1. Your Brain At Work by David Rock
David Rock isn't a neuroscientist. He cares about this information he's writing about and he brings brain research to life - for actual people! He gives you actual ways of managing yourself and steps you need to take to be more productive and less overwhelmed. You (and your athletes) can take it, learn it, and actually implement it!
I can't believe how much I love this book. It's easy to understand and makes SO much sense. I think it's a great read for you - to build awareness about yourself. Plus...there are so many tangible things you can pull from this book to use with your team.
2. The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal
Kelly asks people to acknowledge the reality of stress and begin to see how stress can help us tap into our strengths.
I've read parts of this book to my yoga students and they've loved it. A big concept here based on current research: “we get stressed because” versus “we get stressed so that”.
Kelly introduced new research to students at Stanford teaching them how to deal with test anxiety and social anxiety in a way that helps them thrive. "It was like the first time students would leave looking happy rather than demoralized because I had met the reality of their lives which is that stressful."
3. From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Value-Based Leadership by Harry Kraemer
If you like books on leadership, this is a clear and simple book to add to your collection. Kraemer proposes that "leadership has nothing to do with titles and work charts. It has everything to do with the ability to influence people." He argues that strong values are the key to real leadership: you have to relate to others before you can influence them and before you can relate to them, you have to know yourself first.
If you plan on doing any activities on values with your team this season, don't miss the opportunity to tie that into leadership!
4. Playing Big by Tara Moehr
What I like about this book are the practical exercises you can adapt and use this with your team. Tara talks about the inner critic, the inner mentor, looking at fear, unhooking from criticism, hiding, leaping, and communicating with power.
Break it up and cover a chapter each month - depending on what you see your athletes struggling with. Or better yet - ask them which chapter your team should talk about this month.
5. Learning Games: Leadership by Kim Smith and Leslie Shevlin
Now, I've got to admit, I don't my hands on this one yet...because it's hot off the press. AND it's on it's way! Leslie is the Head Men's and Women's Swimming Coach at Willamette College in Salem, OR and comes to my coaching summits each year. She contributed to this book and has used these activities first-hand with her team and with members of the student athlete advisory committee.