With a tween athlete at home who is quickly becoming an avid reader, we have been going through books like crazy around here. Since you too might have a young athlete at home, you may be wondering what books would keep him or her intrigued while learning about ways to become healthier, get stronger, and perform better. So here are 7 recommendations of the best books for young athletes and kids who love sports:
7 of the Best Books for Young Athletes & Sports-Loving Kids
It is important that athletes young and old understand how the foods they eat are impacting their bodies. Whether you have read it or not, you have probably heard of the best selling book by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. This book, in my opinion, is for the more mature tween/teen who is not only interested in food but in food sources as well. It is divided into four sections, covering conventional food, organic food, local sustainable food, and grow/hunt-it-yourself food. There is a wealth of incredibly eye-opening subject matter covered in the book, and parents should be forewarned that your child may not ever eat the same way again!
Michael Pollan is the author of five books, but is best known for the aforementioned The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. He is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, and the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
My eleven year old is obsessed with this book and quotes it constantly. It discusses not just what to eat on a regular basis, but how to fuel your body before games. It includes references to proper hydration and whole foods. What he loves most about this book is the attention to the why, not just the what.
There are also 33 nutrient dense recipes included in the book for both healthy meals and snacks – all of which he now wants me to make for him!
Youth Strength Training: Programs for Health, Fitness and Sport (Strength & Power for Young Athlete)
by Avery Faigenbaum and Wayne Westcott
So your kid wants to work out at home and lift a gazillion pound weight 15 times in a row. (Just me??) Don’t be fooled by the outdated cover photo. This scientifically based book gives sample training programs that are easy to understand with corresponding photos so you know the form is correct. Personally, I love that this book addresses fitness myths as well, because we all know kids don’t believe their parents sometimes. (Again, just me??)
YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life
by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet Oz
Teens bodies are changing not just from year to year, but from season to season. This, no doubt, could be impacting their performance on the court or field. It could also be impacting them emotionally. This book serves as a guide for helping teens better understand their bodies as they navigate the biological changes that occur during those awkward adolescent years.
Though I do recommend this book, parents should know that this book is about the entire body and therefore covers a multitude of topics affecting teens, so it does contain sexual content.
You may be wondering why this book is on the list since it’s not a health or wellness book. Yet this book is about the one thing all kids should know, because it is about emotional strength. It is about the lesson that anyone can overcome obstacles and go on to do amazing things. If defying odds is not emotionally healthy, I don’t know what healthy is anymore.
Tim Howard went from being a hyperactive kid from a depressed area of New Jersey, raised by a single mom and suffering from Tourette’s syndrome, to playing goalie for the US national team and for Everton in the English Premier League, getting drafted into Major League Soccer right out of high school. This inspirational book is fantastic for tweens and teens, and is a great one for parents and children to read together.
A Teen’s Game Plan for Life
by Lou Holtz
As a Penn Stater, it’s a little contradictory for me to be promoting a book written by Lou Holtz, former coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. However, this one is worth it. He spent his entire career “helping to mold teenagers into adults,” so it really is fitting for him to share some of his most valuable lessons.
Much of this book is focused about good decision-making and consequences, a healthy lesson for everyone to learn. It emphasizes goal setting, loyalty, clean living habits, and a belief in God. As someone who is not religious by nature, I was still able to appreciate his belief in his God and recognize the meaning as it relates to my own beliefs.
Bring Your “A” Game: A Young Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness
by Jennifer L. Etnier
We talk a lot about the mental aspects of sport around here. My son takes the lessons he’s given in martial arts and tries to apply them in soccer. It’s not always as easy as it sounds! This book provides strategies for mental training, including goal setting, pre-performance routines, confidence building, and imagery.
We’ve also done a lot of cognitive behavioral work for his medical issues, so he is well aware of the incredible connection between mind and body. Mental training is just as important as physical training, but not all young athletes focus on the mental part. This book encourages young athletes to utilize mental skills everyday so that they become second nature during competition.
Has your young athlete read any of these great books yet? Also, be sure to check out my list of recommended books to read for your own best health and wellness!
10 Ways Healthy People Begin Their Day
How to Eliminate Toxins & Why You Should
7 Easy Ways to Help Your Family Stay Healthy Naturally
Munchies Be Gone! 50 GMO Free Snacks for School, Work or Home
21 Essential Oils to Help Ease Your Child’s Stress
Got 15 Minutes? Then Try the Metabolic Aftershock Workout
What Happens When Teen Girls Stop Using Conventional Personal Care Products
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What You Need to Know about GMO’s
7 Ways to Shop Organic on a Budget
Natural Ways to Prevent or Get Rid of Sore Muscles
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Do We Really Need Sports Drinks to Replenish Electrolytes in the Body?
20 Ways to Boost Your Workout Performance
How Cutting Sugar from Your Diet can Improve Your Health
My New Secret to Maintaining a Workout Regimen (Even When Life Gets in the Way)
Top Foods to Include in Juicing & Smoothie Recipes
Not a Polar Bear? Why You Should Take Cold Showers Anyway
10 Items I Bought After Watching “The Truth About Cancer”
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.