When has an audiobook inspired you to go harder when you're working out? That is exactly what happened to me while listening to this book. I like to lWhen has an audiobook inspired you to go harder when you're working out? That is exactly what happened to me while listening to this book. I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts while running and riding but I have never felt the determination to go harder while listening to one. Until Tyler Hamilton.
I loved this book for three things that it does.
First, Hamilton's partial biography (it really only details parts of his life, although most ages are at least mentioned) is a great tale of determination, of channeling energy, fear, and a need for attention. His story has all the hallmarks of good biography and the book delivered as a biography. His recounting of his time in the pro peloton and his time training is so insightful, helping the reader understand what it means, in cycling parlance, to suffer. Hamilton's internal drive and ability to exist on that edge of human endurance make for great reading and those accounts are what inspired me to dig deeper while running and riding.
Second, this book is a thorough account of doping in professional cycling and, specifically, how it was done by Lance Armstrong and other contemporaries. It is fascinating to learn the amount of technical expertise was put to use in the pursuit of winning. Further, Hamilton explains to the reader how and, more importantly, why he chose to dope. He helps us understand (but does not ask us to forgive) why cyclists entered the doping arms race in droves. He helps us see how that strategy was brought to perhaps its most powerful state by Lance Armstrong.
The last aspect of this book was, for me, the most powerful. In the process of telling us all about doping, Hamilton confesses his own transgressions. It is this confessional aspect that impressed me most. Hamilton does not ask us to forgive him, only to understand. He does not ask for his penalties to be reduced for his forthrightness. He tells us what happened because it is important to him that his mea culpa is heard. If his confession was only told to the bathroom mirror, it would be meaningless. By telling anyone who listens, he gives us all the power to judge him and he is willing to take his lumps for his wrongdoing. Take a look at his Twitter feed (@Ty_Hamilton) and you'll see that he welcomes both praise and abuse for his past.
This book definitely seems to be intended to be more of an indictment of coaches, owners, and general managers and their decision-making. In that sense, it is closer to Moneyball because it looks at how statistics can be used to more accurately demonstrate the value of a player in terms of wins and losses and the view is far from that of the powers that be. Unlike Moneyball, the book does not have any resolution or cases of shifts in thinking, just figures, tables, and explanations about why decision makers get the decisions they make wrong.
The book is wider in its scope because it covers more than baseball but even though it covers more sports, the focus is still very narrow: wins produced. Scorecasting worked to dispel sports myths with evidence and those myths were not necessarily limited to a particular sport. Stumbling on Wins uses examples from the big three professional sports in the US to tell the same tale, that those in charge don't know how to evaluate talent in terms of the skills that matter in order to help their franchises win more.
There were two points I took away from this book, that people don't truly know how to measure value and that Phil Jackson is the only coach in American pro sports that measurably makes his players better. I guess I was hoping for a bit more to like this book more....more
I think I read this book too late. Published in 2002, it was one of the first to focus on coaching women and girls specifically. At this point in my cI think I read this book too late. Published in 2002, it was one of the first to focus on coaching women and girls specifically. At this point in my career, many of the ideas that DiCicco and Hacker present are much more commonplace than they were when the book was published. I am fortunate to have learned many of these lessons in other places and I attribute those lessons to DiCicco, Hacker, and others like them.
Even if this book was too late for me, it can make a difference for many new coaches of youth sports, especially girls. I think that many of the ideas and lessons apply to coaching youth of both genders as well as to coaching women. The book can be a valuable resource to coaches who are looking to create good coaching habits. Many of the chapters have important ideas about building relationships with athletes, which is of great importance to a coach's success in ultimately helping the athlete improve.
There is one potential area of distraction in the book, the sections that follow each chapter. Those sections are team building exercises (by Hacker) and soccer-specific coaching concepts (by DiCicco). If the reader is not a soccer coach and/or interested in the team building exercises, the sections are easy to skip over. Skipping over those sections will not detract from the overall utility of the book.
On a side note, I was fortunate to attend a lecture by Dr. Hacker in the winter of 1996, only months after the Olympic Games in Atlanta that figure prominently in chapters. It is cool to see some of the ideas she expressed in that lecture become part of this book....more
There are some interesting ideas in this book that I will mull over and look for as I continue coaching but overall I found the book to be overly simpThere are some interesting ideas in this book that I will mull over and look for as I continue coaching but overall I found the book to be overly simplistic and generalized. It appears to be more helpful for those that are wanting to learn more about managing athletes in performance but not very helpful for those that are teaching athletes new skills.
Perhaps a simplistic approach is precisely what the author desired but it left me wanting, not for fixes or how-tos but for more information; more meat on the bones of his "principles".
The author seems to draw his ideas from 2-3 mentors which makes the book seem to be a retelling of their ideas, which made me think I should read their books instead of this one. Also, I found the author's use of examples to be superficial. I felt that some of them almost begged for an ending of, "then everyone lived happily ever after."
I wonder if reading that source material would indicate a Buddhist influence because this book seems to echo many Buddhist tenets while never making that connection explicit. This lack of connection caused me to think less of the author's approach because it would allow readers to explore far more content relevant to his ideas rather than being limited to just the 2-3 aforementioned authors/thinkers....more
I could not make any claims to understanding everything that happens during an MLB game. After reading this book, I can now say that I understand a liI could not make any claims to understanding everything that happens during an MLB game. After reading this book, I can now say that I understand a little more but not much.
I spent less time reading this book than Lance spends in the saddle on a given day but that hardly makes this a bad book, just a fast read. As with ItI spent less time reading this book than Lance spends in the saddle on a given day but that hardly makes this a bad book, just a fast read. As with It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, I read this book almost all in one night, then woke up the next morning and finished it off. As with the previous book, it is incredibly readable and pages fly by.
Reading this book in 2011 forces a different perspective and more thought than if one had read it in 2004. Lance is under investigation again, but this time in the U.S. It seems that the outcome will be similar to that of the French investigation recounted in the book. It made me see the current inquest in a different light because I was clearly reminded of how the French one unfolded.
Also, it is interesting to read Lance's thoughts on Frankie Andreu, Tyler Hamilton, and, of course, Floyd Landis. All three of these riders have come forward to say that Lance doped. It is fascinating to try and reconcile their behavior (and Lance's) with how they are portrayed in the book. Landis, in my opinion, makes for the most interesting character study. One can see the possibility of his demise when looking back on this account now.
I found this book to be inspiring and insightful; inspiring to read about the struggles and the triumphs and insightful to read about Lance's efforts to make his life after cancer make sense while finding a sustainable balance. He is far from perfect, but he certainly seems far better suited to this than anyone else on the planet.
A last thought: what if he did dope? Would it sully his survivorship? Clearly it would taint the cycling victories, but would it discount everything else that he did that changed professional cycling? No one else trained like he did, scouted like he did, sought miniscule ways to improve the way that he did until he had success doing those things. I would be disappointed if it turns out that he cheated when it came to drugs but I would still believe in his status as an icon in sports and life....more