3 Must Read Books for Athletes

To enhance and optimise physical performance.

I have been a self taught acrobat for over 15 years and have since turned this hobby into a profession.

Throughout my journey as I had no formal teacher I tried to read as many articles, experimented with different methods and generally try to educate myself to see what works best for me to improve my practice.

I quickly discovered that there are so many different routes and niches you can go down to try and improve yourself in different areas: Nutrition, mindset, physical movement, technique and so on. Each of which may take many lifetimes to fully master or understand.

I was soon overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information there was out there. For every athlete swearing by one method there are 10 others that swear by something completely different. One sports star could attribute his success to a vegan diet but someone equally as skilled may be a proponent of a 'meat only' carnivorous diet. 

    I tried it all, although I felt benefits from each one of these things, they didn't seem like the answer I was looking for.

    Then it hit me. There is no answer, there is no easy way out. No simple solution. No ideal formula.

    To improve yourself at any one thing you must commit yourself to the process, dedicate the time and practice. 

    Let's take the analogy of a ship, if you want to sail from England to New York the minimum distance you have to travel is 3290 nautical miles. No matter how many books you read, how many hours you're practiced sailing, it is not possible in this reality to complete the journey without traveling this distance.

    All you can do is what you can to create the perfect, most efficient vessel for this journey. This means finding the fastest engine, the most ergonomic ship design, the most efficient crew. If you hear of a navigation system that can make your journey 1% more accurate that's still 1% more accurate than you had before.

    However, if this navigation system takes 1 year to master then the 1% accuracy improvement doesn't sound as good, we are moving into the territory of diminishing returns, in that 1 year of learning you could of completed the journey many times already and accomplished your goal.

    Practice your skill, do what you can to turn yourself into the most efficient vessel to undertake your journey but remember; you need to find the right balance.

     I believe after almost two decades of searching I have found 3 books that have such a large payoff with such a small effort I needed to share them with you, the benefits I have felt are phenomenal and have completely transformed my physical ability and their benefits have seeped across all other areas in my life. 

    Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker


    View 'Why We Sleep' on Amazon.

    I could sum this book up in 3 words: Sleep 8 Hours.

    This is the primary advice and simple premise of Dr Matthew Walker's best selling book. It sounds simple, and it is! The beauty is in the fascinating details of the science of how we benefit from sleep and the host of things that can happen to us when we don't have enough. This book is life-changing and guaranteed to make you think differently about sleep. 

    Becoming a Supple Leopard - Dr Kelly Starrett

    A leopard doesn't have to warm up before chasing pray, they don't twist their ankle falling off a rock and need physio to rehabilitate it. Why aren't humans more like leopards? Why are our bodies so easy to injure and a cause of such concern for all of us at some point in our lives?
    Dr Kelly Starrett has written one of the most informative guides to injury prevention, rehabilitation, mobility and optimising your body to achieve it's physical peak. This book is used by top athletes across all genres, from crossfit, to gymnastics, to martial arts. With hundreds of pages of practical technique and advice, with informative pictures and diagrams, this book is a must read.

    View 'Becoming a Supple Leopard' on Amazon.

    With Winning in Mind - Lanny Bassham 

    View 'With Winning in Mind' on Amazon.

    Lanny Bassham was once the kid picked last for the sports team, years later he became the national champion and olympic gold medalist. But it didn't come easy, he spent these years learning from other world champions and redefining a mindset technique that he believes gives you an edge in all discipline and competition. To this day he still teaches his revolutionary technique to olympic medalists around the world.