Its hard to believe that 2010 has come and gone already. It was a pretty busy year for us with athletes competing around the world. There were a lot of successes (California State Championships, Ironman PRs, first Official Pro contracts, etc.) but a few disappointments as well. It seems like in every instance, success or failure, I continue to learn and refine my coaching. Who would of thought that training while under water wasn’t effective?! Kidding, I never had anybody do that or at least you can’t prove it!
2011 will be the 10th year anniversary of Burnham Coaching and the experience I have gained from coaching a diverse group of athletes is invaluable. As a coach I never stop learning and I am always striving to find ways to make the training more effective and efficient. As such I read a lot. I usually go back and forth from books I read for pleasure to clinical books, to somewhere between. To close out 2010 I thought it would be interesting to list out my top 6 books for 2010. Why 6? Because these 6 were that good that I didn’t want to leave any of them off the list.
- Outliers, Malcom Gladwell. This is an older book that I might of read at the end of 2009 but I am including it here since I haven’t mentioned it before on the site. This is a great book that asks the basic question, why do some people succeed? One of the biggest ideas from this book is that it takes 10000 hours to perfect any craft be it sport, a job, etc. Success doesn’t come overnight and we have to take advantage of the opportunities to practice our craft. There are lots of great knowledge bombs in this book and I highly recommend it!
- We Might as Well Win. Johan Bruyneel. I have to admit that I wasn’t too interested in reading this book at first. I have read a lot of cycling books that are nothing more than retelling of past races as if they were cutting and pasting from Velonews and Cyclingnews, I tend to get bored with these as they aren’t adding anything new to the story. I decided to give this one a shot after a few athletes and other coaches recommended it to me and I was glad that I did. While this book has lots of retelling of races it goes into the details of the tactics and what happens in the minds of successful racers on the road.
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall. This book is on the list because it has great characters, is inspirational, a little bit of science in it for the geek in me, and is just a fun read. This book tells the story of the authors journey into ultra-endurance running and his discovery of the Tarahumera Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. One of the greatest ideas from this book is that running doesn’t have to be “no pain, no gain.” Running, and really any sport training, can be an act of sheer joy.
- Decoded, Jay-Z. Yeah, this isn’t sport related but I have found it a really enjoyable book. One of the things I have noticed whether it be in music or sport is that successful people have “it.” That something special, that underlying drive, that ability to step up and not be satisfied with just getting by but wanting to take things to another level. Jay-Z took rap to another level and introduced an element of truth into his music that wasn’t being done in hip-hop. Even if your not into his music the lyrical method of his writing makes this a really good read with a good underlying message.
- Movement. Gray Cook. This is probably the only list you will see that will include Jay-Z and Gray Cook. Gray Cook is the “father” of the functional movement screen and with his first book, Movement in Balance, introduced an effective movement screen to fitness professionals. Movement takes it another step forward and while this does get pretty technical, it is filled with so many knowledge bombs I would consider it a must read for fitness professionals. Gray’s basic principle is that we have to train movements, not muscles since all sport is movement. I find his techniques particularly effective for endurance athletes since his 80/20 principle (80% of the results come from 20% of the work) fits well into an endurance athlete’s schedule and there can be a lot of performance benefit from correcting movement patterns by eleminating “power leaks” of inefficiency.
- Drive, Daniel H. Pink. At the core of any good athlete is strong motivation. Better understanding of how we are motivated can be a valuable tool. Pink goes into detail of how the carrot and stick model of motivation is flawed and how once our basic needs of survival are met the drive to better our selves is intrinsically motivated and how we can better develop that intrinsic motivation. While a lot of his examples are focused on the business world his concepts are applicable to sport.
Happy New Years Ya’ll! Here is to a great 2011!