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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Why Not, Coach?: Written to Help and Greatly Benefit Others is a non-fiction sports book written by Gregory Ryan. The author was motivated to write this book based upon both his own experiences as a young athlete and his concerns for other athletes, who may feel as though their abilities are not being fully developed and utilized. Ryan played competitive sports from the time he was in primary school. He excelled at baseball, basketball and football; the latter being the sport in which he was most motivated to excel. As a freshman in a Catholic high school, Ryan was given plenty of opportunities to be part of each game and had hopes of advancing to varsity; however, when he transferred to the much larger public high school, he found that he was left on the bench for most games and was rarely given any playing time. Any attempts to find out from the coaches why he wasn't being used were met with silence until he finally quit the team in frustration. Ryan believes that, while it's the coach's prerogative who he allows on the team, once he selects his players, the coach should ensure that each and every teammate gets ample field time as well as personalized training to ensure that the player's gifts and weaknesses are properly addressed. Ryan sees the support structure of a player to be a triangle with the player at the top and the coach and the player's parents as the base. This support structure is, he argues, the essential recipe for a successful player who is confident and enjoys himself in team sports.
Gregory Ryan's non-fiction sports book, Why Not, Coach?, is a fascinating look at what all too often happens on the playing field and how it can be changed to fully utilize each member of the sports team. The author's ideas will not only help those players who are frequently benched to get out there and play, but also will ensure that the key players on the team are not played too hard and run the risk of overuse injuries. His substitute strategy, which reminded me somewhat of the use of understudies in theater, seems a perfect means for fully utilizing the team and keeping all the players motivated and feeling good about themselves as members of a team. Ryan's ideas for effective coaching are well-reasoned and make a lot of sense, and his discussion of sportsmanship and winning are likewise invaluable as a reference for coaches. Why Not, Coach? is highly recommended for coaches, parents and anyone else interested in competitive team sports.