Coach Morgan's Reading List

Changing the Game: The Parent's Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids

Conventional wisdom holds that youth sports are a positive experience for our children. Unfortunately, 70% of kids drop out of organized athletics by the age of 13. Most of these children quit because our youth sports culture has taken the ‘play’ out of ‘play ball.’ A shift in values, the rise of expensive youth sports models, and the myth of abundant athletic scholarships has led parents and coaches to focus on wins instead of enjoyment, and trophies at the expense of development. As a result, every day increasing numbers of children quit playing sports that are no longer enjoyable. Conventional wisdom is wrong.

John O'Sullivan

Above the Line

National Champion coach urban Meyer shares his coaching wisdom regarding what it means to play "above the line" and how to get there. It's a must read for any coach seeking to better him or herself.

Urban Meyer

The Matheny Manifesto

If you are looking for a book on how to be a successful manager at any level, especially in youth sports, then look no further than Mike Matheny.  His book, The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life, is a phenomenal story about his path to success as a player and how he brought back old school advice back to a group of parents that asked him to rebuild their little league program.  His book starts off with a frankly worded letter that he wrote to the parents before he coached which became viral on the internet.  Matheny believes that the “Best team to coach is a team full of orphans – no parents” and preaches his advice that “The Coach is Always Right, Even When He’s Wrong”.  The book is a powerful reminder that teaches anyone involved in sports that honesty is a better way to lead in life than being politically correct.

Mike Matheny

InSide Out Coaching

In this inspirational yet practical book Joe Ehrmann describes his coaching philosophy and explains how sports can transform lives at every level of play, from the earliest years to professional sports.

The book explains how to become a transformational coach. Coaches first have to “go inside” and articulate their reasons for coaching. Only those who have taken the InSideOut journey can become transformational. Joe Ehrmann provides examples of coaches in his life who took this journey and taught him how to find something bigger than himself in sports. He describes his own InSideOut experience, starting with the death of his beloved brother, which helped him understand how sports could transcend the playing field. He gives coaches the information and the tools they need to become transformational.

Joe Ehrmann

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”


Dr. Angela Duckworth

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports.

Dr. Carol Dweck

The Champion's Mind: How Great Athlete's Think, Train, and Thrive

Even among the most elite performers, certain athletes stand out as a cut above the rest, able to outperform in clutch, game-deciding moments. These athletes prove that raw athletic ability doesn't necessarily translate to a superior on-field experience its the mental game that matters most.

Sports participation-from the recreational to the collegiate Division I level-is at an all-time high. While the caliber of their games may differ, athletes at every level have one thing in common: the desire to excel. In The Champion's Mind, sports psychologist Jim Afremow, PhD, offers the same advice he uses with Olympians, Heisman Trophy winners, and professional athletes, including:

- How to get in a "zone," thrive on a team, and stay humble
- How to progress within a sport and sustain long-term excellence
- Customizable pre-performance routines to hit full power when the gun goes off or the puck is dropped

With hundreds of useful tips, breakthrough science, and cutting-edge workouts from the world's top trainers, The Champion's Mind will help you shape your body to ensure a longer, healthier, happier lifetime.

Jim Afremow, PhD

The Talent Code

What is the secret of getting really good at something? How do we unlock it?

Journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle visited nine of the world’s greatest talent hotbeds — tiny places that produce huge amounts of talent, from a small music camp in upstate New York to an elementary school in California to the baseball fields of the Caribbean.

He found that there’s a pattern common to all of them — certain methods of training, motivation, and coaching. This pattern, which has to do with the fundamental mechanisms through which the brain acquires skill, gives us a new way to think about talent — as well as new tools with which we can unlock our own talents and those of our kids.

Daniel Coyle

The Inner Game of Tennis

The Inner Game of Tennis is a revolutionary program for overcoming the self-doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning. This classic best-seller can change the way the game of tennis is played.

Although it revolves around tennis, the concepts within can be directly applied to sports in general. 

