Baseball coaches come in two (well, there are more, but you get the point) varieties: those whose kid plays on the team, and those who do it professionally. And there are cases where those overlap.
This list of coaching books should appeal to both types of coaches, but especially for those of you who find yourselves still getting accustomed to responding to the name Coach.
Best Books for Baseball Drills
The Baseball Drill Book
I recommend this book for any coach looking to improve their team’s practice drills for three reasons:
- It’s a timeless classic at this point: any book that is still getting frequently purchased–nowadays most likely from Amazon or direct from the publisher–after 30 years must have some useful information
- You can learn from some of the better college coaches, including Ray Tanner (former USC coach) and Gene Stephenson (former Wichita State coach).
- Lots (198 in all) of common drills presented in a straightforward, easy to understand (and implement!) way. For example, see an excerpt that includes the Rhythym Drill.
Best Book for Hitting
Science of Hitting
Honestly, the fact that Ted Williams, former two-time triple crown winner, is the author of this book is enough to warrant purchasing if you want to know more about batting. And if you are a coach, then of course you do. It’ll typically cost you less than a trip to the theater (well, when they are available again).
Best Book for Pitching
The Complete Guide to Pitching
Who better to teach the ins and outs of pitching than Derek Johnson, a well-renowned college pitching coach (2004 National Pitching Coach of the Year, 2010 National Assistant Coach of the Year).
The Complete Guide to Pitching offers both a basic introduction to pitching and pitching mechanics, as well as a more in-depth look. If you are a little league coach just trying to gain a little better understanding of pitching, then this book (especially the first portion) will be helpful. And if you are a coach looking to greatly expand your pitching knowledge, then this book is one to pick up as well.
The back cover of the book highlights the following items:
- upper- and lower-body pitching mechanics
- strengthening workouts
- creating a pitching plan
It’s conveniently available on Amazon. Check the current price.
Best Book for Catching
Catching-101: The Complete Guide for Baseball Catchers
Xan Barksdale, former catcher and current assistant coach at East Tennessee State University, presents a comprehensive guide for all catching skills: receiving, blocking, fielding bunts, signaling, etc. Definitely worth picking up if you are responsible for coaching catchers in any capacity, especially high school or above.
Best Book for Youth Coaches
Youth Baseball Bible: The Definitive Guide to Coaching and Enjoying Youth Baseball
This book is written by former minor league catcher Dan Gray. One thing to note about baseball: catchers are typically one of the most baseball-knowledgable players on the field. There’s a reason so many catchers eventually become coaches at some level.
That said, one fundamental reason to pick up this book is because it not only focuses on baseball, but also on how coaches should talk to and work with kids. For youth baseball, that is just as important, if not more, than baseball itself.
Best Book for Mental Elements of the Game
Ninety Percent Mental: An All-Star Player Turned Mental Skills Coach Reveals the Hidden Game of Baseball
Bob Tewksbury, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and now mental skills coach, collects his thoughts on the mental side of the game. Unlike other books on this list, this book does not directly guide coaches on how to implement new drills in practice or teach how improve coaching at a specific position. Instead, it challenges you to think beyond the physical nature. I’m a big believer in mental health being as important in sports as physical, so this is an easy book to recommend.