Coaching like a champion, Steve Miller posits in this slim book, has little to do with X’s and O’s or overseeing repetitive drills. While those things are important, the foundation of truly outstanding coaching comes down to elements related to understanding and inspiration.
Miller names these qualities as: communication, humility, accountability, mental toughness. passion, integrity, overcoming adversity, and never settle. “There is no coincidence that these leading letters combine to spell champion,” Miller states in the book’s introduction.
The strongest parts of Coaching Like a Champion question the tenets of hardnosed coaching and instilling fear into players. Instead, Miller advises, it’s far better to get to know your players and their lives so you can best motivate and inspire them. He asks: “Do you know the conflicts and fears that your players are carrying? … Do you take an active interest in their lives outside your sport? … What motivates them?”
Miller emphasizes understanding how individual players process information and finding the sweet spot of communicating important information without being overwhelming. “Less is more,” he writes. “…Simplify and try to keep main points to three or less, and see if your players and [assistant] coaches are better able to focus and achieve the main goals you have set.”
While the author doles out some beneficial advice, the book could have used more of it. While Miller lays some of the foundation of his philosophy in a handful of pages that comprise the preface and introduction, it’s just 43 pages from the start of Chapter 1 to the end of the epilogue. There’s nothing wrong with brevity, but the book needs more actionable practices and real-world examples to cement its eight principles. Additionally, outside of mentions in anecdotes, the author relates very little about his own actual coaching history.
Ultimately, Coaching Like a Champion has many admirable qualities, but it requires some expansion to feel like a fully formed book.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.