Coaching Association of Canada

4 Must-Read Books for Coaches, by Jason Reindl, ChPC.


Jason Reindl is currently Head Coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ Cross Country/Track & Field program. A Chartered Professional Coach (ChPC), Jason was previously Head Coach of the University of New Brunswick’s Track & Field team and is a member of the Board of directors for Coach New Brunswick. Enrolled in the Masters in High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership at the University of British Columbia, he was also named Atlantic University Sport Coach of the Year earlier in 2017.

In this Coaches plan article, Coach Reindl offers his take on 4 must-read books on coaching, which he says will benefit coaches at all levels of play.

Coaching Better Every Season by Wade Gilbert
Coaching Better Every Season: A Year-Round System for Athlete Development and Program Success provides a detailed blueprint for coaches, including proven methods and best practices in the preseason, in-season, postseason, and off-season. Research supported and field tested prescriptions and protocols will produce more positive results and a more professional approach to coaching.

Coach Reindl’s Take:
This was one of the best books on coaching I have read in a long time and I recommend it to every coach no matter the sport, age, or level they are coaching at. The stories and experiences from world leading, expert coaches provide insights that can relate to even the most unique coaching situations. Whether I was reflecting on my coaching practice in regards to the performance athletes that I work with, or developmental ones, this book had a tip, worksheet, or suggestion that had a positive impact. The addition of practical worksheets provides coaches with the tools to move their coaching to the next level. I took many of the sheets and easily adapted them for my coaching situation. This is a book that I will be looking back on as a reference for many years to come.

Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew
Readers learn the foundational principles of improving relationships, enhancing engagement, and gaining the trust of the athletes they work with through targeted communication. Readers also learn concrete strategies to apply these principles in day-to-day coaching situations. A book that sets the stage for coaches to create a culture of success not only within sport, but also beyond.

Coach Reindl’s Take:
The longer I coach, the more I realize the importance of relationships, communication, and buy-in. This text zooms in on these areas. It encourages self-reflection in how one communicates with athletes and builds positive relationships based on trust and open dialogue. I found myself laughing as I related to stories from the book and types ofathletes the author has interacted with. The art and science of these topics are discussed as part of four themes of what makes a conscious coach: 1) buy in (trust), 2) relationships, 3) social intelligence, and 4) time. No shortcuts exist and this text will benefit any coach in the areas of relationship and trust building. This text reiterates, in all areas of my life, that relationships are the foundation to success and while many failures stem from a lack thereof.

Peak performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
Common principles exists that drive performance. Regardless of the field many of the practices that led to great success are the same. With the latest scientific insights and a challenge to reevaluate our traditional way of thinking, Peak performance uncovers the secrets of success and guides readers on how to use them to take their performance to the next level.

Coach Reindl’s Take:
As a coach, I am continually looking for ways to improve the performance of the athletes that I work with. I am also on a personal and professional development mission to improve my performance as a coach. This book provides practical applications to both areas with reference to cutting edge research and thought provoking reflections on previous breakthroughs. I have had the privilege to hear and speak with one of the authors, Steve Magness (author of The Science of Running), and am continually impressed at how he evaluates the world around him as a coach, scientist, researcher, and author. I found this text so enjoyable that I am now hoping that Steve and the other half of the writing team, Brad Stulberg, pair up for future works. Peak Performance helped me identify key areas of my lifestyle that I can refine and improve upon to aid in my performance and the performance of the athletes that I work with. It challenged me to reflect on the pursuit of performance within my training group and daily training environment starting with simple, easy to implement areas that had been previously overlooked. A can’t miss book for any coach. 

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
An enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals ten secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking attitude that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. A tale that leads the reader on a journey to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.

Coach Reindl’s Take:
My coaching philosophy is built on simplicity and this books hits on one of the simplest and foundational principles within that philosophy, a positive attitude. No matter how many books I read I always come back and recommend this one as a staple for any coach/team leader. I have referenced it in presentations from New Brunswick, to Saskatchewan, and all the way to Bahrain with every group consistently nodding their heads in agreement as we discussed the importance of positive energy, making positive choices, and being a supportive teammate. We will all face challenges and adversity in our lives, but it is our attitude and how we approach them that dictate how we persevere and grow from them. The last rule of the Energy Bus is to Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride. A rule I would encourage all to remember.

Final Take:
As I reflect on all of the texts together, I come to the conclusion that books, no matter the topic, can provide us with information that we can turn into knowledge, and then through further reflection, into wisdom. The books listed above have lead me to the conclusion that if we, as coaches, have prepared accordingly and planned appropriately, have a solid relationship built on trust, honest, and open communication, we can then pursue performance. We can make adjustments and adjust to maximize our results. If we do all of this with a positive attitude and positive energy, then everything will ultimately take care of itself. Sure, there will be bumps along the road, but with it all planned and prepared for built on a solid foundation, all we need to do is remember to have fun and enjoy the ride.