These 5 books will take your soccer game to the next level

With training, keeping a check on nutrition and resting, how can a young aspiring professional soccer play do anything else in their pursuit of optimal performance? Well, Head Academy Coach at RIASA, Rob Jones, recommends reading.

“But I already do a ton of reading for school!”

We hear you, but sometimes you have to be willing to do that little bit extra in your down time to gain an edge and take your game to the next level. Also, not all books are created equal. The books that Coach Jones recommends are not text books that you would read in the classroom or whilst studying for a test. These books will improve your playing ability through a significant shift in mindset.

“The books allow the reader to refocus and energise the mind in a professional manner.” says Coach Jones, “It gave me a more positive outlook when making decisions that have a major baring on every aspect of my playing and coaching career. It made me change many aspects of mental and physical preparation, aiding better performance and understanding of the game.”

So, keep scrolling to find out the top 5 books that Coach Jones recommends to all of his student-athletes at RIASA!

1. Relentless – From good to great to unstoppable, Tim S. Grover

For more than two decades, legendary trainer Tim Grover has taken the greats, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and dozens more and made them greater. Now, for the first time ever, he reveals what it takes to get those results, showing you how to be relentless and achieve whatever you desire.
Direct, blunt, and brutally honest, Grover breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable: you keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure; you never let your emotions make you weak. In “The Relentless 13,” he details the essential traits shared by the most intense competitors and achievers in sports, business, and all walks of life. Relentless shows you how to trust your instincts and get in the Zone; how to control and adapt to any situation; how to find your opponent’s weakness and attack. Grover gives you the same advice he gives his world-class clients, “don’t think” and shows you that anything is possible.

Packed with previously untold stories and unparalleled insight into the psyches of the most successful and accomplished athletes of our time, Relentless shows you how even the best get better . . . and how you can too.

2. The Champions Mind – How great athletes think, train and thrive, Jim Afremow

The athlete’s go-to guide for creating mental strength and achieving peak performance. Even among the most elite performers, certain athletes stand out as a cut above the rest, able to outperform in clutch, game-deciding moments. These athletes prove that raw athletic ability doesn’t necessarily translate to a superior on-field experience, its the mental game that matters most. Sports participation is at an all-time high. While the calibre of their games may differ, athletes at every level have one thing in common: the desire to excel.

In The Champion’s Mind, sports psychologist Jim Afremow, PhD, offers the same advice he uses with Olympians, Heisman Trophy winners, and professional athletes, including: How to get in a “zone,” thrive on a team, and stay humble; How to progress within a sport and sustain long-term excellence; Customizable pre-performance routines to hit full power when the gun goes off or the puck is dropped.

3. The Gold Mine Effect – Crack the secrets of high performance, Ramus Ankersen

‘A great read and a fascinating insight into performance.’ Sir Clive Woodward

We all want to discover our hidden talents and make an impact with them. But how? Rasmus Ankersen, an ex-footballer and performance specialist, quit his job and for six intense months lived with the world’s best athletes in an attempt to answer this question.

Why have the best middle distance runners grown up in the same Ethiopian village? Why are the leading female golfers from South Korea? How did one athletic club in Kingston, Jamaica, succeed in producing so many world-class sprinters?

Ankersen presents his surprising conclusions in seven lessons on how anyone – or any business, organisation or team – can defy the many misconceptions of high performance and learn to build their own gold mine of real talent.

4. The Sports Gene – Talent, practice and the truth about success, David Epstein

In this ground-breaking and entertaining exploration of athletic success, award-winning writer David Epstein gets to the heart of the great nature vs. nurture debate, and explodes myths about how and why humans excel.

Along the way, Epstein exposes the flaws in the so-called 10,000-hour rule that states that rigorous practice from a young age is the only route to success. He shows why some skills that we imagine are innate are not – like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball player – and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like the motivation to practice, might in fact have important genetic components. Throughout, The Sports Gene forces us to rethink the very nature of success.

5. Bounce – The myth of talent and the power of practice, Matthew Syed

What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life? Why doesn’t Tiger Woods “choke”? Why are the best figure skaters those that have fallen over the most and why has one small street in Reading produced more top table tennis players than the rest of the country put together.

Two-time Olympian and sports writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to uncover the secrets of our top athletes and introduces us to an extraordinary cast of characters, including the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband – and the three Hungarian sisters who are all chess grandmasters. Bounce is crammed with fascinating stories and statistics.

Looking at controversial questions such as whether talent is more important than practice, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners, the mind-bending Bounce is a must-read for the hardened sports nut or brand new convert.

There you have it, 5 incredible books recommended by an ex-professional soccer player who was been there and done it. If it’s good enough for Coach Jones, it’s good enough for you! If you didn’t notice, all of the book titles are clickable links that take you directly to an Amazon page where you can purchase the books. If you’re a parent struggling for gift ideas for the holidays, the recommended books would be perfect!

Happy reading!