Being an endurance sports coach is incredibly rewarding, but also very challenging. The personal relationships we build with the athletes we work with often calls on us to constantly sharpen our arsenal of skills and knowledge.
Unfortunately, many endurance coaches tend to be so busy helping others, that they often procrastinate on this continuing education, as their athlete/client roster expands. However, there is a relatively easy (and in some cases free) way that you can not only gain more knowledge but also relax and unwind a little.
Reading is a fantastic way to get some quiet, focused time, and to gain access to high-quality expert knowledge. Over the past 25 years of coaching, these books have surfaced as my favorites. They are the ones that I lend out the most frequently or gift to fellow coaches and friends.
Business & Finance
As coaches, we tend to focus on doing what we love (aka coaching), and ignore the rest.
These books will help you get your business and finances in better working order, so you can focus on what you love, WHILE building a business and financial success.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz – What to do with each penny of income is absolutely key to a profitable business. The Profit First system will help you get it right from the get-go. A must-read for every business owner.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – The mindsets, skills and tools needed for becoming rich are habits that feed forward. The best part of this book is it’s set up so that as you read, you practice each new skill over 6-8 weeks. This is not your average “frugality wins” or “cut expenses ruthlessly” book.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin – A thought provoker, entrepreneur, and bootstrapper extraordinaire, Seth’s short, pointed thoughts in this foundational book, can help you identify your purple cow, and why it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your clients!
Now that we have your mindset oriented towards money (and what to do with it when it comes in), we can work to build your leadership skills. These are, in my opinion, the best books on leadership written in the last 25 years.
Wooden On Leadership – This is the foundational book for my company, Human Vortex Training, and it has been at the forefront of every single coaching and business interaction I’ve ever had. You want to be a great leader? Follow the pyramid in this book and practice it daily.
Principles by Ray Dalio – Ray Dalio is a true master of his domain, and his first book, Principles, will help you to take what you’ve learned in John Wooden’s aforementioned book, to build and refine your own principles. Daily (thoughtful) practices lead to long term success.
The Man Watching: Anson Dorrance and the University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer Dynasty by Tim Crothers – Want to learn what it takes to be the best? Anson Dorrance may not be a name you recognize, but he is one of, if not THE best women’s soccer coach of all time. Award-winning Sports Illustrated writer Tom Crothers writes a masterful piece on Anson’s path, his open-mindedness to coaching women differently, and how leadership comes from an open mind and an unwavering belief in one’s team.
The next frontier of endurance athletes is mental skills training. These books will help you and your athletes get so much more mentally fit.
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey – This book was well before it’s time, but has remained a classic for many decades thanks to its sound principles. Golf and tennis have a lot to teach us about building mentally tough athletes who can handle anything thrown their way.
Elite Minds by Stan Beecham – Given to me by one of my mentors, this book is a blueprint to help you build mental maps that lead you to success. Deep insights, and quick take-homes.
Magical Running by Bobby McGee – A world-class coach, Bobby McGee shares his decades of experience in an easy-to-execute guide to long term vitality and mental strength. Bobby has lots of great resources on his website as well, if you’re looking to be able to teach running to a better degree.
Coaching Women & Girls
When I first started coaching triathlon & cycling, I was working with all men. It wasn’t until my second year when my first three female athletes arrived. I failed them.
After this, I had a few long talks with one of my mentors about how women’s training needs vary based on their menstrual cycle. This was something I had never heard anyone talk about before and there was next to nothing out there to help guide me. Nowadays, there are some great resources out there.
Roar By Stacy Sims – This book is essential for any coach working with women. Stacy has been sharing her research and spreading the message of “Women are not small men!” for quite some time. This book gives you the understanding and necessary tools to be a far better coach for your female athletes.
No Period, Now What? by Nicola Rinaldi – Along with Roar, this book is instrumental in helping female athletes attain a healthy lifestyle, build a sound approach to fitness and understand a common issue that some mistakenly believe is natural if you’re training hard as a female.
Catch Them Being Good by Tony Dicicco and Colleen Hacker – An absolutely phenomenal book on coaching women and girls and helping them through the process of becoming confident and strong. While this book is catered to girls and their unique needs, many of the lessons will help expand your coaching abilities and skills in order to be a far more effective coach.
The Vortex Method By Menachem Brodie– This is the book that I wanted to read back when I started, but nothing like it existed. While there is a smattering of books that talk about cycling-specific strength training, none of them really get into how to program for performance gains. You don’t just learn exercises, you learn HOW to put together a strength training program that gets results! Combined with the Strength Training for Cyclists Certification, you’ll have all the tools and skills you need to write killer individualized programs for your athletes.
Intervention by Dan John – Along with “The Vortex Method,” this book will give you a critical thinking outline and mental maps to help you take your strength training programming from the ground-floor to the penthouse quickly.
These books will help you improve your business, your coaching abilities and help you prepare for your future, but only if you use them correctly! Simply reading them and checking them off a list will leave 90% of the benefits on the table.
Take your time reading them. Highlight and underline. Write notes in the margins. Dog-ear pages for things that really resonate with you. Practice what the books are teaching you and reserve consistent time to read at least 30 minutes a day. Every single one of the top coaches I’ve met makes this an anchor in their week.
If you’re thinking about a business coach, or perhaps a mentor, I’d be happy to schedule a call with you. You can email me at Brodie@HumanVortexTraining.com.
Here’s to your continued growth and success!