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Book Club: Top three reads for coaches

Last week I wrote about some tips for coaches during lockdown. Notably, my first tip was to read. If there is one silver- lining amongst the Covid-19 pandemic for coaches, it’s that for some of you, there will be more time to invest in your own development.

The best coaches are thirsty continuous learners. Books to a continuous learner is like water to a plant. They are a staple for one to grow and thrive.

So here are some of my top picks from expert sport coaches and leaders around New Zealand and the world.

Switch: How to change things when change is hard, Chip Heath & Dan Heath

This book which is brilliantly narrated by Chip & Dan Heath aided my understanding of how our minds are ruled by two different systems that compete for control. The rationale mind and the emotional mind (The Elephant & the Rider). The Heath’s bring together decades of counter-intuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change.

Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline. Let’s face it when we break coaching back to the bare essentials it’s all about change!

Coaching better every season – A year-round system for athlete development and program success, Wade Gilbert

Wade Gilbert is well respected by Sport New Zealand. He has presented in New Zealand on several occasions, including as a keynote speaker at the 2015 Connecting Coaches National Conference. Wade’s reputation has earnt him the nickname as the “Coaching Doc”.

In Coaching Better Every Season, Wade has done an outstanding job of outlining an evidence-based approach to coaching. This book will assist coaches to bring a more planned and professional approach to coaching, and ultimately improve the enjoyment of the sport experience for athletes and coaches, both on and off the field.

The Constraints-Led Approach: Principles for Sports Coaching and Practice Design, Dr Ian Renshaw

Ian Renshaw is a pioneer in helping coaches understand contemporary skill learning approaches. Seeking to bridge the divide between theory and practice, this book sets out an ‘environment design framework’, including practical tools and guidance for the application of the framework in coaching and skill acquisition settings. It includes chapters on constraints-led approaches in golf, athletics and hockey.

This is a must read for any coach wanting to establish a coaching environment that engages their athletes more in the learning process and ultimately produces more skilful and adaptable athletes.

Image Credits:  Syd Wachs on Unsplash

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