Patrick Ward is an athletic development specialist and manual therapist in Tempe, Arizona out of his own facility Optimum Sports Performance. He is brilliant and his work is comprehensive. Below are Patricks top 4 athletic development books that will help you gain an understanding of what Patrick does.
1. Supertraining by Siff and Verkhoshansky
This book is an essential book in the library of any sports performance coach. People often complain that the book doesn’t give “practical information”. But I disagree. The book is highly practical! What it does not give is a specific “how to cookbook” for developing a sports performance program. Rather, the book takes a more comprehensive route, offering you ideas and concepts that can be applied to a variety of situations and sports, and it is up to you to put together a program that works best in your situation. Additionally, the book covers a good deal of physiology and the “whys” of setting up a training program
2. Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky
Like Supertraining, Science and Practice of Strength Training is a classic piece of sports performance literature. It is not as big or as comprehensive as Supertraining, but the book is a short easy read that highlights keep concepts behind the physiology and biomechanics of setting up strength and conditioning programs for sport.
3. Exercise Physiology Textbook
Any good exercise physiology book will do. I find that we often overlook the basics and get very wrapped up into the trends of the fitness industry. Having a solid grasp of basic anatomy and physiology will help the strength and conditioning coach develop training programs that make sense and are practical. Again, a book like this wont give you a cookie cutter program to apply, but will arm you with the knowledge you need to establish a quality strength and conditioning system. The two books that sit on my desk all the time are Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance by Powers and Howley and Exercise Physiology: Exercise, Nutrition and Human Performance by McArdle, Katch, and Katch.
4. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Sapolsky
While not a true “exercise science” book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers takes us on a ride through the entire system of stress and its effects on our bodies. Understanding stress as a sports performance coach is critical as our entire job centers around applying stressors to athletes with the goal of eliciting some sort of physiological response/change. We need to understand the mechanisms behind the stress response and also have a firm understanding of stress resistance as other stressors outside of our training program, non-specific stressors, will have a direct influence on the result we get from our training. Therefore, understanding stress is essential to know when to pull back and when to push each individual athlete to ensure that we get the most out of our training programs. A training program is only as good as your ability to recover from it.
This man knows stress...