Our next list of the top athletic development books comes by way of Kirkland, Washington and Joel Jamieson. Joel is a man who is dedicated to enhancing the field of athletic development into a true science, working to leverage high-intensity training methods and precision monitoring of training stress. Though he works predominantly with mixed martial artists, his resources below are applicable far beyond MMA. Enjoy Joel’s top athletic development books:
1: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolski
Hands down a must read for anyone involved in the health/fitness profession. I’d go so far as to say it should be the first book anyone in our field reads. The book discusses stress and the complex ways in which our bodies adapt to it, which is the foundation for understanding the entire training process. This should also be read along with the original book on stress, “The Stress of Life” by Hans Selye
2: Adaptation in Sports Training by Viru
The best exercise physiology book I have ever read. Very in depth and comprehensive guide to the specific adaptations that result from various types of training. There’s a huge amount of research and interesting material on how each of the body’s systems respond to the stress of training.
3: Children and Sports Training by Drabek
Phenomenal book on training young athletes, which pretty much every strength coach does in his career at one point or another. It’s by far the most comprehensive text I’ve seen in this area and is an absolute must read for anyone working with athletes under the age of 18.
4: Special Strength Training: A Practical Manual for Coaches by Verkhoshansky
Many coaches get bogged down in the more theoretical based manuals by Verkhoshansky and don’t know how to apply the information, but this one outlines many of his methods in a very easy to understand manner. It also provides many different sample training programs to be used with various sports and I can personally attest to their effectiveness as I’ve used the framework provided with many athletes with great success.
5: Fundamentals of Sports Training by Matveyev
Although this book is very difficult to find these days, it is the first book ever written on periodization and the concepts discussed still apply today and many professionals should have a better understanding of them. Matveyev is the godfather of periodization and the book presents a very thorough overview on what periodization really is and even 30 years later, few books have as much good information on the principles of programming as this book.
If you haven’t checked it out already, be sure to go to Joel’s site, where he is beginning to compile some excellent articles on physical preparation.