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Posted on March 25th, 2012, by

The book Coaching Basketball Successfully by Morgan Wootten is a kind of detailed handbook on how to play basketball and how to teach the players effectively. The book represents a rich set of instructions, guidelines, pieces of advice and real sample stories which can inspire every coach, basketball player and fan to progress and development. The author, being an outstanding coach himself in the past, shares his own plentiful experience and wisdom embodied in a well-organized system of comprehensive lessons for athletes.

The manual consists of six parts which step by step lead the reader to the full picture of what the ideal player, the ideal coach and the ideal team are like. The foreword is given by John Wooden, a famous basketball coach himself, who states that Morgan Wootten is one of the finest coaches in the sport of basketball and Coaching Basketball Successfully is as fine a teaching aid on the development of a high school team and program as I have ever read. (vii).

Then the author presents a system of symbols making up a kind of language of a basketball player. In the introduction Morgan Wootten explains his motivation: I have strong feelings about basketball and the valuable role it can play in a young person’s life. And this book is an excellent forum to share some of those feelings and philosophies. (xi).

The first part is devoted to the development of a basketball coaching philosophy, to singling put motivating methods and composing a specific program. Then the author turns to planning, offensive and defensive skills, followed by game situations and coaching evaluation. The materials are supported with appendixes with sample plans etc.

As for the style, the book is written in available entertaining manner. The narration is constructed logically and clearly. There are a lot of tables, schedules, lists and diagrams which make it easier to accept ideas and study it systematically and photos that help to have a rest from reading and graphically demonstrate the achievable success.

The author tries his best to make up recommendations for everyone taking to account individual strengths and weaknesses and insists that everyone can find a chance to apply his ability.

It is obvious that the author is really willing to help his every follower, and his passion fills every word. He is sincere with his reader and in no way demonstrates the position of someone cleverer and higher by position. it is interesting to mark that each chapter is supported with some clear thought for the day’ like If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything (2) or The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win (48). The material is developed in every aspect including instruction, insights and challenges, and this is really information-filled. It is without any doubt not only a good manual, but aspiring coach’s bible, as it has been said by Pat Riley on the cover.

All in all, this is a really well-written strong book which makes up a great contribution to profession of a coach and sports on the whole. Morgan Wootten is obviously a capable leader who not only could guide his own trainees, but who can change hearts in a distance and with no doubt will go on doing it for many years to come. Not without reason it was called must-read book by Lute Olson.




Wootten, Morgan. Coaching basketball successfully. 2nd ed. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics, 2003.

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