Tag Archives: Recommended

Book Review: 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach by Allistair McCaw

Recommended Reading for Coaches At Any Level

516wi0ihzalOn reading 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach you can see why Alistair McCaw is a successful coach. He has the wonderful ability to keep the potentially complex art of coaching very simple and communicate his methods with clarity.

As the cover indicates, this book is not about the X’s & O’s of coaching. It’s about the nuts & bolts – the philosophy, standards and beliefs – that are behind any successful coach. The book is not sport-specific and is therefore adaptable to a wide range of coaching situations. If you want to improve as a coach, there will be lots of ideas in this book for you.

This book is not about the X’s & O’s of coaching – it is about the nuts & bolts.

Allistair McCaw is a world-renowned sports performance coach who has worked with numerous Olympians, World Champions, and Grand Slam winners. He has also coached kids and been a successful athlete himself.

Alistair’s writing reflects one of his 7 coaching keys – the importance of the fundamentals. Hence, this is an easy, non-complicated read, but one that is filled with gem after gem of coaching wisdom, all communicated with energy and passion. I loved McCaw’s ability to clearly articulate his beliefs about coaching, something that has inspired me to attempt the same.

The book is filled with gem after gem of coaching wisdom.

I often found myself nodding in agreement with McCaw and quoting from the book to others. If I was the type of person to use a highlighter while reading, the pages of 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach would have been saturated with fluorescent colourings.

Allistair has a clear vision of the coach he is and the coach he wants to be. He enthusiastically encourages others to do the same. He outlines his standards, beliefs and methods but does not preach them. Rather, the reader is encouraged to discover and articulate their own.

McCaw outlines his standards and methods, but the reader is encouraged to discover and articulate their own.

For aspiring or beginner coaches the book is an invaluable resource for starting a coaching career off on the right foot. It will help you discover the coach you want to be.

For experienced coaches the book will cause  you to reflect upon and re-examine how you do things. Are you emphasizing the fundamentals enough? Are you looking after yourself as a coach? Are you leading by example?

The book had an immediate positive influence on me:

  • As suggested by McCaw, I began to document my coaching standards and beliefs in a way that could be clearly articulated.
  • I found myself focusing more on the fundamentals when coaching.
  • I was inspired to look after myself better and invest in myself more as a coach.

This book will make you more aware of who you are as a coach. It will help form a clearer picture of the coach that you want to be and inspire in you some actions that will hopefully get you there.

You will become more aware of the coach you are, the coach you want to be, and the steps that you can take to get there.

Who is this book for?

This book is for coaches of any level, working with athletes of any age.

What I really liked

  • The clarity of message
  • Full of useful, usable information
  • An easy-to-read conversational tone
  • Very accessible
  • Very quotable
  • Applicable to a wide range of coaches in varying situations
  • Information broadly adaptable but specific enough to be immediately useful


As a coach, whether you are experienced, a beginner or somewhere in-between, this book will provide you with inspiration, clarity and direction. I highly recommend this book to all sports coaches.

A highly recommended read for all sports coaches.

Where can I buy this book?

You can buy the book from Amazon by clicking HERE.

NOTE:  There are links on this page from which Coaching Young Athletes can earn a small commission. This adds no cost to you but helps to keep this blog sustainable. I really appreciate if you do purchase through my links. Please know that I only recommend books that I use and love myself, and all opinions expressed in this review are my own. Thanks for your support. Darren

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Further reading

Check out some other resources that I recommend HERE.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Instagram via email.

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