The Best Things I Read, Watched, and Listened to in 2018

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

2018 was a fun and busy year here at the Swimming Wizard blog.  I posted a workout almost every day, started a weekly e-mail “the wake-up swim” that now has over 500 subscribers, and published my first e-book, “The Quotable Swimming Coach.”  I am thankful for those who have followed along, and appreciate the positive feedback I have received.

Here are my favorites from my year of reading, watching, listening, and learning.  My aim is to become a better coach and human being, and it’s fun to look back on what I have learned to share it with you.  A few of the links below are affiliate links.  This means that if you wish to support my efforts to bring you new ideas, sets, and workouts every day, buying the books that I am recommending will kick a small bit of change my way without any extra cost to you.

If you like this list you may also be interested in my lists from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, and 2012

Enough bluster — onward to the list!!!


conscious coachingConscious Coaching: The Art of Building Buy-In by Brett Bartholomew

Coach Bartholomew is a strength and conditioning coach, but I loved reading his thoughts on how to “move” people.  We can have all the knowledge about technique and training in the world, but we must understand the people we are coaching and how to individually reach them.  This book dramatically improved my understanding of the psychology of coaching, particularly as it relates to the dramatic differences between individuals.  This book has without a doubt made me a better coach. You can also follow Coach Bartholomew’s insights on twitter and listen to his “Art of Coaching” podcast.

The-Champion-s-MindThe Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow

Never have I read a book that was so densely packed with usable tips and inspiring stories as The Champion’s Mind. If you want to help your swimmers be stronger mentally and help them get the most out of themselves, read this book.  I read it to our top group this fall, and the discussions that it inspired were awesome.  This book is nothing short of brilliant and I plan to revisit some of its key concepts with our group this spring.

endureEndure; Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

What if we can all go farther, go faster, and push harder that we thought possible? Hutchinson’s book is an extraordinary work exploring these questions and telling stories from the frontiers of human experience.  The title connotes distance, but I found Hutchinson’s work thought-provoking even for sprint training in swimming.  At the minimum, this book will help redefine in your mind the parameters of what is possible. I also enjoyed this podcast with the author.


You Have No Competition and Great Things Take Time by Nick Maggiull, Of Dollars and Data Blog

Podcasts and Videos:

I enjoyed the Rich Roll Podcast (also mentioned in previous years), particularly the interesting conversation with Australian legend Michael Klim and the epic, inspiring story of shark-attack survivor Paul de Gelder.


The documentary Free Solo about Alex Honnold’s death-defying  3,000′ vertical climb up El Capitan has been wowing audiences this fall.  Honnold’s TED talk about his feat was an interesting peek into his psyche and preparation for the climb:






To finish, I would like to share an excerpt from the book, “Rocket Men,” the story of the astronauts on Apollo 8, the first manned craft to orbit the moon and return to Earth.  NASA accomplished this incredible feat 50 years ago this month.  Author Robert Kurson’s account of the astronauts’ view of “Earth-rise” is very moving, particularly given the challenges we face and the events of 2018.


Here’s to a happy 2019, everyone!


3 thoughts on “The Best Things I Read, Watched, and Listened to in 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s