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  • Writer's pictureRick Traugott

Looking for Some Good PD? Here's My Summer Reading List

(If you do read/watch one thing this week it has to be this: Body Language Matters – Geno Auriemma)

I am ashamed to say I have not been my best when it comes to reading books lately. Of course I have excuses: too busy, too much work to do, have to take the dog for a walk. Unfortunately, I think sometimes it’s more about being too connected with technology than anything else.

That said, identifying problems is the first step to solving them (!) so I decided to use the $100 Amazon gift certificate that I received last year and purchase my summer reading about coaching. I got notice that they are on their way by courier today and will arrive next Thursday. Just thought I’d share my new book list (in no particular order):

So, why these books?

First, I love biographies about great coaches. These books contain insight into Herb Brooks, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, Pat Summitt and Gen Auriemma. You may wonder why there are so many basketball coaches in that group when I am a hockey guy. Well? Unfortunately, there is not the same selection of reading material on hockey coaches. And, I find that the principles of coaching athletes truly extends across multiple sports. Most of these books about basketball won’t talk about the X’s and O’s of the game but how these great coaches dealt with tough situations, developing positive team culture, difficult athletes, adversity and ultimately being successful.

I never tire of reading about Herb Brooks and the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team. It is a fascinating story and I suppose like people who love to read about war and the military, I can read book after book about that team, that season, that tournament and their coach.

The Champion’s Mind has been on my radar for quite a while and the two books about character and being a team player were suggested to me by Spider Jones at a conference on sport leadership. I have been keenly interested in hockey analytics for the past year and I am hoping the Rob Vollman book will have some interesting ideas in it.

I do get a chance to read and watch quite a bit online about coaching and working with athletes. I encourage you as coaches to take advantage of the great resources that are available. There is truly great content out there – and it’s all free.

Here are a few links to pieces that I read or watched this week:

The Secret by Dawn Staley. Coach Staley (University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball) talks about the importance of making connections with her players.

Seven Keys to Coaching Today's Millennial Generation Athlete by Jeff Janssen. Jeff is an advocate for sports leadership and runs camps and conferences that speak to that subject. When I talk to coaches who have been at it for 20 or 30 years, this is the biggest shift they have had to contend with and change the way they do things: dealing with today’s athlete.

The Mars and Venus of Soccer: Anson Dorrance on the difference between coaching men and women by Michael Lewis. Between soccer coaches Andon Dorrance and Tony DiCicco, you won’t find better insight into coaching female athletes. This article is a terrific summary of Coach Dorrance’s thoughts on the subject. (And just an aside, Catch Them Being Good by Tony DicCicco may be the best piece of writing on coaching female athletes available.)

Why John Wooden’s Teams Won: And how to apply the coach’s winning principles to your life by John C. Maxwell. Anything about legendary coach John Wooden is always a terrific read. You need a good motivational quote? There will be a John Wooden quote that will work. You need a good motivational quote for every day of the season? There are enough John Wooden quotes to make that work for you.

Let Them Ride by Todd Beane. This is an excellent blog post on the idea of discovery learning using surfing as a backdrop by a soccer coach in Barcelona.

And two sobering videos:

Senators strength coach alarmed over declining youth athletic skills by Wayne Scanlan, Ottawa Citizen. Need another reason to not be a one sport athlete?

I have to give a shout out to one of my former players Ryan Carter. Ryan is a terrific coach from New Jersey who works at the high school and minor hockey levels. He actually travelled with me and a group of rag tag players to the Soviet Union in 1990 to attend hockey school and get “schooled” by elite Russian players. Coach Carter always posts great content to his Facebook page and much of my reading each week comes from his great shares.

Finally, on the subject of the Soviet Union, I watched a terrific movie on Netflix this week called Red Army. This is great insight into the world of hockey in the Soviet Union and the eventual Russian “invasion” of the NHL.

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