Father’s Day is just around the corner, as is the off season which is full of catching up on some reading in an effort to become better coaches and leaders.

To help fill your time, and bookshelves, with the best possible options for football coaches, I decided to put together a recommended off season reading list.

Here’s the football, and leadership books we recommend digging into before you start your season. The list is largely comprised of books of books that I’ve read and really enjoyed and gotten things that I use to this day from, or books that I’ve had recommended over the years from other coaches or leaders that I have on my list of books to get to.

Title – Finding the Winning Edge
Author –
Bill Walsh

It’s the opinion of a lot of coaches out there that this book is the grandaddy of all football books. Be vigilant and you’ll be able to find this one for a reasonable price.

Title – Gridiron Genius
Author – Michael Lombardi

Lombardi has learned under some of the most accomplished coaches in NFL history, between his time with Bill Walsh, Al Davis, and Bill Belichick as well as his time as a General Manager with the Browns and in this book, he shares a bunch of behind-the-scenes stories about what made them great and their thought processes on staffing, game planning, and overall organization. Some really valuable stuff.

Title – What is Open?
Author – Dub Maddox

As of the past week or so, this may be the hottest football book out there. Dub has developed a system for your quarterbacks (and team) to diagnose and attack defenses. Beyond that though, he’s able to communicate it in a really unique and effective way that everyone seems able to digest.

Related: Adapt or Die (by Doug Maddox)

Title – The Genius of Desperation
Author –
Doug Farrar

Title – Football Scouting Methods
Author –
Steve Belichick

Title – Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense
Author – Cody Alexander

Related – Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football (by Cody Alexander)

Title – 59 Lessons: Working with the World’s Greatest Coaches, Athletes, and Special Forces
Author – Fergus Connolly

Related – Game Changer: The Art of Sports Science (by Fergus Connolly)

Title – Burn Your Goals: The Counter Cultural Approach to Achieving Your Greatest Potential
Author – Joshua Medcalf

Title – Training Camp
Author –
Jon Gordon

Related: The Energy Bus (by Jon Gordon), You Win in the Locker Room First (by Jon Gordon), The Power of a Positive Team (by Jon Gordon), The Power of Positive Leadership (by Jon Gordon).

Title – Take Your Eye off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look
Author – Pat Kirwan

Title – Guys and Genius: The Story of Three Unlikely Coaches Who Came to Dominate the NFL in the 80’s
Author – Bob Glauber

Title – Getting to Us: How Great Coaches Make Great Teams
Author – Seth Davis

Title – The Art of Smart Football
Author –
Chris B. Brown

Related – The Essential Smart Football (by Chris Brown)

Title – Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today’s Game
Author – Tim Layden

Title – The Perfect Pass
Author – S.C. Gwynne

This book, which I am only partway into, tells the story of the Air Raid’s beginnings.

Title – The Champion’s Mind
Author – Jim Afremow, Phd.

Title: The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football
Author: Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

Title – Why The Best Are The Best
Author – Kevin Eastman

Title – Relentless
Author – Tim S. Grover

Title – Atomic Habits
Author –
James Clear

Title – Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In
Author – Brett Bartholomew

The one consistent gripe that most coaches have is not being able to get their guys dedicated to the weight room as much as they’d like. Just before becoming a head coach, I got this book before going on a vacation and am still chipping away at it here and there, but really need to buckle down and dig in more.


I know there are books out there that I didn’t cover, so below we’ll share recommendations from the rest of the coaching community. Let me know what to include via Twitter (@CoachSamz) or email ([email protected])

Title: Ego is the Enemy
Author:
Ryan Holiday
-Via Anonymous

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Content manager - Doug took the reins in 2011 and the website has been better ever since. A former college player and small college coach, Doug now serves as the head coach at Ravenna HS (MI).