Sunday, 16 February 2014

Book Review: The Business of Being an Athlete

The Business of Being an Athlete
Kerri Pottharst
Kez Publishing

When I started supporting high performance student athletes eight years ago, I wished I could find a book or manual that detailed everything that I would have to support them with, and how to go about that.  I'd competed at a relatively high level myself, but lacked the 'world-class' perspective on things.  Luckily as things panned out, I worked with a very mature bunch of athletes, and I could learn on the job.  None of my first cohort of students had quite yet reached the world stage, and their problems (coursework deadlines, not enough hours in the week, money issues) were ones that I could easily relate to; issues such as retirement from sport, Olympic selection (or non-selection as the case might be) and eating disorders didn't arise until later.

The Australians have always led the way in lifestyle and career support for athletes, and it's no coincidence that I happened on this book in a Melbourne bookshop.  It is written by two times Australian Olympic beach volleyball medalist Kerri Pottharst who combines snippets from her own inspiring career with practical advice for high performance athletes of all levels.

Divided into three sections - passion, preparation and belief - the book covers such diverse topics as goal setting, nutrition, dealing with fans and handling competitive nerves.  Within the preparation section are chapters which you won't find in any nutrition or psychology book for athletes.  The author gets to the real nitty-gritty of high performance lifestyle, and deals with communication skills, managing money, keeping records and time management.  There is advice on setting up a website and how to use social media platforms in a professional way.  Good table manners (for all those awards dinners) are even covered.

The Business of Being an Athlete may well be the manual that I sought all those years ago.  It is the ultimate advice book for high performance athletes and a useful guide for support personnel and coaches working with international athletes.  Written in an easy-to-read, non-technical style, it is easy to pick up, pick a page, and be informed and inspired.  It is highly recommended for those working in the area.

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