Best Books for Sports Training

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Let’s face it: when it comes to hitting books, athletes don’t always have the best reputation. Despite several studies demonstrating that athletes perform better academically than non-athletes, this bias persists. According to a study by a Kansas University, athletes have better school attendance, higher graduation rates, higher scores on assessment tests and lower dropout rates.

Books for sports training are meant to make athletes better. Simply reading and studying books and other valuable resources related to your field for just an hour daily would put you at the top of your field. Books for sports training will teach you about important life lessons you need to learn right now to be motivated, determined and prepared for the future.

If you are a truly competitive athlete, you will stop at nothing to be the best. While coaches, trainers and even therapists play a significant role in helping you become elite, books are indispensable. You will learn how to put yourself in the right place mentally to be the best. Even the best coaches and trainers can’t know everything. Very few of them are well versed with sports nutrition or the mental side of sports performance.

Best Books for Sports Training

Coaches are different and come at their athletes from specific perspectives. Some trainers tend to be very technical while others are all about pushing your limit. As an athlete, whether competitive or recreational, you should be out there reading books and learning what might work best for you to be the best version of yourself. Teach yourself how to not get hurt, have good form and enhance your mental game. If you’re not already doing this, then guess what? Your competition is!

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best books for sports training we’ve come across and why they foster exceptional development.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 4th Edition

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  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 752 Pages – 11/16/2015 (Publication Date) – Human Kinetics (Publisher)

This book covers various aspects of strength training and conditioning including concepts, key theories and scientific principles. From basic exercise physiology (energy systems, hormones, resistance training to muscular adaptations, etc.) to applying that info in practice for enhancing athletic performance, this book has everything any athlete needs. Developed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and now in its 4th edition, this comprehensive resource is a must-have for strength and conditioning students and professionals. It is created by 30 expert contributors in the strength and conditioning field. The 4th edition features most current research and updates to convey the skills, knowledge and abilities required. The text is presented to guide readers from theory to practical strategies. You also get online videos with 21 resistance training exercises, updated research on different areas, a new chapter with photos and instructions presenting techniques for exercise, and learning aids including self-study questions.

Unleash Your True Athletic Potential

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  • Type A Publishing (Publisher)

Written by a certified personal trainer, Havening Practitioner, life-long athlete and hypnotist Julianne Soviero (“Coach Julie”), this book is essential for all athletes as it looks at all components of performing your best, as opposed to concentrating on one aspect. The book discusses all the elements that affect athletic performance including injury prevention, cross-training, nutrition, sleep, hydration, the mental component of performance and optimal recovery. The book is based on the revolutionary True Athletic Potential Program designed by the author. This book is a product of years of research that included interviewing some of the top athletes, coaches, trainers, social workers and physical therapists. Since her career-ending injury 15 years ago, Julianne Soviero has been obsessed with optimal sports performance. Whether a fitness enthusiast or a pro athlete, this guide will help you unleash your true athletic potential and maximize performance.

Functional Training by Juan Carlos “JC” Santana

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  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Santana, Juan Carlos “JC” (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 989 Pages – 05/05/2015 (Publication Date) – Human Kinetics (Publisher)

In this book, the author presents his revolutionary approach to training and conditioning methods that will help athletes improve their performance. Regardless of your sport or activity, this book will help you achieve optimal results. The book covers recent breakthroughs, proven programs and exercise you can incorporate into your current training regimen whether you are an athlete, athletic trainer or coach. The 3-tier approach will help you integrate functional movement to your existing strength program. This comprehensive resource covers programming, sequencing and progressions on which a practical functional training program is based. Through analysis and assessment, you’ll pinpoint the muscles and movements involved in your sport, then pick the ideal programs and exercises based on your performance goals and desired results. The book features 135 exercises and addresses the need of over 11 sports. Learn how to make the most out of dumbbells and kettlebells, bands and pulleys, stability balls and medicine balls.

Raising Young Athletes: Parenting Your Children to Victory in Sports and Life by Jim Taylor

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  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Taylor, PhD, Jim, (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 182 Pages – 10/12/2018 (Publication Date) – Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Publisher)

Written by world-renowned sports psychologist Dr. Jim Taylor, this book is based upon years of working with the parents of elite athletes. The book highlights the role of parents in shaping their kids’ sports experience. It outlines practical ways to provide your kids with the 4 pillars of athletic success – a sense of self, values, perspective and ownership. It acknowledges the dark side of today’s youth sports culture – impractical expectations. Most parents and coaches emphasize on winning and this has changed sports from being fun to a burden. The book offers a guiding hand to help parents make sure their kids’ sports participation promotes healthy developments and fosters a positive attitude. As such, practical advice will prepare young athletes to be victorious in sports and life in general. It also discusses the obstacles to success – perfectionism, expectations, overinvestment, emotions and fear of failure.

A Still Quiet Place for Athletes: Mindfulness Skills for Achieving Peak Performance and Finding Flow in Sports and Life by Amy Saltzman MD

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  • Saltzman MD, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 03/01/2018 (Publication Date) – New Harbinger Publications (Publisher)

Taking the number 5 spot is this book meant to help professional athletes and sports enthusiasts with finding flow and reaching peak performance both in sports and in life. Written by the longtime athlete, mindfulness coach and physician Amy Saltzman, this workbook provides practical tools to learn how to visualize, focus, meditate and focus on the process, and be in your best mental state to be the best version of yourself. The book emphasizes the importance of incorporating mindfulness practices in training. According to the author, 90 percent of performance is mental. Mindfulness helps to you connect with the moment, lower stress levels and bounce back mentally after setbacks. Mindfulness can also teach you how to handle the physical aspects of training such as pains, aches, fatigue, burnout, injury and exhaustion throughout your athletic career and in daily life.


Sometimes, all you need to progress is a little motivation. Setbacks and ceaseless pursuit of fitness goals can sometimes be disheartening. Reading a book can ignite your passion and fuel your drive to the top. Training your mind and spirit is just as essential as training your muscles. What are you waiting for? Go get your inner nerd and begin reading these books for sports training to help take your performance or coaching up a notch. You will step into the mindset of each author and learn how to maximize your potential at any level.