Tag: Paul Tough

The Experts’ Reading List

The Experts’ Reading List 
One of the great things about interviewing talented coaches from all over the world is getting to pick their brain on where their mind is being fed. So we’ll take a break from our coaching series this week and I’ll share a great reading list that I’ve compiled from my podcast guests. Then next week we’ll start up a new series on Building a Winning Culture.
I’ve read 12 of these, how many have you read? My challenge to you is to pick 2 or 3 to read in the next 6 months, that is what I’m going to do. I’ve just ordered Pete Carroll’s Win Forever, Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus, and Patrick Lencioni’s The 5 Dsyfunctions of a Team.
I’ve included hyperlinks to all of the books on Amazon, so just click on the name of the book and order it today! Don’t wait or you won’t do it. No excuses.
Also – my friend James Leath published a post with his reading list – check it out for some more great recommendations – Link
  1. Pyramid of Success by Coach John Wooden
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – the story ‘Father Forgets’ is timeless
  3. The Gold Standard’ by Coach K. – story of bringing together the Dream Team
  4. Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis – story of bringing a boy into manhood
  5. Lead for God’s Sake by Todd Gongwer
  6. Inside-Out Coaching by Joe Ehrmann – ‘Be a transformational coach rather than a transactional coach’
  7. Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx – about Joe Ehrmann
  8. Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski
  9. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
  10. The Best-Laid Plans of a High School Basketball CEO by Randy Montgomery and Matt Kramer
  11. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard – about Teddy Roosevelt dealing with defeat by challenging himself to a huge audacious goal
  12. Teaching to Change Lives by Dr. Howard Hendricks
  13. How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
  14. The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey
  15. The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone ‘Never cut anything, never dilute greatness, never pull back on your horsepower, and never put a limit on your ambition, drive, and passion. Demand obsession of yourself and all those around you.’
  16. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  17. What a Coach can teach a teacher by Tharp&Gallimore – Followed John Wooden and analyzes the % of his communication
  18. The Sports Gene by David Epstein
  19. Mindset by Carol Dweck
  20. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon – Get the energy vampires off the bus and surround yourselves with energy-givers and life-givers
  21. Double goal coach by Jim Thompson of PCA
  22. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel
  23. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  24. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  25. Coaching Made Easier: How to Successfully Manage Your Youth Baseball Team—A Step-by-Step Guide to a Rewarding Season by Rod Huff
  26. Coaching Basketball Successfully by Morgan Wootten
  27. Win Forever by Pete Carroll
  28. The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
  29. Positivity by Barbara Frederickson – Great book for self-talk
  30. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
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WYC 031 Mental Sports Psychology – James Leath talks achieving peak mental performance

What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as James Leath shares stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful sports coach.

James is currently getting his masters in mental sports psychology, has coached youth sports for many years, and is a student of all aspects of sports performance.  James started coaching when his 8th grade coach had to leave the team, so James took over and coached his own 8th grade team!  James played college football and played for the Los Angeles Extreme in the XFL.  James is married and works in sales.

Website: jamesleath.com

Twitter: @jamesleath

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

  • ‘Spend less time in the strategy books, and more time in how to talk to kids’

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

  • Not being organized
  • When he was just out of college – Not being on time actually got him fired from a coaching job.

Coaching AH-HA Moment


  • Keep it simple; Run less plays.  Learned from a coach that ran only 1 formation – that coach only lost 3 games in 4 years.  When you simplify formations and the kids don’t have to think about where to line up – the kid’s confidence and success skyrockets.
  • ‘If your goal is to freeze an athlete – give them a whole bunch of stuff to think about’  Give them only 2 decisions to make on a play, and you’re OK as long as you only choose 1 of these 2(even if it’s the wrong choice, because we can teach you how to choose better).  I’m only going to be upset if you choose something other than 1 of these 2 choices.

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun


  • 2 absolute foundational books:
  • Remember to keep the kids accountable – while you love the kids, you are ultimately their mentor and coach, not their peer friend
  • ‘Spend less time in the strategy books, and more time in how to talk to kids’
  • Everything in short bursts – John Wooden would talk in 20 second bursts
  • How to Improve my Youth Practices:
    • Don’t scrimmage very much.  Only the best athletes touch the ball in scrimmages, plus it’s hard to coach in this environment.
    • When teaching  a skill – try to find a way to make the focus the technique, not the result.  So for basketball – teach them against a wall to try to work on form and hit a crack on the wall.  Then add steps that eventually progress into actually shooting at the basket.  This process builds their confidence and makes the focus perfecting their technique.

Coaching Resources

  • Youtube
  • Reach out to your local high school basketball coach
  • The Talent Code‘ by Daniel Coyle

Inspiring Story

  • James and his wife have fostered kids, so some of his athletes have actually stayed with him.  James had one kid who stayed with him for a while in 6th grade – that kid in 11th grade was about to play in state championships and called James up at 11 o’clock at night to talk – very cool.

The One that Got Away

  • Coaching girls basketball – He smacked his plastic clipboard and it shattered in 20 pieces.  He was upset about the girls not getting rebounds – then afterwards he thought about it and he had never spent any time teaching them how to rebound.

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

Parting Advice

  • Pay less attention to strategy and more attention to fundamentals

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