Are you a big sports fan? Do you enjoy learning about fun behind the scenes moments of your favorite games? Do you enjoy digging into the personal struggles and/or victories behind a specific sports person? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this is the ultimate list of books for you!
If you’re looking forward to learning a thing or two about sportsmanship and humility both on the field and off it, then these are the books for you. Dive right in!
1. League of Denial by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
This book tackles the most pervasive issues that plague NFL- ranging from trauma-inducing concussions and brain injuries to the deceit of those who seek to cover it up.
2. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes by Joan Ryan
While it can be a great honor when a teenage athlete makes their country proud at the Olympics, there is a harsh truth and a whole lot of lost childhoods behind the fame and glory of it all. This book uncovers how even the most unachievable feats of athleticism are machine produced and more often than not both emotionally crippling as well as physically challenging and draining to a young sportsperson. The book consists of interviews by leading trainers, sports psychologists, former gymnasts and figure skaters who speak out against how challenging training sessions can often rob young athletes of a fulfilling childhood and stunt their development.
3. The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow
Dr. Afremow, PhD, is a known name in the field of sports psychology. Here he offers the same tips and tricks utilized by Olympians, Heisman trophy winners, and pro athletes in order for readers and the general public to live life to their fullest and to get their health back on track. From getting into the zone to thriving as part of a team, staying humble and sustaining long term excellence to attain full power during or before a big game, this book covers it all via a blend of useful tips, breakthrough science, and cutting edge workouts that are approved by the world’s top trainers.
4. Addicted by Tony Adams
This autobiography by Arsenal and England regular Tony Adams looks into his personal struggle with alcoholism and how he often channelled his drunk energy into a riveting performance on the field, even though his personal life was in shambles. Learn about moments such as Adams using bin bags underneath his training kit to sweat out copious amounts of booze before a game, as well as a whole lot of fights, broken lives, prostitutes and eventual redemption as he attempted to get his life back on track both on the field and off it.
5. Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper
Longtime Financial Times columnist Kuper wrote this travelogue while still in his early 20s as an ode to the sensational sport sweeping the globe known as football. His research took him to 22 countries where he learned of how the sport shaped individuals and even national politics as culture. The book features tragic and often bizarre anecdotes and observations about the sport from the common person to players and even politicians.
6. Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston
If you love both sports and math, then this book is worth a read as it combines both effortlessly. Learn about the use of simple math in the field of sports as well as sport betting. From evaluating both singles and power hitters in the field of baseball to exposing crooked referees, math plays a pivotal role in sports and this book covers the same. It also seeks to explore age-old questions such as ‘Does money trump skills/performance in professional sports?’ or ‘Can money be used to buy out a performance?’. It will not only enhance your understanding of sports but also further enhance your enjoyment of the same.
7. The Rodchenkov Affair by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov
Former athlete turned scientist and whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov recalls his first illicit dope shot at the hands of his own mother as a young athlete before turning the gaze towards gangsterism in state sponsored sports and how Russian politics played a big yet shady role in the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics in this book.
8. Born Fighter by Ruqsana Begum
This book follows the successful but almost impossible and tumultuous journey of Ruqsana Begum, a mixed martial artist of Bangladeshi descent from East London who left a mark in the field of Muay Thai or kickboxing. It explores her faith, her parents viewpoints, racism as well as the consequences of a failed arranged marriage, all of which only aided in her carving a name for herself in this field.
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