Good Reads of 2014: Part 2 of 2
Posted by Dean Holden at January 23rd, 2015
by Dean Holden, 23 January 2015
Here is part 2 of 2. I have copied the book descriptions below the title (italicized), and added comments myself. Enjoy!
“Talent Identification and Development in Sport: International Perspectives” Edited by Joseph Baker, Steve Cobley and Jorg Schorer
Identifying talent in athletes and developing that ability to its fullest potential is a central concern of sport scientists, sports coaches and sports policy makers. This book offers a comprehensive synthesis of current knowledge in talent identification and development in sport, from the biological basis of ability to the systems and processes within sport through which that ability is nurtured.
Written by a team of leading international experts, the book explores key factors and issues in contemporary sport, including:
- secondary factors such as birth date, cultural context and population size
- perceptual motor skill acquisition and expertise
- sports development policy
- in-depth case studies, including European soccer, East African running and US pro sports.
With an emphasis throughout on practical implications and processes for all those working in sport, the book offers an authoritative evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary systems for identifying and developing talent in sport. This is important reading for any student, researcher or practitioner with an interest in skill acquisition, youth sport, elite sport, sports coaching or sports development.
I confess to being a bit of a Talent ID and Development geek! I am continually reading about this topic as I have two young children (a girl aged 4.5 and a boy aged 6.75 at the time of this writing) thus I want to ensure I understand these topics so I can provide my kids with the best possible pathway to enjoy their time in sport! This book offers five selections concerning the theoretical and conceptual models for understanding T-ID and Development; then follows up with several international case studies in various sports. I particularly appreciate the practical implications across several different contemporary T-ID and Development cultures. These provide a global perspective as a grounding to design my ‘own’ particular approach to my own unique situation.
As coach of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team, Anson Dorrance has won more than 90 percent of his games, groomed far more All-Americans, and captured more NCAA championships than any other coach in the sport ten times over. Author Tim Crothers spent four years interviewing Dorrance and Tar Heels players from every era, along with players and coaches from rival college programs, to create the most comprehensive, intimate, and unfiltered look ever inside the most prolific dynasty in college athletics. Updated to include the story of the Tar Heels’s 2008 and 2009 NCAA championships, The Man Watching is the authorized biography of a fascinating man and the more than 200 young women he inspired to believe that anything is possible.
This one has been on my shelf for a few years now, yet I am just getting around to reading it. I enjoy learning about day-to-day routines of the inner workings of hothouse environments. There is a lot of self-awareness and self-discovery as Dorrance interacts with the author. A great insider’s view of the leadership and culture that was (and is) driving the way of one of the most successful NCAA programs ever!
“LTAD is a long-term approach to maximizing individual potential and involvement in sport. The importance of having high-quality coaches working with children and young people during the early stages of their involvement in sport is crucial to the concept. Although a primary aim of LTAD is to produce greater numbers of performers who are capable of achieving at the highest level, it also provides a platform for coaches to encourage and support participation at every level to fulfil their potential and remain involved in sport.”
As an advocate of the LTAD and many of its underlying concepts (I do challenge the popularized 10,000 hour rule as I believe quality trumps quantity… and this has been shown to be true in various studies already published on my site), Physical Literacy and Fundamental Movement Skills are so critically important to teach our children at a young age! Give them as many experiences as possible (land, air, water, snow, ice, etc.) so they develop a broad base, find out what they love – where their passions are – and then you can start to tailor their experiences as they age, based on age-appropriate involvement for early or late specialization sports. If they are reasonably proficient in sport, they have more fun, which feeds into them wanting to play for life! This helps keep them fit, healthy and will help reduce society’s obesity issue. Even if you are not a coaching professional, I urge you to become familiar with the tenets in this book or seek out web-based information, such as this: http://canadiansportforlife.ca/
“Developing Sport Expertise: Researchers and Coaches Put Theory Into Practice“ Edited by Damian Farrow, Joe Baker and Clare MacMahon
The development of an athlete from basic performance to elite level of accomplishment is a long and complicated process. Identifying and nurturing talent, developing and fine tuning sport skills, and maintaining high levels of performance over the course of a career requires many thousands of hours of training and, increasingly, the input and support of expert coaches and sport scientists.
In this fully revised and updated new edition of the leading student and researcher overview of the development of sports expertise, a team of world-class sport scientists and professional coaches examine the fundamental science of skill acquisition and explore the methods by which science can be applied in the real-world context of sport performance. This book surveys the very latest research in skill acquisition, provides a comprehensive and accessible review of core theory and key concepts and includes an innovative ‘Coaches Corner’ feature in each chapter, in which leading coaches offer insights from elite sport and critique contemporary practice in sport skill development.
With new chapters offering more material on key topics such as instruction and observation and expert visual perception, the second edition of Developing Sport Expertise is invaluable reading for all researchers and students in the areas of expertise in sport, skill acquisition, motor control and development, sport psychology, or coaching theory and practice.
