Coaching for the Inner Edge is a comprehensive text resource for coaches to better prepare athletes for success in competitive environments.
I became interested in sport psychology after several seasons of inconsistent performance from my teams. We were doing good training and seeing improvement, but the athletes would often have difficulty in the biggest meets. I wanted to improve my ability to prepare them mentally for competitions.
I was first recommended this text by Dr. Gloria Balague. She is a former professor at the University of Illinois and has worked as a sport psychologist with the Chicago Bears, USA Gymnastics and USA Track and Field. Dr. Balague was teaching the USTFCCCA 405 course on sport psychology and mentioned this text as a great resource. When such a prominent figure recommends a book, I always try to pick up a copy.
Coaching for the Inner Edge is written by Dr. Vealey a professor at Miami University of Ohio, and a former collegiate basketball player and coach. She has dedicated her professional career to understanding the mental side of athletic competition.
The book explains how sport psychology functions to improve performance. There is a focus on practical implementation techniques like goal mapping, imagery, and relaxation.
The book is separated into four parts. The first part talks about foundational elements of sport psychology. The second part takes the reader through the different types of mental training tools. The third part addresses the primary mental skills the tools seek to improve, and the fourth part is about putting it all together.
I love that Dr. Vealey includes templates and exemplars in the text to help coaches and athletes actually apply the information in meaningful ways.
One example that I use with my athletes is the goal mapping template. Dr. Vealey differentiates object from process goals, and then provides a form to use with athletes to record and track goals. This format for providing concrete useful tools is repeated throughout the book. There are many additional forms and tools provided in the Appendix, as well as numerous quotes and example scenarios to provide insight and guidance.
I have found her suggested reading at the end of the book under coaches resources, as well as her complete references list, to be a fantastic springboard into a larger wealth of knowledge within topics of sport psychology. I highly recommend the book as a valuable addition to any coaching library.
Reviewer: Kevin O’Grattan
Coach O’Grattan is the Assistant Head Cross Country and Distance Track Coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas. He is currently working on his Masters Certification in Cross Country from USTFCCCA.
You can read more about Coach O’Grattan here in his coaching profile.