We often get asked about our favorite books and podcasts. So we thought we would share some of them. Mark Jablonski from our Tuesday’s Share the Game Insights and Debbie Peterson from our The Basketball Podcast and Beyond share their podcast and book recommendations.
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Mark and Debbie’s Book Recommendations:
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love – Cal Newport
“I’ve presented two different ways people think about their working life. The first is the craftsman mindset, which focuses on what you can offer the world. The second is the passion mindset, which instead focuses on what the world can offer you . . there’s something liberating about the craftsman mindset: It asks you to leave behind self-centered concerns about whether your job is ‘just right,’ and instead put your head down and plug away at getting really damn good. No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it—and the process won’t be easy.”
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones – James Clear
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations . . What made him different from previous coaches was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as ‘the aggregation of marginal gains,’ which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do . . Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”
The Coach’s Guide to Teaching – Doug Lemov
“People can outperform what is ‘expected’—individually and in groups—via better teaching . . But teaching better is technical; it requires sustained focus on things that are often mundane. Because of that, most people won’t do it. And because of that, it is an immense competitive advantage for those who will.”
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise -Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
“We already know enough to have a clear idea of how purposeful practice and deliberate practice work to increase both our physical and mental capabilities and make it possible to do things that we never could before . . There may be limits, but there is no indication that we have reached them yet.”
10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins – Jason Selk
“The essence of mental toughness is the ability to replace negative thinking with thoughts that are centered on performance cues or that contribute to improved self-confidence. The more often negative thoughts are replaced with positive self-talk, the more successful and mentally tough a person will be.”
Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave – Ryan Holiday
“Her mother had wept when her daughter asserted herself. ‘We are ducks who have hatched a wild swan,’ she said. Imagine crying because your child turned out to be special. Imagine growing up in a house where that happened. As Strachey would write, Nightingale’s mother was incorrect. Her daughter was not a swan. They had birthed an eagle. It had been a long time incubating, a long time in the nest, but once it flew, it was fearless . .There is nothing worth doing that is not scary. There is no one who has achieved greatness without wrestling with their own doubts, anxieties, limitations, and demons . .Today, each of us receives our own call. To service. To take a risk. To challenge the status quo. To run toward while others run away. To rise above our station. To do what people say is impossible.”
How to Begin: Start Doing Something That Matters – Michael Bungay Stanier
“We all get one crack at this life, so make the most of it. Do something that matters. That means being doubly ambitious—for your life, and for the world . . Ambitious for the world might mean making headlines . . but also consider it at a more intimate scale: building a better relationship; following through on a challenging deliverable; leading a thriving team; returning to study; making and sharing a creative project . . A Worthy Goal is Thrilling, Important, and Daunting.”
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups -Daniel Coyle
“The second surprise is that Jonathan succeeds without taking any of the actions we normally associate with a strong leader. He doesn’t take charge or tell anyone what to do. He doesn’t strategize, motivate, or lay out a vision. He doesn’t perform so much as create conditions for others to perform, constructing an environment whose key feature is crystal clear: We are solidly connected. Jonathan’s group succeeds not because its members are smarter but because they are safer . . ‘It’s a rush, knowing that you can take a huge risk and these people will be there to support you no matter what. We are addicted to that feeling.'”
The Captain’s Class – Sam Walker
After devising a formula to boil down the top 16 greatest, most dominant sports teams of all time (across all sports), Walker set out to discover what these teams had in common. Turns out they all had the same type of captain – “a singular leader with an unconventional skill set who drove it to achieve sustained, historic greatness.”
What Made Maddy Run – Kate Fagan
“From noted on-air commentator and sports journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Maddy Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.”
Burn Your Goals – Joshua Medcalf
“The counter-cultural approach to achieving your greatest potential.” …I’ve used facets of this book with every team I’ve coached to help reframe our view of success each season. Easily the book that’s had the biggest impact on my approach to coaching and life.
The Tough Stuff – Cody Royle
“A book for head coaches, by head coaches.” More coaches need to be talking about the topics in this book, especially with young coaches so they know the thoughts and feelings they’ll experience are normal.
Mark Jablonski’s Favorite The Basketball Podcasts episodes:
Episode 206: Tobin Anderson, Teaching a Pressing Defensive System
“[Pressing] is a great way for your program to throw the first punch, to go after people, to be aggressive, to be assertive. Guys like playing that style. It’s hard; they like playing that style in games, they don’t like playing that style, necessarily, every day in practice, and they don’t like to do the conditioning stuff.”
Episode 227: Jim Larrañaga, Teaching Method, Flexibility, and 5 Out Offense
“We’ve always tried to use analytics to help our players understand the value of a possession . . we make a strong push for our players to understand we have to score more than one point per possession and we’ve got to hold our opponent to less than one point per possession, if we want to succeed . . We’re always emphasizing to our players . . it’s four times more important to be mentally right than the physical. Every player we have is physically capable. But are you the one that makes good decisions? Are you smart? Are you someone that understands the game mentally?”
Episode 219: Carly Clarke, Utilizing Strengths and Winning With Our Personnel
“Every drill that we’re utilizing in practice, there’s a competition element, we’re keeping score . . there’s an outcome we’re trying to achieve. And we try to make sure we build that in with great clarity, but it’s also connected to our process . . there’s a lot of process elements to it, not just stop or score . . Our goal was to be the best at getting better. That is what we talked about every single day – how to find a way to get a little bit better every day.”
