Summary of The Playmaker’s Advantage

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Rating

8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Recommendation

Sports consultants Leonard Zaichkowsky and Daniel Peterson assert that athletes’ mental and emotional training is as crucial as their technical training. They examine top athletes in hockey, basketball, football, soccer and other sports to determine what makes someone a “playmaker,” the team member who can see the field and make quick, effective decisions. The authors focus on developing team athletes between 10 and 20 years old and discuss how neuroscience explains what makes someone a truly elite athlete. They draw from detailed, complex research as they debunk multiple myths of child-adolescent coaching practices. While their text can sometimes be dense, their stories and athlete interviews make the academic elements relatable. Their main messages include: Don’t yell at your kids from the sidelines; if you want soccer stars, introduce your kids to many sports; and achievement in team sports correlates with achievement at school and in the workforce. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • How playmakers use quick decision making in the “search, decide, execute” cycle,
  • What strategies will help you cultivate playmakers’ “perceptual-cognitive advantage”; and
  • How achievement in team sports correlates with achievement at school and in the workforce. 
 

About the Authors

Sports psychologist and textbook author Leonard Zaichkowsky, PhD, a former Boston University professor, consults with national sports organizations worldwide. Consultant Daniel Peterson has a background in technology management. They co-founded 80 Percent Mental Consulting, which helps teams, organizations and coaches develop athletes’ cognitive abilities.

 

Summary

What Makes a “Playmaker”?

In 2003, the Atlantic Coast Conference named Mia Hamm the greatest female athlete and ranked Michael Jordan as the greatest male. In 2004, when Brazilian soccer legend Pelé listed the 125 best-ever players for FIFA’s 100th anniversary, he put Hamm on the list.


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