The BEST Coaching Book to Read

Is the one you write yourself!

One of the best pieces of advice I was given as a young head coach was to make it a regular habit to journal after practice. I was told it didn’t need to be long, just a couple of sentences summarizing my observations, any frustrations I had, or things to consider in the future. I believe I am a better coach today because I’ve put this into practice.

“Journaling leads people to life changes, leaps of faith, new insights, and meaningful decisions.”

Lynda Monk, Author

The quote above helps explain why I believe I am a better coach today because I regularly journal. I’ve changed, I’ve taken chances, I’ve gained new insights, I’ve made decisions. I once read an article that asked the question “Are you a coach with 20 years of experience or 1 year of experience repeated 20 times?” The heart of the question is about leveraging reflection to learn, grow, adapt, and change. I appreciate that when one of our alumni comes back, there are core parts of our program that are unchanged while also many things they don’t recognize. Our alumni often ask “Coach, why didn’t we do that when I was in high school?” I always respond the same. “I’m a better coach today than I was when I coached you.” I believe regular journaling has helped me have 24 years of experience in my craft of coaching and, again, made be a better coach.

“People who keep journals have life twice.”

Jassamyn West, Author

So, let’s answer a couple of questions I often receive when encouraging a coach to consider adding this practice into their coaching life.


I recommend within an hour of finishing practice. If you are like me, your mind moves on to the next thing and you forget the thing you wanted to remember. I want to remind you this doesn’t have to take long. Most days my journal entry takes me less than 5 minutes. Occasionally it might take me 20 minutes, I’m sure you’ve had one of “those days” too.

I keep my journal in my truck. Sometimes I fill it out before I leave the parking lot. Sometimes I take the drive home to give me more time to process practice and I fill it out once I pull into my garage. This is what works for me. You find the time and place that works best for you.

“I don’t journal to ‘be productive.’ I don’t do it to find great ideas or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me. It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found.”

Tim Ferriss, Podcast host & Author


The short answer, whatever is on your mind. I’ve found in doing this for over 20 years that my daily writings often fall into one of the following categories:

  1. FAVORITE: A highlight from the days practice. Something positive that stood out from the team as a whole or a particular athlete that I want to make sure I communicate to them if I haven’t already.

  2. FRUSTRATION: Is there something gnawing at you as you leave practice today that you need to address? Is there something that has slowly been building over the past week, month that is now become a point of frustration?

  3. FIX: Is there something technical, tactical, or systematic that needs a minor tune-up or major over-haul?

  4. FUTURE: Is there an idea you had today for later in the season or maybe even next season?


You READ it! The point of the writing is not just to get whatever may be on your mind out of your mind, but to learn & grow. The only way you can do that is to read your journal. I would encourage you to regularly flip back through it, maybe each weekend during the season. At the end of the season it should get a thorough reading from start to finish to help you reflect on the season. Go back and add notes as necessary now that you have the full picture of the season. Any time in the future, even years later, to help see your own growth or to identify patterns that emerge from season to season for you or your team.


Interested in using journals as an intentional mental training tool with your team? Join us for this FREE online session where we'll share what we've learned over the last 12+ years of having our teams journal. We'll give you the keys and you'll be ready to do this with your team the next day!

To get the zoom link, RSVP here:


Look back on this post from January 1st, 2024, for another activity.


We will be presenting three sessions at the NCA Multi-Sport Clinic in Lincoln, so even if you aren’t part of the group we are presenting for we hope you’ll join us for at least one of our sessions! We know you’ll take something away from it! Here are our scheduled session times:

Tuesday, July 23rd: 2:20 - 3:10 - XC and T&F Coaches

Wednesday, July 24th: 11:20 - 12:10 - Athletic Directors

Wednesday, July 24th: 2:30 - 3:20 - Tennis Coaches

If you aren’t registered to attend we encourage you to do that TODAY!