Google+ Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

PCA occasionally recommends books for youth sports coaches, parents or student-athletes. Many feature writing by or about PCA National Advisory Board Members!


How to Play Baseball: A Parent’s Role in Their Child’s Journey by Chuck Schumacher

Parents gain tremendous insight from this book on guiding their children to success through sports. Yes, some ideas here may lead to success in sports, such as the hitting advice, “it’s what they do before they swing that counts.” But the book excels more in elaboration on that advice, which teaches timeless lessons about commitment and preparation that contributes to success in life through sports. Though Schumacher focuses on baseball as one of his coaching passions, the book also draws from his experience as a martial arts instructor, and the values and lessons here apply to all sports. Learn More >>

Author Jill Vialet is contributing all proceeds from the sale of this  book to Playworks >>, the non-profit she founded to bring quality play and recess experiences to children at schools throughout the U.S. Even without that admirable approach to benefiting youth, Recess Rules stands on its own as a fun and thought-provoking read for ages 10 through adult. The heroes and heroines are a group of fifth graders determined to rescue recess from being cut out of the school day by administrators. Clarence is an unforgettable character, an angel who serves as a coach, not only in guiding the children to creating a quality recess, but also in helping them recognize their own power to enhance and impact their community. Learn more >>!


11 Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty

PCA National Spokesperson and 11-time NBA Champion Coach Phil Jackson shares his coaching approach and the forces that shaped it -- from the culture of the Lakota tribe to Buddhism to sideline sages such as Red Holzman and Tex Winter, to whom the book is dedicated. Within tales of his titles, Jackson weaves autobiography and inside stories of the stars he coached -- Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal -- all toward illustrating leadership principles for coaches, executives and others blazing trails to success. Learn more!  


Raising Your Game by Ethan Skolnick and Dr. Andrea Corn

PCA National Advisory Board Members such as Shane Battier, Brandi Chastain, Herm Edwards, Julie Foudy and Steve Kerr are among the 100-plus top athletes who dispense advice and perspective on sports parenting. Many share memories of their parents and some shed light on how they are raising their own kids in sports. Skolnick, who covers the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post, and Corn, a psychologist, use the athletes' observations to illustrate how all sports parents can help their children enjoy a healthy, productive youth sports experience. Learn more!  


The Quality of Effort: Integrity in Sport and Life for Student-Athletes, Parents and Coaches by Reggie Marra

Part memoir, part how-to, part polemic, all nourishing food for thought. Reggie Marra draws from his student-athlete experience and his years of coaching and some PCA messaging to delve into the many life lessons available through sport. Questions for introspection end each of the book's 12 sections, including "Winning, Losing and Competing--a Perspective"; "The Student-Athlete and the Classroom" and "Delaying Gratification: Substance Abuse, Sexual Activity and Cheating." Learn more!


The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

If you are part of a family, you should read this book. Bruce Feiler shares wisdom from sources as disparate as Warren Buffett and PCA’s Jim Thompson. The youth sports chapter alone is worth the cover price! In times when families may text more than talk, Feiler provides tips that deliver on the book’s audacious title. Plus, his breezy style and humor make for a fast read, leaving time for you to spend with family, putting these insights into practice. Learn more!


The Puck Hog by Christie Casciano, illustrated by Rose Mary Casciano Moziak

This delightful book for children ages 6-9 teaches an important lesson about teamwork. Set in Syracuse, where Casciano is a TV news anchor and mother of two youth hockey players, the book focuses on a youth hockey team's struggle with the title character, a dominant scorer who won't pass the puck. The book presents coping mechanisms for players who find themselves facing teamwork challenges and can start discussions between sports parents and their children. Learn more!


Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point by Joe Drape

Joe Drape -- The New York Times reporter and author of Our Boys, featuring Double-Goal Coach® Award winner Roger Barta -- turns his attention to West Point. The stirring story of an Army football season delves into the character-development-through-sport that takes place at the U.S. Military Academy. Head Coach Rich Ellerson brings a surprisingly new age coaching style to the oldest of old schools and prepares his players for battles far more important than the Army-Navy game. Learn more!  



The Ride of a Lifetime by Ruthie Bolton (PCA National Advisory Board Member)

Ruthie Bolton, two-time Olympic Basketball Gold Medalist and WNBA star, has one of the most amazing life stories you will ever read. Growing up in rural Mississippi as one of 20 children forged her character that helped overcome long odds and reach the peak of her profession. Her focus on character and the lessons she learned from her father make this a fantastic Father's Day read -- full of inspiration and insight for players, parents and coaches. Learn more!  


The Most Expensive Game in Town by Mark Hyman

The journalist and author of the heart-rending youth sports staple, Until it Hurts, again trains his keen eye on youth sports. Sections address corporate influence, participation fees, private coaching, and the causes and effects of the commercialization of youth sports. This could have just been a rant against high prices and a sentimental call for a return to "sandlot ball." Instead, it's a disciplined reportorial look at the individual and societal costs of what Hyman calls "the youth sports arms race." Learn more!  


Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time
by Tom Limbert (Foreword by PCA National Advisory Board Member Steve Young)

This book offers beautiful photos and quotes from famous coaches, such as  PCA National Advisory Board Members Dean Smith and the late Bill Walsh. Young's foreword recalls life lessons through sports from his father and his coaches, explaining how they shaped the way he raises his own children. Limbert carries the theme forward with section introductions written from his heart to yours and a knack for stopping short of telling you what to think, so that the coach quotes can speak for themselves. Learn more  


Becoming a True Champion by Kirk Mango with Daveda Lamont
(Foreword by PCA National Advisory Board Member Nadia Comaneci)

Mango -- a high school teacher, coach and past NCAA Division I gymnastics champion -- prescribes how to become not just a great athlete but also a "true champion." The difference is that a true champion is fueled by -- and exhibits -- exemplary character. Becoming a True Champion is equal parts workbook and inspiration for athletic success that carries over into the rest of a youth athlete's life. Learn more!  


All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill

All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill is designed to help dads be their best. It includes a foreword by PCA National Advisory Board Member Tony Dungy. Learn more!


Books by Jim Thompson

Books by Jim Thompson

for coaches, parents and athletes supplement our workshops and are great resources for continuing information and inspiration.
Free Coaching Tips E-Mailed Weekly

Free Coaching Tips E-Mailed Weekly

Our season-long e-mailed Talking Points give youth and high school sports coaches key topics to discuss with players to help them become "Better Athletes, Better People."