Learning and understanding the finer points of baseball is important for learning how to play. The internet has a wealth of information when it comes to learning baseball, but there are a lot of details that can get left out. Youth athletes and coaches that are serious about taking their game to the next level should pick up a couple of the best baseball books for learning how to play or coach the sport.
While this list is geared towards youth athletes that play baseball, coaches, veteran fans, players of other sports, and softball players can learn a thing or two from all these books as well. Some of them may even be written by your favorite athlete! If you are looking to learn a little bit more about the game of baseball, its history, and maybe some techniques for play, keep reading as we dive into some of the most useful books about learning baseball.
Ted Williams was the last hitter in baseball to have a .400 season and is considered by many to be the greatest hitter that ever lived. In his classic book, The Science of Hitting, he provides a masterclass on how to become a good contact hitter of the ball. A must-read for any aspiring player; this book will transform the way that you walk up to the plate and was recently updated to include new illustrations and diagrams that reinforce Ted Williams’ tactics and techniques. The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams could be considered a baseball hitting bible and a must-read for any player that wants to improve their hitting technique.
The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance is a book that discusses what anyone involved in baseball can do to master the inner workings of the game. The aim of the game is to win, and this does not happen with just athleticism alone – it’s a mental game as well! Throughout the book, you will be presented with helpful strategies for developing the mental abilities that are needed to perform at peak levels throughout your baseball career. Every aspect of playing baseball requires the right mental attitude and frame of mind to perform and this book can help get you there.
Zack Hample provides a comprehensive guide to understanding baseball for players and fans of all ages in his book: Watching Baseball Smarter. Professional statisticians and first-timers alike will get something out of this book and gain a new way of seeing the game. This book details tons of little intricacies of the game in a unique and funny way. If you have ever wondered why fans stretch in the seventh inning or how to read a box score, this is the book for you. After reading it, you can amaze your friends and family at parties with fun baseball facts and trivia.
Learning the mental side of baseball is just as important as having raw physical talent. If you want to play to your full potential, you must read Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time. The book was written by Tom Hanson and Ken Ravizza and details exactly what you need to know and look out for during a game. Being at peak mental performance is important if you want to win and this book can help you do just that.
There was probably no modern player with more longevity in the game than Nolan Ryan and he dominated on the mound. Get his tips and tricks with this book and learn to pitch with power, precision, and guile in Nolan Ryan’s Pitcher’s Bible by Tom House. You may read the title of this book and think you do not need to read it if you are not a pitcher, on the contrary, this book is important for all players to read because it helps them understand the mind of the pitcher. Even if you are not a pitcher, this book can help you think like one, giving you an advantage at the plate.
This book contains many practical and proven strategies from the author that help to cultivate athletic talent and success. In The Hard 90 Mindset, Eric Walczykowski did not just focus on creating techniques and tactics to win on the field, he also details how those same techniques can be translated to the game of life. Walczykowski, a high school baseball coach, wrote this book with the intention of helping youth athletes learn how to perform at an elite level through illustrated strategies. This is a must-read for youth athletes of all sports.
Troy Silva goes over in great detail what good swing mechanics look like in his book, 9 Innings of Hitting. This is an excellent read for players that would like to detect and fix problems in their swing. You will not find myths and fake advice here, just things any hitter can use to develop a practice plan and improve their swing. Silva did not stop just improving physical swing mechanics, he also touches base on the mental approach that players should take as well. If you are ready to develop an elite caliber swing, this is the book for you.
Mike Matheny, former St. Louis Cardinals and current Kansas City Royals manager, offers up his own “old-school” advice that might be controversial at times in his book, The Matheny Manifesto. In this book, Matheny discusses what parents, athletes and coaches get incorrect and how to correct these common mistakes and misconceptions. This is a great read for youth athletes as well as their parents and coaches because everyone can learn something from it.
Donnelly outlines methods and techniques that anyone can use to increase their ability to be positive and overcome adversity with ease. This book was written on the foundation that a positive mental attitude will often lead to a positive outcome. With this type of mental thinking, athletes will be far more successful both in competition and in life. Relentless Optimism, by Darrin Donnelly, is recommended for players of all ages, all backgrounds, and all sports. It is even a great choice for anyone that struggles with discouraging thoughts or pessimistic viewpoints.
Pure Baseball, by Keith Hernandez, provides an unparalleled insight into the game. Two-time World Series champion, Keither Hernandez, who is also a former MVP, 5x All-Star, 11x Gold Glover, and has a batting title to his name, goes over extensively how he views all of the technical aspects of playing the game. From base-stealing to signals, this book provides insightful analysis from one of baseball’s greats. If you want to understand the game and game-time decisions better, this is the book for you. Baseball players and fans can take something away from this read.
Tim McCarver was one of baseball’s all-time great TV analysts and he brings his extensive knowledge and relatable style to help fans better understand the game in his book, Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans. In this book, readers will see the game from an entirely new viewpoint, the mind of a baseball analyst.
This book is a must-have for any newcomer to baseball that wants to learn all they can about the game. A Youngster’s Guidebook of How to Play Baseball, by Joel Pace, is a practical handbook that teaches youth athletes of every skill level how to hit, pitch, field, and throw. Contained in this book are fun and engaging drills and exercises to teach the game and other activities to help them grasp the game’s history and culture. This is a good read for players, coaches, and parents.
27 coaches from all walks of baseball life cover all facets of baseball coaching. Combined, these coaches have won 50 national titles and boast an impressive 25,000 game wins. The wide array of coaches that contributed to this book is not limited to just Major League Baseball but many other levels of play and divisions as well. The varied and vast amount of information is a must-have for coaches wanting to learn from the best in the game. Players can take something away from this book as well because these coaches go in-depth into their coaching styles, strategies, and drills. If you are looking to up your baseball game and want to learn from the best of the best, this is the book to pick up.
The MVP Machine, by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik, takes a somewhat contrarian look at what success in baseball is and how coaches, players, and front offices can achieve that in a sport that has become too data-driven. This book takes a deep dive into prospecting and scouting while striving to find and develop the best athletes. If you have read or seen the movie Moneyball about the Oakland Athletics, this should be your next read.
By increasing the intelligence of hitters, both mentally and physically, Michael McCree argues they will in turn become better hitters. Through reading Mind of a Superior Hitter, players can gain knowledge of what it takes to be a baseball great. This book was designed for players of all ages and it can help you overcome mental slumps, gain better focus, increase your knowledge of situational hitting, and build confidence while at-bat. Mind of a Superior Hitter includes input from former player Steve Springer, hitting coach C.J. Stewart, former player and hitting coach Laura Berg, and more. If you want to learn the science behind being an exceptional hitter, pick this one up today.