Timothy Gallwey

Outliers: The Story of Success

This book discusses the development of talent, looking at how the “10,000 hour rule” applies across a range of domains. An important message for coaches is that talent is not born but rather made through consistent, extended effort.

Malcom Gladwell

The Double-Goal Coach: Positive Coaching Tools for Honoring the Game and Developing Winnders in Sports and Life

The Double-Goal Coach is filled with powerful coaching tools based on Jim Thompson's Positive Coaching Alliance. These strategies reflect the "best-practices" of elite coaches and the latest research in sports psychology.Hundreds of workshops have shaped these tools for maximum effectiveness and ease of use. The lessons and activities can be used in the very next practice to make sports fun and to get the best from players.

The Double-Goal Coach provides the framework for coaches and parents to transform youth sports so sports can transform youth -- allowing young athletes to enjoy sports while learning valuable life lessons.

Jim Thompson, of the Positive Coaching Alliance

The Ethics of Coaching Sports: Moral, Social, and Legal Issues

This book features invited contributions written by prominent scholars examining a broad range of normative or evaluative issues that arise from the role of the coach in competitive sports. The collection is accessible and comprehensive, including discussion of concrete issues in coaching, such as the distribution of playing time, bullying, the implications of recent events surrounding the Pennsylvania State scandal, and Title IX and gender equity. The contributing authors also explore the larger ethical considerations of the role of the coach as educator, leader, and moral role model; special considerations when coaching children; and an examination of the failures of coaches to meet appropriate standards when they do not respect their players and their programs. Each contributor presents the main arguments and positions relevant to their chosen topic and, with the ground set, the authors then seek to advance the reader's theoretical and philosophical understanding of coaching. Robert L. Simon's introductions to each of the book's four parts help to summarize the main theses of the contributors' chapters and examine differences between how each author approaches their chosen subject.Study questions are also provided for each chapter, making The Ethics of Coaching Sports the perfect companion for classes on sports ethics and coaching.

Robert L. Simon

Coaching Better Every Season: A Year-Round System for Athlete Development and Program Success

Maximize the development of your athletes and team throughout the year, and just maybe win a postseason title in the process. Coaching Better Every Season: A Year-Round System for Athlete Development and Program Success presents a blueprint for such success, detailing proven coaching methods and practices in preseason, in-season, postseason, and off-season.

The Coach Doc, Dr. Wade Gilbert, shares his research-supported doses of advice that have helped coaches around the globe troubleshoot their ailing programs into title contenders. His field-tested yet innovative prescriptions and protocols for a more professional approach to coaching are sure to produce positive results both in competitive outcomes and in the enjoyment of the experience for athletes and coaches.

Coaching Better Every Season applies to all sports and guides coaches through the critical components of continual improvement while progressing from one season to the next in the annual coaching cycle. It also presents many practical exercises and evaluation tools that coaches can apply to athletes and teams at all levels of competition. This text is sure to make every year of coaching a more rewarding, if not a trophy-winning, experience.

Wade Gilbert

Understanding Sports Coaching: Pedagogical, Social, and Cultural Foundations of Coaching Practice

Every successful sports coach knows that good teaching and social practices are just as important as expertise in sport skills and tactics. Now in a fully revised and updated third edition, Understanding Sports Coaching is still the only introduction to theory and practice in sports coaching to fully explore the social, cultural and pedagogical concepts underpinning good coaching practice.

The book examines the complex interplay between coach, athlete, coaching programme and social context, and encourages coaches to develop an open and reflective approach to their own coaching practice. It covers every key aspect of coaching theory and practice, including important and emerging topics, such as:

    • athletes’ identities

    • athlete learning

    • emotion in coaching

    • coaching ethics

    • professionalization

    • talent identification and development

    • coaching as a (micro)political activity

Understanding Sports Coaching also includes a full range of practical exercises and extended case studies designed to encourage coaches to reflect critically upon their own coaching strategies, their interpersonal skills and upon important issues in contemporary sports coaching. This is an essential textbook for any degree-level course in sports coaching, and for any professional coach looking to develop their coaching expertise.

