10 Must-Read Basketball Coaching Books for Coaches of All Levels

We polled 100 coaches across the world at various levels of coaching to come up with our list of basketball coaching books. Our list includes basketball coaching books that have stood the test of time. Each of these books has helped coaches at all levels improve their skills and knowledge.

One of the criteria for selection was that the book had to be written by a basketball coach or written about a basketball coach. Consequently, some amazing books (like “My Losing Season” by Pat Conroy and The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant) that provide incredible insights into coaching from a player’s perspective were not included. Whether you’re a seasoned coach or just starting, these basketball coaching books are sure to provide valuable insights and strategies that will help you take your coaching to the next level.

Why Read Basketball Coaching Books?

Basketball coaches should read basketball coaching books for several reasons. Here are some advantages of reading a basketball coaching book:

  • Gain new insights and knowledge. Reading books on basketball coaching can help coaches gain new insights and knowledge about the game. For instance, coaches can learn new strategies, techniques, and tactics that they can apply to their coaching style.
  • Improve coaching skills. Books on basketball coaching can help coaches improve their skills. For example, coaches can learn how to communicate better with their players, how to motivate them, and how to build a winning team.
  • Learn from the best. Many books on basketball coaching are written by successful coaches who have won championships and achieved great success in the game. Therefore, reading these books can help coaches learn from the best and apply their strategies to their own coaching style.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Basketball is an ever-evolving sport, and coaches need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. So, reading books on basketball coaching can help coaches stay current with the latest developments in the game.
  • Get inspired. Books on basketball coaching can be a source of inspiration for coaches. They can read about other coaches’ journeys, their successes and failures, and how they overcame challenges. As a result, this can inspire coaches to keep pushing themselves to be better.

So, if you’re looking for some of the best basketball coaching books of all time, here are the recommendations of 100 coaches around the world.

Top 10 Must-Read Books for Basketball Coaches

Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehant. In this book, Phil Jackson delves deeper into his coaching journey. In the process, he shares not only basketball insights but also his spiritual and leadership principles. Therefore, it’s a compelling read for coaches interested in a holistic approach to coaching and leadership.

Wooden On Leadership by John Wooden. John Wooden is one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. As a result, it provides practical advice on leadership and how to build a winning team.

The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players by Pat Riley. Pat Riley, known for his success as a coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, offers insights into his coaching career and the principles that contributed to his championship-winning teams. For example, he emphasizes the importance of teamwork, discipline, and leadership throughout the book.

Sum it Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective by Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins. This book is a memoir by Pat Summitt, one of the most successful coaches in women’s college basketball history. To summarize, it offers insights into her coaching philosophy and how she was able to build championship teams.

The Smart Take from the Strong: The Basketball Philosophy of Pete Carril by Pete Carril and Dan White. This book is a great read for basketball coaches who want to learn about the philosophy of one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history. Consequently, Carril’s insights into the game are invaluable. For instance, he demonstrates how a smart and dedicated team can compete successfully against bigger programs and faster, stronger, more athletic players.

Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski. This book is a must-read for any basketball coach who wants to learn about leadership and how to build a winning team. Because Krzyzewski is one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history, his insights into the game are invaluable.

The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching by Dean Smith, Gerald D. Bell, and John Kilgo. The book explains Dean Smith’s coaching philosophy and how it can be applied to leadership and team-building challenges in one’s life. In essence, the book is a comprehensive guide to building successful teams of any kind and is accompanied by vivid stories that illustrate Coach Smith’s insights.

Lead With Love: How Steve Kerr Turned the Golden State Warriors Into the NBA’s Most Dominant Team by Jackson Carter. The book is about Steve Kerr, the current coach of the Golden State Warriors, and his leadership style that has led to the team’s success. Also, the book provides insights into how Kerr has created a culture of excellence and how he has been able to get players to buy into the team.

Basketball on Paper by Dean Oliver. Not surprisingly, this book is about the statistical analysis of basketball. Understandably, coaches evaluate players and teams. This book demonstrates how statistics aid in that. In addition, get inside the numbers with an exceptional set of statistical rules and tools that help evaluate players, strategies, and teamwork.

Coaching Basketball Successfully by Morgan Wootten and Joe Wootten.  Morgan Wootten wrote this book with his son, Joe. Morgan is one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in history. Naturally, it covers a wide range of topics related to basketball coaching. For example, practice planning, game strategy, and player development are all discussed.

Honorable Mention Books

  • Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson
  • Rapture: Fifteen Teams, Four Countries, One NBA Championship, and How to Find a Way to Win — Damn Near Anywhere by Nick Nurse, Michael Sokolove, Phil Jackson
  • The 21st Century Basketball Practice by Brian T. McCormick
  • Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by John Calipari
  • You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden’s Teaching Principles and Practices by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore
  • Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection by Geno Auriemma
  • They Call Me Coach by John Wooden
  • The Miracle of St. Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski

What did the coaches miss? What are your suggestions? Share with us on social media: X @bballimmersion or Instagram @coachbballimmersion

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