Developing Your Knowledge Through Reading & Podcasts

Posted on Mar 01 2018

As a coach, the opportunities to learn, grow and develop have never been more accessible with the myriad of articles, books and podcasts available via the internet, social media or from your favourite bookstore.

The natural growth mind-set of coaches means we are always on the look-out for opportunities to improve, be it our knowledge on the latest techniques in teaching skill, expanding our communication skills or growing as a leader.

Reading remains such an important skill for coaches. The written word provides opportunities for learning, reflection and growth and for busy coaches, is also a great tool for relaxation.

Podcasts have quickly become the busy coach’s best friend for learning. Whether it is driving to a game across the city or a long road trip, podcasts provide an easy opportunity to listen to and learn from leaders and high achievers across a range of fields of expertise.

In part one of our blog on “Developing Your Knowledge Through Reading and Podcasts”, we asked some coaches and coach educators around the country for their favourite books, articles and pods.


Michael Czepil – High Performance Coach (Metro), Basketball Victoria

Positive Coaching Alliance: PCA Development Zone (podcast)

A podcast that I have found great value out of over the last couple of years is the Positive Coaching Alliance. The PCA is a non-profit organisation that operates to the motto, Better Athletes, Better People. A great online resource, the PCA has had a number of high-profile guests appear on their podcast:

  • Daniel Coyle – author of The Talent Code
  • Sandy Brondello – current Australian Opals Head Coach
  • Jay Bilas – ESPN analyst
  • Jon Gordon – bestselling author (The Energy Bus, You Win in the Locker Room First) Brad Stevens – Boston Celtics Head Coach

The messaging across a lot of what I have listened to is how coaching and teaching at the youth level, when done in a particular manner, can impact the athlete for decades to come. The content is definitely varied, with podcast titles ranging from –

  • Youth sports can be a vehicle to help kids find their purpose
  • Elite people want to be challenged
  • The pitfalls of early specialization
  • Failure is an opportunity

It is a great listen for those long road trips to and from work, club games or practices, and you will find that one episode leads to another book or resource that the guests share which has helped shape their philosophies. Definitely worth a listen.


Nico Loureiro – Player Development Coach, NBA Global Academy

Help the Helper: Building a Culture of Extreme Teamwork (book)

Quotes – Help the Helper

  • “Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well”
  • “Many companies and teams fall short of their potential due to too much attention paid to the person perched on the mountaintop”
  • The wicked leader is he whom the people despise. The good leader is he whom the people revere. The great leader is he of whom the people say “we did it ourselves”
  • “Concentration and mental toughness are the margin of the victory (Bill Russell)”
  • “Motivation is everything. You can do the work of 2 people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people”
  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”
  • “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is thinking having problems is a problem.”


Robbie McKinlay – Assistant Coach, NBA Global Academy

I found this article extremely though provoking and covers all areas for coaches and building a culture. It is a short article so should be easy to read. I understand it is a football article, however, relatable for basketball.  Very specific and in-depth.

A good podcast:

Coach Van Gundy talks about his assignment with USA Basketball, NBA Refereeing and OKC Thunder.


Rob Coulter – Coach Development Officer, Basketball Victoria

Bear Bryant on Leadership: (book)


Six-time Championship winning coach from the Alabama Crimson Tide Football team – Bear Bryant has his “7 sides of Leadership” and although he coached his last game in 1982, all his teachings still ring true today both in life and in coaching. The book covers his thoughts on:

  • Vision
  • Communication Skills
  • People Skills
  • Character
  • Competence
  • Boldness
  • Serving Heart

Tons of great quotes, and I had the highlighter nearby and working overtime when I read it. And it’s only about 200 pages long!


Dee Butler – Head Coach, Australian Under 19 Women

AFL Victoria Coach to Coach (podcast)

I checked out a podcast today about AFL Coaching Co-ordinators and their role in helping support young or junior coaches. It has some good discussion about the importance of having a support network and for coaches to share information between each other.

I liked the comments that were made about mentoring and the suggestion that coaches shouldn’t just rely on Co-ordinators (or DOC’s) to mentor or up-skill them, but other coaches to share their experiences and identify the different capabilities so you can learn from them.


Peter Lonergan – Head of High Performance Coach Development, Basketball Australia

Above the Line – Urban Meyer (book)

Urban Meyer is one of the most successful college football coaches in history and this book provides an insight into his journey of growth and how he has embraced change in his life and the way he coaches young players.

Working closely with respected leadership coach Tim Kight. Meyer has built a perennial power at Ohiop State University and done it very differently to how he approached it vastly different to his time at the University of Florida.

The Woj Pod with Sam Presti (podcast)

Sam Presti is regarded as one of the pre-eminent minds in professional basketball, starting as General Manager of the Seattle Supersonics at age 31 and is currently GM of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.

Some great insights on this terrific pod on building a career and facing challenges in professional sport.


In part two of this blog, we will explore some more great pods and books that coaches can use to build their knowledge base and continue to improve.

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