As a basketball coach and leader, it’s up to you to make sure your team is motivated and ready to tackle new challenges. You need to steer your players in the right direction, keep them motivated, keep them healthy, and keep their minds focused on the game. And you need motivation yourself!
That’s where coaching books come in. Books can help you on the coaching journey. They have plenty of valuable information with regard to teaching basketball coaches and sports professionals about team building, leadership, strategy, philosophy, and more.
Not sure which books to start with? Don’t worry. Here’s a research-based review of some of the best basketball coaching books.
Best overall basketball coaching book: Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty
Best book on details of the coaching process: Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Basketball, by Keith Miniscalco and Greg Kot
Best book on strategic leadership: Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization, by John Wooden
Best book on team psychology: The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players, by Pat Riley
Best book on resilience: Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court, by Jay Bilas and Coach K
Best instructional guide book: Coaching Basketball Successfully, by Morgan Wootten and Joe Wootten
Best book on player development: Bleeding Orange: Fifty Years of Blind Referees, Screaming Fans, Beasts of the East, and Syracuse, by Jim Boeheim and Jack McCallum
Great Basketball Coaching Books
Phil Jackson has won more championships than any other coach in the history of sports. This book is a unique insight into his growth and career in general. Jackson tells an interesting story of working with and mentoring the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Few basketball coaching books out there are as uplifting and motivating as this one. It easily qualifies as a book about leadership. Jackson digs deep to discuss everything from his beliefs and relationships with his players to the popular triangle offense strategy.
Throughout the book, you get more than just a glimpse of Jackson’s Zen philosophy, which not only was successful but also contrasted with most other coaching styles. The book is also brings to life stories of his favorite players, with Kobe Bryant taking center stage. Jackson also discusses some of his major games, such as the strategies employed to win the 1993 NBA finals when he was head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
This will be a fascinating read for anyone keen to understand how Phil Jackson, nicknamed the “Zen Master,” did more than just employ Eastern ideology to become the most decorated basketball coach of all time.
This book is an awesome memoir of Pat Summitt’s 38 years as the head coach of the Tennessee Vols women’s team. She highlights the most defining moments behind her remarkable eight national championship wins and 1098 victories. For the first time, she tells her intriguing story as the most successful coach in NCAA basketball history.
From her tough-love rural upbringing to her journey as a mother and how she’s learned to communicate better, this book tells it all. She doesn’t shy away from talking about her challenges, either—expressing regret over her failed marriage and the lessons she’s had to learn as a mother.
Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, Summitt still led the Vols to win the SEC Championship the following year. Her great sense of humor and outstanding leadership skills are readily apparent in her voice. This is a book about hard work, dedication and, pure wit–a must-read for basketball coaches and basketball fans looking to gain a better understanding of the game.
Nurturing young talent and cultivating a love for the game must be some of the most rewarding experiences any sport has to offer. Longtime coaches Keith Miniscalco and Greg Kot understand this all too well and share their knowledge and wisdom with the world through this enlightening read.
Whether you’re a professional coach or just starting out, this is a must-read. The book breaks down everything from the fundamentals of the game to running practices to steering a young team in the right direction. You also get to understand intricate details such as organizing a team and giving strategic plays.
Any beginning coach will highly appreciate the value of this book since it’s basically a manual on how to effectively coach youth teams. It’s packed with content that will help young players learn essential skills and strategies that will help them excel in the game.
John Wooden has had an unmatched record of success as a basketball coach, making him the greatest coach in all of sports history, according to Sporting News. He’s coached more NCAA championship basketball teams that anyone else in history. It’s no surprise the guys at ESPN named him the Coach of the Century. John Wooden was indeed no ordinary man.
In Wooden on Leadership, this legendary college basketball coach talks about the principles and practice of leadership. He starts by outlining 15 principles of success then goes ahead to offer no shortage of lessons on leadership from his extensive career in and out of the basketball court.
The book takes readers behind the scenes to show how Wooden’s leadership philosophies helped him achieve something no other coach has come close to achieving. Wooden also pulls back the curtain by sharing some of the things that he did that didn’t work and of which he was ashamed.
This book makes for great basketball reading. It has particular value for basketball coaches and business leaders of all shapes and sizes.
