“Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream,” by H.G. Bissinger (1990)
An enjoyable book that looks at a football program in a small Texas town. This powerful book showcases the common thread behind most problems in youth sports -- the parents desire for their children to be sucessful in sports. And, because parents are so desperate for their children to be successful, parents do inappropriate things that in turn hurt their children.
“Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich,” by Mark Kriegel (2008)
This book highlights the problems that can occur when the line blurs between father and coach. Pete Maravich became one of the most exciting basketball players ever, but he also led a troubled life. Was his father a successful at parenting, or did he fail? This books looks into the father-son relationship.
“Game On: How the Pressure to Win at All Costs Endangers Youth Sports, And What Parents Can Do About It,” by Tom Farrey (2008)
Every chapter in this history book outlines a different age. The book discusses how sports for kids has developed into a multibillion dollar industry. Parents nowadays are willing to do and spend almost anything so their child is successful in sports. Parents now look at sports as a way to get into college.
Book Recommendations for Parents
“Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference,” by Warren St. John (2009)
This book is about how sports often serve as a melting pot. The story is about an American born Jordanian woman that lives in a small town outside Georgis. She forms a soccer team of children of refugees from all over the world.
“Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine,” by George Dohrmann (2010)
Does your child play on a travel team, or are you considering having your child play on a travel team? If so, read this book. Depending on your opinion, this book either highlights a youth sports system that corrupts people who are involved, or it tells a highwarming story.
If you know a good book that isn't on this list, please send us a message and we'll add it to this list.
"The Matheny Manifesto," by Mike Matheny
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason three times in his first three years, people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it’s based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”
The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−hint: it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility.
From “The Coach Is Always Right, Even When He’s Wrong” to “Let Your Catcher Call the Game,” Matheny’s old-school advice might not always be popular or politically correct, but it works. His entertaining and deeply inspirational book will not only resonate with parents, coaches, and athletes, it will also be a powerful reminder, from one of the most successful new managers in the game, of what sports can teach us all about winning on the field and in life.
"How to Raise an Adult," by Julie Lythcott-Haims
In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.
Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings-and of special value to parents of teens-this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.
"Breaking Away," by Patrick O'Sullivan
Patrick O'Sullivan was a kid with skills, with natural gifts that catapulted him into the spotlight and made NHL scouts rave. O’Sullivan seemed destined to become one of the next great hockey players in the world. But then it all went horribly wrong.
In Breaking Away, Patrick O’Sullivan gives readers a disturbing account of ten years of ever escalating physical abuse and emotional cruelty at the hands of his father. When Patrick proved more skilled than other eight-year-olds, John O’Sullivan decided to dedicate his life to turning his son into the player he had always dreamed of becoming. Shouting at the top of his lungs, John O’Sullivan was the over-involved parent. Many of Patrick’s teammates and their parents and coaches thought it ended there. Few had an idea of the dysfunction and violence at the O’Sullivans' home.
Breaking Away is a story about abuse, but it is also a story about triumph, as O'Sullivan revisits the ghosts of his past.