How to Become a Professional Cricket Coach: Further Reading | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Become a Professional Cricket Coach: Further Reading

This is the third article in a series showing you how to progress as a cricket coach. To read the first two parts, click here.

In the last article I talked about the importance of informal learning as part of your skill development as a coach. I stressed how online coaching is an important part of that. But in this article I want to give you further options for informal development.

There are some incredible books out there which I have on my shelf in the office and skim read chapters on a regular basis. Here are some of my favourites in a few categories that I feel are important to coaching:


  • Bob Woolmer - Art and Science of Cricket. Great book as you would expect, detailed and offers different technical options in all the cricketing disciplines.
  • Greg Chappell - On Coaching. Thought provoking book that offers alternative and well considered views on developing cricketers by one of the greatest players of his era.
  • Jim Collins - Good to Great. Incredible book showing how organisations can move their performance from normal to great or elite levels. It has helped me shape my programmes, staff and myself. Aimed at business yet totally transferable to coaching sporting teams and building environments.
  • Phil Jackson - Sacred Hoops. Brilliant book explaining how Basketball Hall of Fame Coach, Phil Jackson built a team, developed individuals and mastered the art of "winning after winning".
  • Bill Walsh - The Score Takes Care of Itself. It's about American Football yet the messages are clear. Take care of the small stuff with enough vigour and passion and the outcome will follow. Some brilliant anecdotes in there as well that made me chuckle.

And here are a couple of my favourites on the topic of performance analysis and psychology:

  • Michael Lewis - Moneyball. The story of Billy Bean and lowly baseball franchise the Oakland A's who climbed the Major League through studying numbers, converting that into knowledge and then turning knowledge into action. Don't watch the film; it doesn't do the book justice!
  • Steve Bull - The Game Plan & Game Plan Coach. One of my mentors and fellow England support staff members. Widely recognised as the leading sports psychologist to work within the game, "Bully's" books are straightforward and practical. Can help players and coaches alike.

What if you can't read books because you don't have time?

Well do what I do then, get an audiobook and listen to it in the gym or whilst out running.

Presently on my iPhone is Dr Steve Peters "The Chimp Paradox". Dr Peters simplifies the brain into manageable parts and demonstrates through analogies how the various parts interact and what impact this has on individuals, situations and managing yourself. Fascinating and fun.

What are your recommendations?

There are millions of resources from informal learning, from traditional books through to digital online videos and eBooks. So I want to know: what is currently on your reading list?

Leave a comment and let me know.

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I have 2 books on my current reading list. The first is Ian Pont's "Coaching Youth Cricket", It's a great primer for beginner coaches and so far has served as good revision on the basics of coaching styles and drills for me.

The other book I have on my Kindle is "The Life of Pi", which is nothing to do with sport at all. But I am a big believer in reading as widely as possible. The broader your education, the more of a world-view you can bring to a specific role like coaching. Plus, I love a good story!

Every cricket coach should read Brian Wilson's "The Bowler's Art". It makes every other bowling coaching book look hopelessly amateurish by comparison.

Philpott's Wrist Spin bowling is also excellent.

Brian WILKINS book mentioned above ^^^^^ was decent for its day (almost 20 years ago) - not least as there was nothing else around to compare it with.

Sadly though, anyone who says that reverse swing is an unworthy and illegal practice, clearly is not understanding of the subject matter!

Worth a read though, even if for an old fashioned view of thinking that most club players grew up with and a nod to the ECB coaches amongst us. Will keep the traditionalists happy though.

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle makes you rethink everything about "talent". Would agree about Chimp Paradox, Moneyball and Bob Woolmer's book.

On my list to read:

The Psychology of Cricket: Developing Mental Toughness - Cotterill and Barker (someone must be able to explain this topic to the layman/coach...hoping this might be the book that does)

Chappell on Coaching - Greg Chappell (just received my copy yesterday, second hand for £0.01 plus p&p, ordered on the recommendation above, and it looks fascinating, both for its philosophy for coaching and as an insight into the thoughts of someone who has both coached India and been head of selectors for Australia in the recent past)

On my "all time" list

Woolmer - compendious, perhaps in need of a stricter editor in places, but with an answer (sometimes more than one) for almost any technical question a coach might face.

Wilkins' "Bowler's Art" - dated, in terms of technical implementation, perhaps, but as a scientist myself (by education, at least), I valued Wilkins' explanations of what is possible with a cricket ball, in terms of swing, swerve and flight, and the (unanswered) challenge it offers to find (legal) ways of delivering the ball.

Ian's "Ultimate Pace Secrets" and "Fast Bowler's Bible", almost as much for the inspiration they provide simply to get out and bowl as for the technical advice and drills.

Philpott's "Art of Wrist Spin Bowling", for the same reason.

Matthew Syed's "Bounce", and Carol Dweck's "Mindset: How you fulfill your potential", for their insight into the psychology of success, sporting or otherwise.

A book recently purchased

John buchannan's "if better is possible"

A motivational book that i recomend is from former aussie opener justin langer. "Seeing the sunrise" whilst being a player/ coach a friend gave me his copy i read it on a friday night before a big match and i scored my first ever 100..