Books and Resources – Suggestions

Continuous education and personal growth are two key ingredients of the recipe for success in any field. So, from time to time I like to share books, videos and podcasts that have had an influence on my thinking about training and life in general.

Here the latest one.


1. High Performance Training for Sports, 2nd Edition- David Joyce & Daniel Lewindon

This book is the one of the most complete resources on performance training out there. Some of the best scientists, coaches and practitioners in the world offer their wisdom, covering all the topics that effect an athlete’s performance.

The second edition of “High Performance Training for Sports” is organized in four parts: i) Introduction: Understanding the modern athlete ii) Establishing and developing resilience iii) Developing athletic capabilities iv) Enhancing and sustaining performance.

Each part is further broken down to many chapters written by different specialists. Some of my highlights include Loren Landow’s chapter on developing trunk strength and coordination, speed training by Jean-Benoit Morin, Cuing for sports performance by Nick Winkelman and aerobic training by Martin Buchheit and Paul Laursen. Also, David Joyce’s and David Lewindon’s chapter on retraining the injured athlete is a must for whoever is working on a team setting or deals with injured athletes.

One of my favorite features of this publication is that the authors use a simple, every day language to explain complex topics. It sometimes seems that they are having a live informal, face-to-face conversation, which make this book pleasant to read and easy to understand. Highly recommended and at the top of my list.

See more information on the book and order it here!

2. Essentials of Physical Performance in Elite Basketball – Luka Svilar

Luka (currently the S & C at Bayern Munich) has done a tremendous job in putting together a comprehensive resource for basketball strength and conditioning coaches. Drawing from his experience in high-level European basketball, Luka presents his philosophy and practical approach on all aspects of performance.

The author has dedicated a chapter to the analysis of each topic, starting from communication and basketball needs analysis and moving to all aspects that define athletic performance (agility, strength and power training etc.). There are lots of examples, tables and charts on how to tailor your program to your level of competition, so the book can be a great resource for coaches that work with basketball players of all levels.

This one of the few publications that are more relevant to the European basketball reality. Especially, the Periodization chapter refers to the club level of organization and annual calendar that is mostly prevent in Europe and Asia.

For orders contact Luka at:

3. Baxter’s The Foot and Ankle in Sport, 3rd Edition- David A. Porter & Lew C. Schon

Although this book that is mainly for medical professionals, it can be a great resource for strength and conditioning coaches. It offers in-depth insights in managing a wide range of ankle and foot pathologies and injuries that are so common in basketball.

Revised and updated with five new chapters, the book also contains a video section presenting radiographic and ultrasonographic techniques. Besides the purely “science” section about the different foot and ankle sections, I particularly like the “The team in the care of the athlete” chapter. Working together in a team is crucial, but in my opinion highly underappreciated in team sports. The outcome of an injury depends on different specialties working together as a unit. This is easier said than done, as teams are usually comprised of specialists from different backgrounds, knowledge, culture and ego-drive.

Our role as strength and conditioning coaches has evolved over years and now we are included in various parts of rehabilitation. Therefore, we must acquire a common language with other health care professionals. We also need to be able to understand different pathologies, injury mechanisms, tissue healing times and be familiar with the latest developments in rehabilitation and medicine. This will allow us to be respected as part of these teams and above all, will allow us to serve and help our athletes more effectively.

4. Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson

Peterson is one of the most influential (and controversial) thinkers of our time. I have read most of his work and enjoy most of his popular videos. His approach to life and his analytical thinking have helped me shed more light on my “deeper self”, as well life in general. How is all this related to coaching?

Deciphering the world around us, discovering hidden aspects of ourselves, understanding the dynamics of interpersonal and social relationships are vital to draw a successful and ever evolving life plan. They are also necessary requirements to be able to effectively understand and communicate with others. Coaches are leaders and as such they must be able to connect, communicate and inspire. They must also stand as living examples of all the positive changes that they strive to instill in their athletes. Personal growth therefore, should be a constant pursuit for every coach.

All twelve “rules” presented in this book have something to teach us. I particularly liked the his views on:

  • Taking responsibility, thus finding meaning in life.
  • The importance of keeping an open mind to the new, while retaining what’s useful from the past.
  • The need and approach on facing reality and confronting deeper fears and past experience to grow and move on to life.
  • The value of keeping yourself firmly on the ground and being grateful.

5. The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kholk

Although at first glance this book is not related to coaching, it was a major eye-opener for me to better understand what we generally call “problematic behaviors”. It is more common than we think to have to coach athletes that have faced personal trauma sometime in their lives. These unresolved negative experiences interfere with their personal and sports lives, causing misery and of course, unstable performance on the court.

Being able to identify such problematic behaviors and to understand their origins, as well as complexities is crucial in order to formulate a proper response. These athletes should not just be dismissed as “problematic” or “irresponsible” as unfortunately often happens. They need care and proper handling and not scorn and rejection. Some of them are crying for help in their own way and we must be ready to respond.

However, I feel that a word of caution is warranted. Trying to intervene and “solve” any psychological condition ourselves is unacceptable and unprofessional. Understanding does not equal mastering. We should always refer these athletes to certified professionals and ask them to guide us on what our role should be in every case.


1. The Benas Podcast – Benas Matkevicius

Benas Matkevicius is currently the International scout for the Boston Celtics. He has also worked at the highest level of European basketball, both in clubs (CSKA Moscow) and the National Team of Lithouania. He is also a coffee aficionado, so you can get some tips on coffee-drinking as well!

His guests include personalities from all around the world that are related to basketball in some capacity. Some of the names featured are head coaches Ettore Messina, Dimitris Itoudis, former players Nikos Zisis, JR Holden and Andrew Bogut.

Benas masterfully engages his guess in smart conversations, sharing their experiences in the sport of basketball, discussing their life journey and career.

You can check out all the episodes and subscribe here

2. Kinetic Collective – Mick Strieli powered by PLAE

Australian performance specialist Mick Strieli is the host of this podcast. In his unique style and questions he leads his guests to unravel their philosophies in training, as well as their life experiences. With a heavy Aussie accent and influence, but enough international flavor this podcast is one great resource for all strength and conditioning coaches. .

To check out all the episodes and subscribe click here

Also, you can check out PLAE Academy and find a wide variety of content regarding training and coaching.

3. Sport Vitamins – Roberto Iezzi, S&C Coach

Dedicated to all things strength and conditioning, Sport Vitamins hosts performance coaches from all over the world and from different sports. Although Roberto Iezzi is a currently a basketball S & C, he does a great job in interviewing experts from different backgrounds and specialties. Definitely, one of the most interesting podcasts in our field.

Subscribe and explore all guests here

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Dakis Gravvanisreply
8 November 2021 at 23:32

Hey Kostas,
I would very much like to order the first book listed,
could you please give me a Greek version of it?
(pretty ironic writing in English and asking for a Greek copy right? ๐Ÿ˜†)

Kostas Chatzichristosreply
8 November 2021 at 23:36
– In reply to: Dakis Gravvanis

It is ironic, since I am also Greek :)! I am not sure that this edition is translated to Greek. Will check and let you know. You can contact me through email if you wish to get and update

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