to expect too much from your athletes and how to get more from them at the same time. OK, maybe I would choose this as my “one and only” book to seize on. It’s so HARD TO CHOOSE from!
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck – learn how profoundly influential attitudes are in controlling success, and how to guide your athlete through a variety of pitfalls and traps.
A quick jaunt aside to a fictional yet educational story about shot choke. “The Art of Fielding is mere baseball fiction the way Moby Dick is just a fish story” (Nicholas Dawidoff). Book by Chad Harbach.
Sport Supplement Reference Guide bvy William Llewellym – a total waste of time. NO ARCHER needs to take ANY special supplements. He or she must eat 9 to 12 helpings of a variety of raw fruits, vegetables, and berries every day, in addition to appropriate levels of animal protein (if not a vegan) and fats, so that the body can extract all of the micronutrients needed to create new cells in the body on a continual basis. More so when in training, as heavy training produces results by destroying cells and counting on the nutrients being available to rebuild the destruction better, stronger, and more efficiently. Like the NGBs for France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, I find that the science, the documentation in peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, certification by the NSF, to be so compelling that I have not only taken it myself for 10+ years but also commend it to my athletes: http://www.winningwithjuiceplus.com – a capsulated formulation of a neutraceutical product consisting of 25 fully-ripened, raw, cold-juiced/treated/lyophyllized fruits, vegetables, and berries manufactured under stringent parameters that are totally USADA and WADA safe. You don’t need an “out of balance hyper dosage of anything”. Just a totally rounded realistic source for mother natures’ best natural nutrients so that your body can pick and choose just what is needed at just the right time during rebuilding and supercompensation. You also need to insure your athletes are getting therapeutic daily doses of what is called “vitamin D” by either adequate sun exposure to skin, or else Vitamin D3, 5000 iu per 100 pounds of body weight. (in lieu of semi-monthly blood test of the 25(OH)D which MUST be at a level of at least 50 ng/ml, and below 80 ng/ml). A ng, by the way, is a billionth of a gram. So it don’t take much to make a world of difference in athletic performance when it comes to vitamin D3.
Rome 1960 by David Maraniss – This book fosters a greater understanding of the singular largest athletic event to be held every four years in the world. The good, the bad, the WHY and the WHEREFORE of this juggernaut of power and monied interests on behalf of the youth of the world, called upon to gather every four years…
The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human by V.S. Ramachandran - Dr. Rama will be awarded the Nobel Price in my lifetime, and hopefully his, IMHO. If you want insight into how the human brain greets consciousness, how it learns by simply watching, and how the magnificence of it all comes together, this book is a must. You can also use TED.COM to view his 10-15 minute presentations which I recommend prior to you buying the book. If it doesn’t ring a chime in your core, you probably should not be a coach.
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey . Ok. Despite all the excellent books I have already listed, this book. This Book. THIS FREAKING BOOK!!!! If you know the Miller children of Napiersville, IL, then you will have a starburst of comprehension midway through this book that transcends what you THINK you know about learning. It is an incredible slap in the face of our conventional wisdom about how schools should operate. It paints a vivid and clear yet simple and cheap path we could be following to create excellence in our students at *any* level, in any pursuit of learning not just archery. But it certainly applies to archery!!!
and in greatest position of honor, two books who by author name alphabetically should come last, but by greatness should never be anywhere but first:
Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court
The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership
John Wooden, of course. His example lesson to me is simply, be as selfless as possible. Be honest to the athlete and to the sport, as well as to yourself. BE MODEST. Have a method for everything and a reason for your method. Train not to the top step but to the top performance of the athlete. All else will take care of itself. And as I recall a certain “head coach” grabbing a trophy from the athlete and dancing in a bizarre way on the field with the trophy over his head as though it was his, it aint’ about the coach. It’s all about the athlete. They win. We coach. If we do it right, we open the door for that win, but the athlete walks through that door and kicks butt. Our tears of joy must come through the success of those we mentor.
Ahem. Teared up there for a minute. You have some reading to do. Please feel free to post comments with the titles and authors of books YOU have found useful, so that I and others might benefit as well? and a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, to you..
and I’ll add more books in the next year…