Below is a list of my most recommended books for sports parents. To view the complete list of books I’ve read on youth sports, sports parenting and sports & culture, visit my Goodreads virtual bookshelf.


Whose Game Is It, Anyway?: A Guide to Helping Your Child Get the Most from Sports, Organized by Age and StageWhose Game Is It, Anyway?: A Guide to Helping Your Child Get the Most from Sports, Organized by Age and Stage by Amy Baltzell

“Whose game is it anyway, A guide to helping your child get the sports organized by age and stage” is true to it’s name and an excellent, well written, practical book that deals with youth athletes of all abilities, from the reluctant, side-line athlete, to the high-performing college athlete. The book is infused with realistic scenarios – a compilation of experience from all three authors who are each a sports psychologist, parent and competitive athlete from high school and college, making the guide an exceptional resource for parents, coaches and athletic program directors.

The book is organized by descriptively titled chapters, allowing the reader to hone in on what’s relevant, though the book is a worthwhile read in its entirety. Useful and applicable, the real-life vignettes give insight into how parents can deal with complex athlete/child situations and challenges. I found a scenario that fit each of my three children , giving me insight into the best way to help my kids, though I’d wish I’d read this book earlier rather than later. Sensitive topics are brought forward in some chapters, which may make it an uncomfortable read at times for parents, such as how some young athletes are afraid to tell their parents they want to try a different sport or quit altogether, or that a child may be suffering from burnout, which is difficult to comes to terms with both for parents and coach. All in all, an outstanding book that I would highly recommend for any parent with children involved in sports.

Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our KidsUntil It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids by Mark Hyman

This book is one of the first of its kind to bring the problem of youth sports into the open. An essential read for the sports parent, coach, health care provider or anyone involved in youth sports. Hyman makes it all too clear the problem with our culture, and how our obsession with sports pushes our kids to the point where it’s’ not fun anymore’, becomes not a game but a business, and parents that all too often view team sports as a surefire ticket to a scholarship.

Sobering, unbelievable and at times funny, any sports parent will see themselves in these pages, including the author, Hyman, who humbly shares his own (previous) obsession with his son’s baseball playing days. Hyman meticulously researched his topic, and shares his notes on interviews with surgeons, sports parents and Olympic athletes. Brutally honest, the results will surprise the reader – including: “65% of athletes on Division I and III teams say specializing in one sport was not necessary to play in college”, and that sports scholarships if lucky, cover only 15% of college tuition and living expenses, and specializing in one sport at an early age does not improve chances of sports success in high school years.

Hyman concludes on a positive note, calling all parents to re-consider their role in their child’s sport, and with a plug for a “return to fundamentals”. The reader is left with a thought from the director of a soccer league that prohibits parents from coaching from the sidelines or yelling at the athletes, because after all “the game is for the kids”. Yes, it is for the kids after all.


Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our ChildrenGame On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children by Tom Farrey

Youth sports in today’s culture is a far cry from days past when kids played locally with friends from their own neighborhood, or on a community team for a season that lasted four months out of the year [not twelve]. Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children by Tim Farrey bares the truth about what’s behind youth sports, prompting readers to think about what is going on with our kids. Really, quite an eye-opener.

Youth sports is not always about the kids, but it is about the adults; adults with their own agendas. Game On is an essential read for coaches, parents, and a must read for anyone else involved with youth. I’ve read numerous books on this topic, and Farrey’s book is the best I’ve read because of the startling facts he provides, the breadth and depth of his research, and how he tells the story. Non-fiction books can be a dry [and dull] read, not Game On. Farrey gives the reader not just snippets of facts and anecdotes to support his points, but full stories. And robust stories they are; all true, which at times is disconcerting, especially when reading of young athletes that were pushed, pressured and in some instances taken advantage of. For a complete read of the review, check out my blog post here:


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