Tania G. Cassidy, Robyn L. jones, & Paul A. Potrac

Sport Skill Instruction for Coaches

Sport Skill Instruction for Coaches is designed to help current and aspiring coaches teach the skills athletes need in order to perform at their best. Written from a real-world perspective primarily for high school coaches, this practical, user-friendly text addresses the who, what, and how questions facing every coach: Who are the athletes I'm coaching? What are the skills I need to teach? How do I teach the skills effectively?

Coaches will address these questions by thoroughly examining such concepts as individual differences exhibited by athletes; technical, tactical, and mental skills athletes need to learn; content and structure of skill practice; the art of providing feedback; and the preparation of athletes for competition. This exploration prepares coaches to work with athletes competently and confidently.

The easy-to-follow format of the text includes learning objectives that introduce each chapter, sidebars illustrating sport-specific applications of key concepts and principles, chapter summaries organized by content and sequence, key terms, chapter review questions, activities that challenge readers to apply concepts to real-world situations, and a comprehensive glossary.

Craig A. Wrisberg

Sport Psychology for Coaches

This book provides information that coaches need to help athletes build mental toughness and achieve excellence—in sport and in life. As a coach, you'll gain a big-picture perspective on the mental side of sport by examining how athletes act, think, and feel when they practice and compete. You'll learn to use such mental tools as goal setting, imagery, relaxation, energization, and self-talk to help your athletes build mental training programs. You'll also see how assisting your athletes in developing mental skills such as motivation, energy management, focus, stress management, and self-confidence leads to increased enjoyment, improved life skills, and enhanced performance. And you'll discover how to put it all together into mental plans and mental skills training programs that allow your athletes to attain and maintain a mind-set that fosters peak performance.

Damon Burton & Thomas D. Raedeke

Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden and Jay Carty know that when it comes down to it, success is an equal opportunity player. Anyone can create it in his or her career, family, and beyond. Based on John Wooden's own method to victory, Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success reveals that success is built block by block, where each block is a crucial principle contributing to lifelong achievement in every area of life. Each of these 32 daily readings takes an in-depth look at a single block of the pyramid, which when combined with the other blocks forms the structure of the pyramid of success. Join John Wooden and Jay Carty to discover the building blocks and key values--from confidence to faith--that have brought Coach to the pinnacle of success as a leader, a teacher, and a follower of God.

John Wooden

The Art of Coaching Young Athletes

Great coaching is an art form. It involves so much more than mere knowledge of the sport and the ability to deliver the message. Is that message being received? Are the athletes excited and engaged when participating? Is the teaching/learning environment positive and does it promote a focus on self—and team improvement and excellence? Is there a recognition that the coaching of young athletes is and should be far different, with different emphases, than the coaching of most college and all professional athletes? Is the development of a strong, positive coach–athlete connection (the basis for more effective communication and motivation) being promoted? And is the opportunity to coach young athletes being viewed and used as a vehicle to teach life lessons and help develop success habits that will young athletes in life? The Art of Coaching Young Athletes reveals to any prospective coach the keys to a high-quality way of coaching athletes from kindergarten through high school age.

Rick Peterson

Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches

Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches is a practical “how-to” guide that helps coaches use their leadership role to achieve optimal benefits for young athletes, both on and off the field/court.It is designed to help coaches create rewarding experiences for young athletes and provides specific behavioral guidelines that have proven to have positive, and lasting, effects. The authors address a wide range of everyday concerns including motivation, stress reduction, psychological skills, relations with parents, legal responsibilities, and other areas of importance to both coaches and athletes. Using clear examples and real stories, they help coaches hone their own skills so they can bring out the best in their young competitors – in sports and in life.

