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The best books for football coaches provide insight into being a head coach, strategies for winning the game, and tips for bringing together a team of players. Game planning, disciplining, and everything else that comes with being a coach takes hard work. Whether it's an NFL coach trying to build the best NFL defenses in history or one of the many high school coaches out there trying to get their team through the season, there are many books that will inspire football coaches, football players, and football fans to work harder and play smarter.
Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time by Ian O'Connor
Belichick by Ian O’Connor is one of the best books for football coaches because it tells the story of one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. Bill Belichick is the head coach for the New England Patriots, a role that has landed him as one of the greatest NFL head coaches. He has brought the team five Super Bowl championships, which is unheard of for any other NFL coach. This biography maps out Belichick’s success and his road to greatness, from college all the way through his coaching career. This book will help educate other coaches and show what it takes to be great.
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh
The Score Takes Care of Itself is written by the late Bill Walsh, who used to be the NFL coach for the San Francisco 49ers. This is a must read book for football coaches because it shows how Walsh took a losing team and turned them into something legendary. Walsh separates his leadership strategies in this book and shows how they can be applied elsewhere in life. He says that these specific skills will work whether you’re a coach, a CEO, or a store manager.
What It Takes to Be #1 by Vince Lombardi Jr.
What It Takes to Be #1 is written by Vince Lombardi Jr., who is the son of the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi. This is one of those great football books that will teach a lot to a coach, but it will also teach a lot on leadership philosophy for anyone who is looking to succeed in life. Vince Lombardi Jr. was never a head coach in the NFL, but he was very involved with football like his father. He became a motivational speaker after his NFL days, and this is one of his books that helps to spread knowledge on leadership throughout the world.
Bill Walsh: Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh
Another book by the late San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh is Finding the Winning Edge. This is one of the books for football coaches that talks more specifically about football strategy and will be helpful to high school coaches and college coaches who want to learn how Walsh won his three Super Bowl championships. Walsh explains organizational, strategic, and systemic coaching philosophies that he used throughout his career.
The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam
In Education of a Coach, David Halberstam chronicles the life and success of New England Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick. This is a very personal story about how Belichick worked as a coach and how he operated both on and off the field. However, this is also a book about football, and Halberstam digs into the details of how the game works and how coaches play a part in the game as a whole.
Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success by John Wooden
Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is written by NBA basketball coach John Wooden. While Wooden was a basketball coach and not a football coach, this is still one of the best books for football coaches, because Wooden specifically wrote this book as a general success book. He did not focus this book on basketball alone. In this book, Wooden explains that success is built block by block, and each building block plays an integral role in the whole pyramid of success.
Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season by Urban Meyer
Above the Line is written by Urban Meyer, who was a head football coach in college football for thirteen years. In these thirteen years, Meyer won three national championships, had 142 wins and is now thought of as one of the best college football coaches. Meyer shares his hard earned knowledge on success, team building, and leadership in this book, and he also explains the importance of healthy relationships and priorities as you strive for greatness. Meyer took a break in the middle of his coaching career and came back, which he believes was essential in allowing him to grow. He shows how important self-care can be when leading.
Wins, Losses, and Lessons: An Autobiography by Lou Holtz
Wins, Losses, and Lessons is an autobiography written by Lou Holtz, who is one of the most influential college football coaches of his time. He has won three national Coach of the Year awards, led six different colleges to bowl games, and he continues to coach and teach today. In this book, he discusses who helped him succeed along the way and shares the many lessons and strategies he implemented throughout his career.
The Politics of Coaching: A Survival Guide to Keep Coaches from Getting Burned by Carl Pierson
The Politics of Coaching is one of the books for football coaches who are interested in getting real world advice about the nitty gritty details of being a football coach. Pierson discusses things such as how to pick a team, how to allocate playing time, dealing with parents and booster clubs, and other issues that football coaches must handle in high school sports. This is a very helpful resource for high school coaches, because sometimes in this level of football, politics are less defined and the rules can get more messy.
Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life by Mike Krzyzewski
Leading with the Heart is another book by a basketball coach on our list. However, this is still one of the best a must read book for football coaches because Mike Krzyzewski gives strategies for business and life, as well as coaching. This book can be applied to much more than just basketball, and football coaches will find it very useful in their line of work.
These books for football coaches can be helpful and inspiring, whether you’re an NFL coach on the cover of Sports Illustrated or a small town high school coach. All coaches have the same job of bringing together a team and trying to win a game. Strategies can be applied to big jobs and small jobs alike. In the end, success is the ultimate goal.