Episode 239: Daniel Abrahams, Psychology, Coaching and Skilled Performance
“We can break questioning down into convergent questioning and divergent questioning, Convergent questioning, in very simple terms, [is] asking a player a question, but we have a ready answer for that player. We want them to come towards us in terms of how we see the game. Divergent questioning will be a question that we can’t really answer as a coach because it very much cemented in the world of the player. What did you experience there? What did you see there? What did you see there that made you make that decision?”
Episode 235: Lynne Roberts, Smart Box Scores and Bringing It To Life In Practice
“These are young people that really want to do well, and they want to do right. Our job, as college coaches, is to help them along. Sometimes they need a kick in the tail, but most oftentimes, they just need some good instruction and some encouragement . . Our practices are fast. I’m not going to teach something for 20 minutes. I’m going to teach something for two minutes. And then you’re gonna do it for 18 and get better at it. It’s just more fun that way.”
Episode 213: Josh Merkel, Lessons From Building a National Championship Program
“Do you want truth? Or do you want harmony? Every player, when you frame it, like that says ‘truth’ . . we’re giving them opportunities to practice it . . I think it’s something that you can cultivate in your program when you talk about it a lot. It empowers your older guys to speak truth to young guys about their habits and their work ethic and their work rate and maybe how they’re handling themselves off the court, whether it’s nutrition or treatments.”
Episode 199: Matt McMahon, In-Game Coaching Strategies and Situation
“There are three things I have to do. Number one, I have to provide simplicity. I want to simplify everything we do, terminology, systems, practices, and so forth. Then number two, I have to provide clarity. This is how it needs to be done. Very specific and to the point. And then the third thing is intentionality. [We’ve] got to be intentional in how we try to build these players and build our program. So I always try to come back to those three things: simplicity, clarity, intentionality . . You want to really reward the guys who are doing what you need done. Reward the guys who are giving maximum effort on the floor, reward the guys who are unselfish and all about the team . . I think you always want to reward and celebrate the behaviors you want repeated on a consistent basis.”
Episode 222: Casey Hill, Preparation For The Season and Building Responsibilities
“Arguments are really important to have. You never want to just sit there and agree all the time because you’re just going to be one-dimensional as a staff or as a team. I think you have to learn how to argue, you have to learn how to lose an argument. You have to learn how to disagree with someone, to step out of a room, execute something you maybe didn’t agree with, and then experience success through doing that.”
Episode 201: Noelle Quinn, Transition to Coaching and Seattle Storm Offense
“I point them in the direction of who they should be modeling themselves after . . there is a learning curve that has to occur right there . .. And so with younger players, I think just understanding there is a trajectory, and there’s a steady climb to where you want to be, it’s not gonna happen on day one, and it’s not going to happen in training camp.”
Episode 230: Max Lefevre, NBA Core Defensive Concepts
“You can have great rim protection without a shot blocker. There are other ways to protect the rim – by being early, you can take charges which is even more impactful than a blocked shot, or you can just jump vertically, jumping straight up with both hands up and just taking it in the chest . . The guard has to take responsibility and ownership in the pick-and-roll. If you can cancel the screen, which basically means not getting screened, . . now the screen doesn’t happen. You don’t have to put two on the basketball, the big doesn’t have to help up and now you’re in great shape. You’ve got a ball handler under pressure and basically everybody’s covered.”
Episode 221: Mike Weinar, Attack The Advantage and NBA Coaching Insights
“If you have guys that are . . great crashing the offensive glass, you may want to crash more . . we’re not in this to just go to a certain score, we’re in this to net gain. So if my net gain is plus 12, on the offensive glass, and the transition defense, as a result of crashing, gives up six, why wouldn’t we crash every single time? Just a quick glimpse at a stat sheet, doesn’t give the complete picture. If you give up 12 fastbreak points, but you get 22 second chance points, that’s a win. It’s a plus 10.”
Debbie Peterson’s Podcast Recommendations:
No Bullsh!t Leadership
There’s a lot that coaches can learn from the business world, and CEO Martin G. Moore provides some of it in this podcast. From ROIs to relationships to boundaries and time management, this podcast covers it all.
The Athlete Blueprint Podcast
The APB focuses on how we can develop novice athletes into elite athletes, setting them up for long-term success. Javi features a variety of guests from across all sports and athletic development areas, including the one and only Alex Sarama.
Sports Spectrum Podcast
Hosted by former ESPN senior producer Jason Romano, the Sports Spectrum Podcast is an interview-driven show that features stories on the intersection of faith and sports. I’ve used numerous episodes with teams and athletes over the years – it’s led to some awesome team discussions and who doesn’t want to know that even high-level athletes/coaches have the same struggles as everyone else?
For the science geek in all of us. Huberman Lab covers a variety of topics effecting performance, recovery, nutrition, etc.
Things I Learned Last Night
When my brain needs a break from the sports world (happens to the best of us), this educational comedy podcast is my go-to. Useless but interesting knowledge mixed with jokes, perfect for long bus rides to away games.
Who is Mark Jablonski?
Coach Jabo is a basketball coach and trainer who helps players maximize their potential with an emphasis on shooting, decision-making and deliberate, measured practice design. A former Ivy League Division I basketball player, Jablonski played at the University of Pennsylvania under Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly and former Houston Rockets general manager Bob Weinhauer.
Who is Debbie Peterson?
Coach Debbie is a basketball coach and teacher who helps teams reach maximum performance through developing the total athlete. With nearly two decades of experience on the court and in the classroom, Debbie’s passion is equipping and empowering players with the right mindset skills to fully maximize physical skills.