Ronald E. Smith and Frank L. Smoll

You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C's to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life

You Win in the Locker Room First draws on the extraordinary experiences of Coach Mike Smith and Jon Gordon—consultant to numerous college and professional teams—to explore the seven powerful principles that any business, school, organization, or sports team can adopt to revitalize their organization.

Step by step, the authors outline a strategy for building a thriving organization and provide a practical framework that give leaders the tools they need to create a great culture, lead with the right mindset, create strong relationships, improve teamwork, execute at a higher level, and avoid the pitfalls that sabotage far too many leaders and organizations.

Jon Gordon

The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams that Win Consistently

“Your only job is to help your players be better.” That single idea had a huge impact on Tony Dungy when he heard it from one of his earliest mentors, and it led him to develop the successful leadership style so admired by players and coaches throughout the NFL. Now, a storied career and a Super Bowl victory later, Tony Dungy is sharing his unique leadership philosophy with you. In The Mentor Leader, Tony reveals what propelled him to the top of his profession and shows how you can apply the same approach to virtually any area of your life. In the process, you’ll learn the seven keys of mentoring leadership―and why they’re so effective; why mentor leadership brings out the best in people; how a mentor leader recovers from mistakes and handles team discipline; and the secret to getting people to follow you and do their best for you without intimidation tactics. As a son, a football player, and a winning coach, Tony has always learned from others on his path to success. Now you can learn to succeed for your team, family, or organization while living out your values―by becoming a mentor leader.

Tony Dungy

Conscious Coaching: The Art & Science of Building Buy-In

Brett Bartholomew’s book, Conscious Coaching: The Art & Science of Building Buy-In, is one of the best books out there for coaches to read when it comes to the science of effective communication. In Conscious Coaching, you’ll learn about the foundational principles of improving relationships with your players and gaining their trust so that they exceed their expectations on and off of the field.  There are plenty of books out there that teach coaches how to build a program, but there are very few out there that talk about effective communication in an athletic team setting.  Conscious Coaching tackles that gap, making this one of the best coaching books out there. If you have problems in communicating with your athletes or just want to create a stronger bond with them, this is one of the best books out there.  As a coach, this is one of the books that you’ll constantly refer to throughout the season to develop your communication skills with your players.

Brett Bartholomew

Teaching Character Through Sport: Developing a Positive Coaching Legacy

This book demonstrates how a positive coaching legacy can transcend scores on a bronze plaque as a coach influences and helps to mold the life-long character of the athletes they work with.

Noted author and speaker Bruce Brown examines the key issues is creating a lasting legacy, including; how to make a difference, common traits among successful coaches, beliefs about character and sport, action statements about teaching character through sport, redefining the term "athlete", teaching specific values, practicing sportsmanship, the qualities of great teams, team building through positive conditioning, the role of parents in athletics and much, much more. As easy and enjoyable to read as it is thought-provoking. A must for coaches of any level and sport.

Bruce Brown

The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform

We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard. As a leader, you will face numerous obstacles, negativity, and tests. There will be times when it seems as if everything in the world is conspiring against you and your vision seems more like a fantasy than a reality. That’s why positive leadership is essential! Positive leadership is not about fake positivity. It is the real stuff that makes great leaders great. The research is clear. Being a positive leader is not just a nice way to lead. It's the way to lead if you want to build a great culture, unite your organization in the face of adversity, develop a connected and committed team and achieve excellence and superior results.

Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!

Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus for Kids: A Story about Staying Positive and Overcoming Challenges

In this illustrated adaptation of the bestselling fable, The Energy Bus, author Jon Gordon shows children how to overcome negativity, bullies and everyday challenges to be their best. The Energy Bus For Kids is a story that will teach kids how to find their inner motivation and pass on that positive energy to others.

  • The Energy Bus For Kids presents five rules for the "Ride of Your Life"

  • Teaches kids how to fuel your ride with positive energy

  • Shares with kids how to love the people you share your journey with and how to enjoy the ride

Positive kids become positive adults. So it's important to infuse their lives with a newfound vision, attitude, and positivity.

