New January sports books: Wooden, Beckham and athletes’ minds

A good variety of newly published sports books will be out this month, and here’s a quick look at some of the leading titles.

wooden_coaches_lifeJohn Wooden: A Coach’s Life, by Seth Davis — Davis, of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, went in-depth with a 608-page full-scale biography of the late UCLA basketball legend that’s broken down into the four “seasons” of Wooden’s long life. (Book website.)

This comes on the heels of the publication last fall of “The Sons of Westwood” by Georgia Tech history professor John Matthew Smith, the latest in a long and continuous line of books about the Wizard and his legacy.

Writes Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News:

You have to think at some point there isn’t anything new readers can glean about the revered coach who died at 99 in June of 2010. But for collectors of Wooden memorabilia, the focus is going more from a seemingly never-ending adoration fixation toward a healthy examination period.

David Beckham, by David Beckham — There’s no lack of books about, and by, the recently retired soccer and celebrity icon. His latest was released in the States on New Year’sjX41AgAAQBAJ Day, and prompted long queues at a book signing event in London shortly before  Christmas. It’s less memoir and more a picture-book collection of career highlights. The Daily Mail, not surprisingly, runs ample pictures suitable for gents’ fashion mag, complete with pop-up eBay clothing ads.

The Story of the World Cup 2014The Story of the World Cup: The Essential Companion to Brazil 2014, by Brian Glanville — The venerable British soccer journalist has updated his best-known title for this summer’s tournament in South America. For Americans still learning about the sport and for those deeply in the know, this is an excellent historical narrative of the planet’s biggest sports spectacle. I first read this when the World Cup came to the United States 20 years ago, and enjoyed meeting the author covering the 2002 World Cup.

The Champions’ Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train and Thrive, by Jim Afremow — The well-credentialed sports psychologist dives deep into the mental processes of top athletes and offers techniques for peak performance, including “getting in a zone,” adapting to team environments, and developing productive routines for every facet of competition. Among the examples cited in the book are the “Golden Reflections” of Olympic champions who’ve benefitted from Afremow’s suggestions.

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