Leaders and leadership

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We asked the Academic PE staff to give us some recommendations for books linking sports and leadership.

Back in March this year, during the last rugby union 6 Nations competition, we’d spotted and retweeted an article from the Telegraph about England captain Chris Robshaw’s approach to leadership. The first tip shared in the article was to read books and talk to people and that’s what prompted our question to the PE staff.

It isn’t uncommon to learn that sports people work as hard on honing their leadership qualities as they do on building up their technical skills and many teams describe having multiple leaders on the pitch so that decision-making is a shared responsibility. Off the pitch, increasing media interest in the professional support staff surrounding top sports people and teams nowadays highlights how important areas like nutrition, rehabilitation, psychology and media relations have become. Little is left to chance, even if sometimes chance affects the outcome.

So what recommendations did the PE staff send our way? Well, first up was Mr Burdekin with Mind Over Matter by Ranulph Fiennes of which Mr Burdekin commented:

“Only two people but the sheer leadership it must have taken to get an expedition partner through the ordeal is phenomenal.”

We’ve pulled a couple of quotes from this book and included them in the window display you can see from the Lower Hall. One is from Roland Huntford and relates to how Shackleton shied away from characters who might challenge his authority. The second quote is from Fiennes himself and relates how he has managed his leadership role in different groups over the years. The book itself, as Mr Burdekin indicates, tells the story of a record breaking trek which took both participants to the very limits of their endurance.

There are seven other quotes in the window display all of which pick up on various aspects of leadership or are from famous leaders, mostly from the sporting world, including Craig Walsh on his father Bill Walsh the record-breaking San Francisco 49ers  coach. His book The Score Takes Care of Itself : my philosophy of leadership was recommended by Mr Howard.

Mr Greenaway chose Sacred Hoops : spiritual lessons of a hardwood warrior in which the approach of basketball coach Phil Jackson is explored. You’ll find some interesting detail about how Jackson and his team dealt with success, set backs and some world famous stars of the game.

One more that we’ll highlight here is the autobiography of Jake White, world cup winning rugby union coach, called In Black and White. We chose a quote for the display describing what happened when Nelson Mandela addressed the Springboks before a match against the Australians.

Other recommendations for sporting leadership reads were:

The Essential Wooden : a lifetime of lessons on leaders and leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison

The Carolina Way : leadership lessons from a life in coaching by Dean Smith and Gerald Bell

When Pride Still Mattered : a life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss

The Kid : a true story by Kevin Lewis

Coach Carter : my life by Ken Carter

What we can see from this list of recommendations is that the PE staff here at DC certainly take their reading seriously and you can find more books and articles about leaders and leadership by making a search of the Wodehouse Library catalogue using any of the keywords displayed in the Wordle image below and in the Periodicals Room where right now The Cricket Paper and the The Cricketer magazine both focus on the issue.


Our Wordle created from LibCat keywords
Our Wordle created from LibCat keywords



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