Jon Gordon

Sports First Aid

As a coach, you’ll likely be first on the scene when one of your athletes falls ill or suffers an injury. Are you prepared to take action in a medical emergency?

Sport First Aid provides high school and club sport coaches with detailed action steps for the care and prevention of more than 110 sport-related injuries and illnesses.

And the book is organized for quick reference to make it easier to find what you need.

Melinda Flegel

They Call Me Coach

From the everyday basics to important life lessons ("It's not how tall you are, but how tall you play"), Wooden shares his worldly wisdom on and off the court to offer a personal history of an unforgettable time in college basketball, answering the most-asked questions about his life, his career, and the players who made his teams unbeatable.

John Wooden

Wooden on Leadership

It can be argued that John Wooden is the greatest coach in the history of not just basketball, but in the history of sports as well.  In his book, Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization, Wooden gives you a compelling look into one of the most powerfully philosophical coaching minds that we have even seen.  His definition of success and all of his idioms are prevalent throughout the book to help you understand the mental, emotional, and physical qualities that are essential to build a winning organization and create winners in life.  No matter what your profession is, you will be left with a lifetime of valuable lessons that will encourage to live a more honest and fulfilling life.  All of Coach Wooden’s observations in the book are in the book and his philosophy of personal development over notarized success will leave you in awe with all of his achievements throughout his coaching career.

John Wooden

Successful Coaching

Written by Rainer Martens, a respected and renowned sport pyschologist, longtime coach, and lifelong competitive athlete, Successful Coaching, Fourth Edition, details the principles, knowledge, and skills that will help coaches build a foundation for their decisions and actions. Working through the text, coaches will define their philosophy, identify their objectives, and determine their coaching style. Next, coaches will learn how to become skilled communicators and motivators by applying psychological principles and recommendations for positive management of athletes’ behavior. Knowing the skills required for each sport is as important as knowing how to teach and shape those skills. With Successful Coaching, coaches will become more effective instructors as they learn the games approach to teaching technical and tactical skills, a proven method of helping athletes become smart tactical players of their sports.

Rainer Martens

Coach Wooden's Greatest Secret: The Power of a Lot of Little Things Done Well

At the first practice of each season, legendary coach John Wooden taught his players how to put on their socks and shoes a very particular way. When asked about this, he replied, "The little things matter. All I need is one little wrinkle in one sock to put a blister on one foot--and it could ruin my whole season. I started teaching about shoes and socks early in my career, and I saw that it really did cut down on blisters during the season. That little detail gave us an edge." Coach Wooden knew the long-term impact of little things done well.

Pat Williams, Jim Denney

Quiet Strength

Whenever you have the chance to learn from the words of one of the most respected men in sports, you take it.  Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy elaborates on the strength that is required to make yourself successful in his book Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life. Dungy explains how he overcame the challenges of overcoming the barbaric culture of football while he is a man of faith and how he overcame the challenges of being successful without sacrificing his faith or family.  This inspiring novel that serves as a reflective memoir tells a story of a man who lives his life for God and family and challenges you to redefine you idea of what it means to be successful.  This deeply inspirational book will leave all readers, christian or not, with a desire to live a life of a higher standard through steadfast leadership and unwavering focus.

Tony Dungy

Leading with the Heart

With more than twenty years of coaching for the Duke Blue Devils, Coach K has grown his program to become one of the most respected in the NCAA.  With multiple national championships under his belt, Coach K touches on the different aspects of leadership, especially how to use it to move your team to the top in his book Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life. Throughout the book, Coach K explains the importance of trust, the importance of commitment, and the importance of having pride in what you achieve on a daily basis.  When reading this book, you will learn Coach K’s method of “storming, performing, and norming”, where he explains his process of bringing in new recruits every year and molding them into a national championship contender. Coach K’s proven & continued success is highlighted in his framework for building a winning team is his eyes is “a little bit crazy to base your career on someone else’s jump shot.”

Mike Krzyzewski

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