The books below are the best books for athletes. Many people would assume this is a waste of time writing about books for athletes because the stereotype is that athletes don’t read. It does not matter what the stereotype or whether you read a lot or not. These books will make you really want to read more. These books will change how you see everything from this point forward about books for athletes as well as being an athlete in general.
#1 of Books for Athletes – Relentless- Tim Grover
This book comes from one of the most renowned basketball trainers of all time. He has coached the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and of course Micheal Jordan. Laying own what it takes to be the best. He breaks down what makes a world-class player and the intangibles needed to become world class.
The greatest part of this book is the tone. He is coaching you from the pages. He’s not there to hold your hand and he is not there to pet your ego. He is here to make you better. His brutal honest rings through in this book. It is definitely a book all athletes would benefit from greatly!
#2 of Books for Athletes – Extreme Ownership- Jocko Willink/Leif Babin
One of the greatest book I have ever personally read. With real-world applications in the military brought into the business world. As an athlete, I took the lessons in this book to heart. If you want to be an effective leader you need to pick this book up. Two former navy seals give their experience in Ramadi, Iraq.
Leif Babin and Jocko Willink give you simple, effective tools to help you become the leader of a team. From ownership, all the way to discipline. It is a book that will be a great reference for all who read it the first time.
#3 of Books for Athletes – The Champions Mind- Jim Afremow
The author of this book has made a name for himself in the sport psychologic field. In The champions mind, he lays out how some of the greatest athletes in the world can get and keep in the right mindset. Even amongst some of the most difficult circumstances, they know how to zone in.
He gives you real-world tips and tricks from some of the greatest in the field of psychology. He does a great job as making this scalable also. From the recreational athlete all the way to the elite of the elite. A great read for anyone who may be looking to increase their mental capacity. Breaking down how some of the champions minds of today works.
#4 of Books for Athletes – The Champions Comeback- Jim Afremow
This is the same author of the book above. In his second book, he brings the reader into a world where a loss does not rule an athlete. Everyone goes through losing at some point in their lives. Athletes get hurt often as well. Injury to an athlete could possibly the greatest loss. Losing time in the sport you love can be heartbreaking, worse yet is the fear of reinjury after recovery.
In this book, he brings the read tips and tricks to help relieve that heartbreak. Real actionable ways to get yourself back on the road to excellence.
#5 of Books for Athletes – Legacy- James Kerr
James Kerr brings the readers behind the scenes of one of, if not THE, most successful sports organizations in history. The New Zealand All Blacks. He breaks down in extreme detail why they are so successful. What their culture has done to drive continued success. He brings the lessons he has learned from that organization onto paper. Giving us as the readers a book of guidance. An easy to follow document.
Athletes looking to understand team dynamics, and how to increase your leadership ability need to read this book. Those that are in love where their current organization needs to read this also. There is no team on this planet that had pride in the jersey as all blacks do. They are always looking to leave the jersey in a better place than when they picked it up. Always driving forward progress.
#6 of Books for Athletes – Unbreakable- Thom Shea
Another book by a former navy seal. This book was intended to be left to his children. For when he didn’t make it back home they would have a guide. A manual on how to live life. How internal dialogue is the key to success. Without a proper internal conversation, you can never expect to have the right mindset to get the hard things done.
He brings you from his time in combat all the way to his time doing extreme, multi-day, multi-discipline, races. Bleeding from his feet, being dehydrated. All while telling himself one step at a time. Being strong internally is going to be the best way to be strong outwardly. Definitely a book about grit and determination.
#7 of Books for Athletes – MindGym- Gary Mack
Another book on the mental aspect of sports performance is this one. One of my favorite books on the subject. It gives you about 40 lessons from real-world athletes that have shown proof that mental strength is more important even than physical skill.
This book will give you real tips, tricks, and steps to getting to the mental level of some of the greatest athletes on this planet. Many athletes nowadays diminish the effectiveness of training your mind. Without knowing that a large aspect of the sport is mental. This book will give you that edge on those that don’t look that direction.
#8 of Books for Athletes – Wooden: A lifetime of observations both on and off the court- John Wooden
Coach John Wooden is a legendary coach in the sport of basketball. He is, however, more than that. A great human being. He was full of passion for the progress of athletes not just on the court but also off the court. He was a leader of men. Not just athletes. He gives his accounts, and beliefs in this book.
He lays out his philosophy towards, life, family, excellence as well as success. This book is going to be a life guide for anyone who reads it. It will give any athlete who reads and takes the wisdom the tools needed to become a great human being not just an athlete.
#9 of Books for Athletes – 10% Happier- Dan Harris
You wouldn’t think about this book when it comes to athletes. However, mindfulness meditation is a great tool for athletes. I like this book in particular because Dan Harris brings the real world into the picture. His story is a sad one at first but turns into being just as the book title says, 10% happier.
He tells his story from being a drug user to using mindfulness methods to bring him back from the brink. His story is much like many who are living in today’s society. His story is a cautionary tale to those who are always seeking the next thrill. Many athletes are on this road now. Reading this book gave me some real perspective on how to handle life’s day to day challenges and how to use mindfulness as a tool for being that 10% happier.
#10 of Books for Athletes – Chop Wood, Carry Water- Joshua Medcalf
This book is a fiction book that has some nonfiction lessons built on. It is no more relevant than today. We live in a world where everyone wants the result but no one is willing to climb the mountain all the way. They do not understand that the journey is the result. The things we gain as human beings are all gained in the hardships we endure.
This book is a great book for those looking for some motivation and some inspiration to learn to enjoy the journey to excellence. Without the journey, you will be missing the most important part of being an athlete. The act of getting better every single day. By chopping wood can carrying water. The day to day activities you do to get yourself to a place of greatness. That is what builds character!