Best baseball books for gifts
With gift giving season in full swing, I thought I’d put together a list of good baseball books (and 2 CD’s) for players, coaches, and parents. All the ones listed below are ones I have personally read and found to be valuable. Of course, there are a ton more out there so look on your own as well. Each book includes my affiliate link to Amazon if you wanted more information and purchasing details. Happy reading!
- Our Time by Scott Illiano – Written by a New Jersey high school coach, this book chronicles the good, the bad, and the ugly of coaching during a high school baseball season. If you are brand new to coaching, read this book. If you are a veteran, you will be able to relate.
- Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger - From the author of Friday night lights, this book follows Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa for three days for a behind the scenes tour of the life and mind of a major league manager.
- The Baseball Coaching Bible (The Coaching Bible Series) - This oldie but goodie is the go-to book for many high school coaches. Each chapter is written by a different prominent college coach. Topics range from organizing indoor workouts to fundraising.
- The Psychology of Coaching Team Sports: A Self-Help Guide by Larry Leith – This self-help manual for coaches walks the reader through the basics of sports psychology and provides a coach with useable resources that can positively impact both coach and players.
- Coaching Baseball Successfully (Coaching Youth) by Andy Lopez – Written when Coach Lopez was at the University of Florida, this is a great nuts and bolts book that covers basically everything a coach would need to address during a season. Instruction, tryouts, practice organization, discipline, printable forms and charts, and advice for the many challenges coaches face are included.
- Life Is Yours to Win: Lessons Forged from the Purpose, Passion, and Magic of Baseball by Auggie Garrido – This book uses Coach Garrido’s personal life and coaching career in baseball to highlight the road to success in the game and in life.
- Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George Will – My all-time favorite baseball book, this oldie has a full chapter about managing that picks the brain of Tony LaRussa. The three other chapters focus on Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Orel Hershiser. This book is a great way to learn how the top performers approach the craft of baseball.
- The Louisville Slugger® Complete Book of Hitting Faults and Fixes : How to Detect and Correct the 50 Most Common Mistakes at the Plate by Marc Gola– Very good hitting book that visually shows most of the top hitting mistakes batters make and the corrections (and drills) to get hitters to improve. Filled with very good photographs of both good and bad mechanics.
- Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court by John Wooden and Steve Jamison – Another one of my go to books, this small book is filled with small bits of insight from the legendary John Wooden on coaching, teaching, parenting, and life in general.
- Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business by Nancy Lublin – This book is not a baseball book but with the importance of fundraising in high school sports, I thought I would include it. It is written by a very successful person in the non-profit industry who shares her tactics on how to do a lot with practically no consistent resources. Sound familiar?
- Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game-in Baseball and in Life by Geoff Miller- This new book is written by a performance coach/sports psychologist who has worked with a couple minor league organizations. Different from the usual sports psychology book that explains concepts and strategies for better performance, this book offers real stories of how he helped baseball players get through their tough times on and off the field. Not only can the reader apply the stories and lessons to their own life but they can get a behind the scenes look at the minor league lifestyle and the unique challenges it presents to baseball players.
- Quality at-bats and QAB2 (http:www.Qualityatbats.com) by Steve Springer – Steve has created a couple CD’s for players that are meant to shift focus away from things that are beyond a player’s control (batting average!) and onto what really matters in the game. Steve is a fabulous speaker whose stories relate well to current players because he lived them himself as a minor league veteran. If you want a taste of what Steve has to offer, click HERE to listen to my interview with him.
- Catching-101: The Complete Guide For Baseball Catchers by Xan Barksdale – This book runs a catcher through all the nuts and bolts to successful catching. Also great for coaches who would like to better train the catchers on their teams.
- Play Baseball the Ripken Way: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Fundamentals by Cal and Billy Ripken – It would be tough to find two people better suited to write a book on the fundamentals of baseball. The story of the Ripken family is certainly legendary and speaks highly to the idea that there are no gimmicks in baseball. Just good fundamentals drilled over and over.
- The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance by Harvey Dorfman – This is one of those books that practically all professional baseball players have read or are in the process of reading. Although there have been other editions written specifically for pitchers and hitters, this first book by the legendary sports psychologist is still the gold standard.
- Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George Will – I placed this book in the players section as well because if you are a player who wants to know how the best in the game approach their craft, this is the book for you. Lots of higher level, finer points of the game are addressed.
- The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph by Shawn Green – Another “heady” book written by former major leaguer Shawn Green that pays a lot of attention to the mental side of the game at the professional level. It also gives a glimpse of the life of a star player that just about every fan fails to see.
- 10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins by Jason Selk – This short book gives a lot of good tips for players who would like to quickly improve their mind set without having to learn all the dry concepts of sports psychology first.
- Heads-Up Baseball : Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time by Ken Ravizza – If the Mental game of baseball is the gold standard, this book is the silver standard. Another go-to book for players.
- The Double-Goal Coach: Positive Coaching Tools for Honoring the Game and Developing Winners in Sports and Life (Harperresource Book) by Jim Thompson– This is a tremendous book for parents who have young children entering sports especially if they plan on doing some coaching. The book does a great job of inspiring parents and coaches to focus on the big picture benefits of sports and not just on winning.
- Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport by Jack Perconte – This book provides lots of tips for parents to ensure that children get the most out of their playing experience by increasing performance and decreasing the likelihood of burning out. Many of the tips involve the relationship between parent and player which transcend sports.
Are there others that should be on this list? Share it in the comment section and/or shoot me an email!