While the chapters in this book can be a heavier academic read, I suggest you read the abstract at the start and FINDINGS at the end of each chapter as you will gain a ‘Reader’s Digest’ snapshot of the important information. This book is an interesting marriage of theory and application. I really liked the ‘Coaches Corner’ inserts and suspect even the casual coach will too.
“Inside Coaching Hockey” by Richard Bercuson
“This is the way all our kids should be coached in hockey. It’s skill-based, superb use of space and time, wise about every facet of the game from starting out as a player to coaching at the highest level — and fun. And fun, surely, is what hockey was always intended to be. Congratulations to Richard Bercuson.” – Roy MacGregor, Hockey Hall of Fame author and journalist
I met Richard a few years ago through Hockey Canada meetings concerning ways to improve coach mentorship and remained in touch ever since. A recently retired teacher and principal (June 2014), he has coached all levels of the game and worn many administrative hats with the ultimate purpose to better the game for players, coaches and other stakeholders. He is a co-host of a weekly one-hour radio show, “Grassroots: The Minor Hockey Show” on TSN 1200 in Ottawa and is an (sometimes humorous) author of note. Full disclosure: He sent me a copy of his book to review and has a link to my Get Sport IQ site on his website, but because we live across the country from each other, no beers have been exchanged… (yet!) All joking aside, I was impressed with his book and look forward to his weekly radio show as it seems we share similar beliefs in changing the game to give it back to the kids! Kids ‘play’ hockey, they don’t ‘work’ hockey! An easy and often humorous read, I heartily recommend ‘Inside the Game’ to gain a healthy dose of perspective on how we should better coach our kids.
“The ABC’s of International Hockey” by Juhani Wahlsten and Tom Molloy
Presented and prepared for the IIHF World Championship, this program combines methods from Europe and Canada in a program that progresses from level 0 to level 6. Excellence through participation, this learn-by-doing method uses drills and games to teach skills and allows creativity in order to develop the complete player. The program theme is Enjoy the Game. This book contains the basic manual plus practice cards for the first three years of hockey (levels 0-1-2); beginners to age 9.
Finally, I always like to give a ‘shout out’ for this book and a free site maintained by Tom Molloy (I encourage you to support him by buying his book and/or making a donation as he pays the monthly web hosting fee out of his own pocket. I can’t find any other hockey site that gives away daily content for free!) It has been used by the IIHF as a coaching manual provided to some of its member countries. As a disclaimer, I have known Tom since the early 1990’s but feel my recommendation of the book is unbiased. (I don’t receive any money, for mentioning this book; however, we have been known to drink beers with each other during coaching discussions!) Similar to Richard’s book above, I believe Tom’s book is a very good primer on helping coaches moving away from a ‘stand-in-line too long/dis-engagement’ ‘skills / unconnected drills’ ‘limited/no accountability’ ‘no fun’ traditional practice methodology toward something that is more representative of how I coach at Sport IQ.
I am a strong believer in developing excellent technical capabilities and putting them into action. My definition of an elite athlete is someone who demonstrates “Head’s up technique + game-like speed of execution + ability to perform under pressure (even while fatigued) + consistency + ‘on demand’ = an elite athlete.” This definition has been taken from the teachings of my collegue, Dr. Stephen Norris and associated scholarly readings, plus my thirty plus years of coaching and almost 20 years of playing.
Wayne Gretzky holds the records for the most goals, assists, and points scored in a career, in addition to about 60 other records. These feats, in tandem with his exceptional on-ice performances, earned him the nickname “The Great One” as well as the immediate retirement of his number (99) across the NHL at the end of his playing days. During his 10-year career with the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky led the team to five Stanley Cup Finals appearances and four wins. After moving on to Los Angeles, he also led the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. Gretzky ended his career with the New York Rangers in 1999.
Far from a conventional biography, Facing Wayne Gretzky offers perspectives and testimonials from opponents and teammates alike, including Denis Potvin, Kelly Hrudey, Rob Blake, and many more.
Never has another hockey player achieved what “The Great One” did on the ice, and it is unlikely that one will soon. This book details what it’s like to face the best player who ever skated, illuminating his passing ability, his deceptively effective shot, and his inventiveness both with the puck and without.
Hold the presses! I just picked this up at the library a few days ago and wow – it has knocked my socks off so far! I love reading biographies and first-hand accounts of impactful people and Gretzky certainly qualifies. Similar to a 360 degree business assessment, this is an outstanding opportunity to hear about what made Gretzky so special; from teammates, opponents, coaches and officials. I am compiling a list of common performance characteristics as I read the book so I can try to ‘load’ my teaching environment / methodology in such a way as to bring these characteristics to the forefront in my own athletes!
“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse the bridge, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” Nikos Kazantzakis
<Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy some of these books and sites! If you have any other reading suggestions, please make your recommendations under the Comments section. Until the next edition of ‘Good Reads’… Cheers! – DH>
Category: recommended reading / books