Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great Coaching Books

Two different states of H2O, two great coaches, and two great coaching books.

These are a couple of the better (excellent) coaching books I have read in the last 6 months. I highly recommend them to any coach.

Dick Hannula's "Coaching Swimming Successfully" was a recommendation from Carl Valle. Carl recommended it to me last summer, which I finally picked up this past fall and smoked through in just a few days. The first few chapters on team and athlete management are good enough to be published alone in a book titled, "Coaching Successfully".

Anatoly Tarasov's "Tarasov: The Father of Russian Hockey",which I came across researching into the history of hockey from the 'miracle on ice' and Herb Brooks to the great tradition and history of hockey in Canada. Tarasov was assigned the role to develop Russia's hockey program (from scratch) shortly after World War II and develop a system to surpass the Canadians. A great book into the mind of a brilliant coach. The last chapter, 'Love for the Whole Life', is pure gold from just a general coaching perspective.

An excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Anatoly Tarasov:

Tarasov was the biggest factor in the development of this goalie, Tretiak, who would be destined to become the most skillful and cherished in international history. In the earliest days of his career, Tarasov had him doing three practices a day as hard as possible while using the maximum consumption of oxygen (MCO). In one instance a Swede player came to practice in the USSR with Tarasov, but he couldn't last. He reportedly said, "We Swedes don't' grow up to practice like this. I don't want to die."

According to Tretiak, "If I let in just one puck, Tarasov would ask me the next day "What's the matter?" If it was my fault (and it usually appears to be the goalkeeper's fault), my punishment would follow immediately. After everybody else had gone home I had to do hundreds of lunges and somersaults. I could have cheated and not done them at all, since nobody was watching me- the coaches had gone home too! But I wouldn't even have considered doing one less lunge or somersault. I trusted Tarasov, trusted his every word, even when he criticized me for letting the pucks in my net during practice."

... that's buy in. Those words might make Tarasov sound like a drill sergeant/dictator, and he certainly had the ability to use those qualities, but if you read the book you'll understand that he was much more than that; a coach who loved what he did and loved the athletes he worked with... and most importantly the athletes knew that.



Josh Leeger said...

Wow! Great recommendations and quotes. Thanks Aaron! Definitely not something I'd have come across otherwise.

Josh Leeger said...

Tarasov actually reminds me of stories I've heard about Dan Gable.

BC said...

Dick Hannula's the MAN when it comes to coaching swimming, in my opinion. One of my former swim coaches was brought up under Dick's program and she is incredible - a world champion XTerra triathlete and professional athlete of many other types - as well as an astounding coach. Shows her top notch effort levels in everything, but also Mr. Hannula's incredible ability to transfer his coaching and skills into other people.