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Paul Connolly
Talent and Performance

My Top Five Books for Sport Coaches

My pick of the best resources available to help develop your coaching skills

As a member of the Talent Performance team at UK Coaching I work on the Aspire, Strive and Have the Talent Foundation Programme series with the team. Throughout my career in coaching, there are a number of resources that have really helped me to develop.

Previously, whilst working as a cricket coach, I attained an MSc in Sports Psychology from Manchester University. I’ve also worked as a Sports Psychologist in the Premier League and with a County Cricket Club.

This blog post gives you a quick round up of my top five recommendations, and explains how they have helped me.

1. Sport Psychology Interventions, by Shane M. Murphy

This is a really useful book in looking at the philosophies of helping athletes that face special challenges.

In each chapter there are real case studies that help focus on the applied issues and prevent the discussions becoming too theoretical.

2. Athlete-Centered Coaching: Developing Decision Makers, by Lynn Kidman

This book offers coaches insight in how to enhance athlete-learning and development through sport.

All the coaches believe in sharing power with the athlete, enabling athletes to be masters of their own destiny and to reach their full potential.

3. The Psychology of Concentration in Sport Performers: A Cognitive Analysis, by Aidan P. Moran

The book focuses on concentration and sport performance and looks at the reasons why athletes often ‘lose’ it at the very time when they need it most.

It also considers the success of techniques alleged to enhance concentration.

4. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Leading Organisation, by John Wooden

John Wooden is a legendary coach who made a significant impression in coaching.

A comment by Stephen R.Covey, who we acknowledge in the Talent Foundation series, comments on the book: “What an all-encompassing Pyramid of Success for Leadership! Coach Wooden’s moral authority and brilliant definition of success encompass all of life. How I admire his life’s work and concept of what it means to win!” This quite nicely puts the book into context.

5. Woolmer on Cricket, by Bob Woolmer

As a cricket coach I have included this book. Woolmer was a coach who articulates his belief in embracing sports science and technology in the game.

His approach helped many coaches and the South African team. His innovative approach is very enlightening.

Related Resources

If you enjoyed this article, then you might be interested in the conversation 'What one book has influenced you most as a coach?' on ConnectedCoaches - UK Coaching's free online community for coaches of all sports and activities.

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Paul Connolly