Written by Pat Riley, one of America’s greatest coaches, there is no doubt that The Winner Within is larger than a baseball book. It focuses on how to understand and control team dynamics, whether it’s a group of sportsmen, a family, a small company, or a large corporation.
Pat draws upon his experiences as well as those of great teachers, both in and out of the court, to decipher how teams work and how to nurture cooperation for the greater good.
It’s an inspiring read that reveals team mentality secrets that lead to greater accomplishment. For team leaders and coaches, The Winner Within provides an effective way to overcome obstacles and bring out the best in your team.
A true master of the winning mentality, Riley passes on wise words to his readers through numerous stories from business and society as a whole. With thought-provoking clarity, he articulates the power of attitude and positive energy.
The book provides a plethora of winning strategies that motivate people to work together in harmony. The Winner Within is quite remarkable.
This book’s title tells it all. It’s a book by Jay Bilas, with a Foreword by Coach Mike Krzyzewski, about toughness and what it takes to achieve success, both in basketball and in life.
Currently working as an ESPN basketball analyst, this former Duke college basketball player and assistant coach to Coach K, now a broadcaster, tells the story of his life journey and the lessons he has learned along the way.
Jay has had his fair share of ups and downs, which have forced him to be thick-skinned. He redefines what it means to be tough through personal accounts and stories from the likes of Coach K, Grant Hill, and Tom Izzo.
The stories in this book revisit the different kinds of challenges people have faced and how they’ve managed to overcome them. It’s really an amazing collection of stories, which makes it an interesting read. Jay aims to build confidence, attitude, and the ability to make adjustments when needed, helping players reach their maximum potential.
Toughness shows the importance of being resilient, even when things are not going your way. A great read for coaches, leaders, CEOs, parents, mentors, and more.
In Coaching Basketball Successfully, Morgan Wootten–considered the best high school coach of all time–shares his wealth of knowledge on the game of basketball.
Although he has since retired from coaching, his knowledge and understanding of the game remain unparalleled. The book contains a broad spectrum of coaching wisdom on topics such as offense and defense tactics, player communication, motivation, and more.
This book acts as a handy coaching guide for any team. Wootten goes above and beyond to help you understand every aspect of the game and how to excel at it. Inside, you’ll find drills, insights, instructions, and much more.
The third edition provides even more wisdom for basketball coaches and fans. Wootten includes lessons, tactics, and coaching experiences from his son Joe, who is also a successful high school coach. This book digs deep into basketball coaching and touches on things larger than sports.
This autobiography is a reflection of Jim Boeheim’s love of basketball, his life, and his long-time career as head coach at Syracuse University. It also offers lessons Boeheim has learned since 1962 when he first set foot on the Syracuse University campus as a freshman. His co-author, Jack McCallum, is a respected veteran basketball writer.
Besides Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, no other coach has had more wins in the history of Division I than Jim Boeheim. He talks about the Big East of the 1980s, one of the best shows of college basketball. Boeheim also shares critical milestones and details of his personal life.
This man has experienced it all and documented a great deal of it in this book about his deep commitment and love for the game and the teams that he has lead at Syracuse University for decades. It’s a timeless epic that highlights valuable lessons for basketball coaches and enthusiasts alike.
Choosing the Best Basketball Coaching Book
Basketball coaching books can be of great value, but it helps if you know what you’re searching for. These books aim to advise or enlighten you on specific areas of coaching and life in general. They can inspire an motivate you, and from them you can learn how the greatest coaches handled many challenging situations.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for the right book.
Identify areas in which you wish to improve
One of the easiest ways to choose from the countless basketball coaching books out there is to identify specific aspects of coaching that you need help with.
Maybe you’re looking for the best books on basketball strategy? Perhaps you need a book on leadership? Establishing what you need will help to ensure that you’ll get a book that will provides the most valuable information.
Research the author(s)
Once you’ve established areas of improvement, your next step is to find the most relevant books. If you find an interesting title, be sure to check out the authors’ credentials, background, and even personal lives.
Do they have experience in coaching basketball? How is the quality of the writing?
Ultimately, you want to order a book that you will really want to read.
These books contain advice, insights, and information from some of the greatest basketball coaches in the world. As such, you can pick up valuable lessons that will improve your coaching and change your life for the better.