What’s a Good Book for Young Athletes to Read?

What’s a Good Book for Young Athletes to Read? April 21, 2024

This is the book cover for Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success.
Revell: A Division of Baker Publishing Group/Amazon.com


Are you looking for a good book for your young athletes to read? If yes, then I have the perfect suggestion. 

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, is written by John R. Wooden and Jay Carty. This book is great for athletes ages 10-18 because it focuses on whole-person development. 

Whole person development “improves an individual’s intellectual, physical, professional, psychological, social, and spiritual capacities. It focuses on developing “human skills” like adaptability, conflict resolution, and intrapersonal communication.”

A Brief Summary

Wooden’s work aligns with this definition by challenging readers to have a view of success that is deeper than accolades and achievements. Wooden then uses personal experiences to support teachings about the principles he believes are essential to success.

Interestingly, Wooden nor anyone who has ever been under his leadership describes him mainly as a legendary coach with a winning resume. While deserving of notoriety, history honors him as a Christian whose faith governed his approach to life.

David Robinson also supports this claim by mentioning how the positive way he relates to others and having a relationship with God were foundational to Wooden (Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Wooden & Carty, 2005, pg 10). 

Consequently, Wooden bases his pyramid of success on biblical principles. Together he and Carty incorporate devotional activities after expounding on each principle in the pyramid. 

This approach makes Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success a good book as it requires scripture reading to complete closing chapter assessments. These assessments help young scholars begin to engage the word of God. 

Spiritual Benefits of Reading this Good Book

After reading this work, scholars will become accustomed to studying scripture consistently. Developing this habit will increase their desire to draw closer to God and live lives that glorify him. 

The time I spent reading this good book creates a refreshing desire to study the word of God. As I read passages relating to specific pyramid principles, God began reminding me of other biblical truths. 

One of these truths comes from Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (English Standard Version).

This truth helped me professionally during a season when my abilities were being overlooked because of my disability. Though sometimes impatient, God has made ways that seem impossible because I strive to depend on his word.

God’s word strengthened my faith amid frustration and I know he will use this work to do the same for other readers.     

Personal Commitments

Each chapter also includes personal commitments correlating with its central theme. You can help your young athletes grow in their faith by holding them accountable to fulfill their personal pledges. 

Accountability will help your child understand the importance of keeping their word. Accountability is also a way for you to obey God’s word by training up your child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6, King James Version).

You can also aid their spiritual growth by making your own commitments related to the principles they study. Making spiritual commitments with your child will help them realize everyone has flaws in their lives God is perfecting.

By keeping spiritual commitments, you’ll set an example that encourages young athletes to remain devoted to God no matter what they face in life.

Lasting Legacies

Along with the information above, another detail I like makes me think about the wise words of King Solomon. Proverbs 27:2 says, “let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider and not your own lips” (New International Version).

I like the decision to include summaries of Wooden and Carty’s autobiographies in the book. I also like the inclusion of testimonials from individuals who have experienced the leadership of these individuals. 

By reading the autobiographies and player testimonials, youth will learn about men who strived to practice what they preached. I hope Coach Wooden’s story inspires young athletes to leave a legacy that has a lasting impact on future generations.

Coach Wooden was able to write a good book because he lived a great life spent in service to others. “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10; New Living Translation).

If you enjoyed reading this book review or have suggestions about improvements, feel free to leave a comment. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!






About Electi A Deo (Xavier Scott Preston)
Electi A Deo is a native of Washington, DC. He has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Sport Management from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Urban Ministry from Grand Canyon University. He has served as a support leader and administrative assistant for Mt. Sinai Baptist Church’s youth ministry from January 2016 to December 2023. Fulfilling this role has given him the opportunity to disciple and empower teenagers to walk in the purpose God has for their lives within His kingdom. He is also a volunteer writer and editor for the Mt. Sinai’s Baptist Church newsletter team. You can read more about the author here.

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