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The Best

On sale

20th August 2020

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529304350

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“Insightful, thoughtful, and altogether wonderful.” DANIEL COYLE, New York Times bestselling author of THE TALENT CODE

“This book is a must read.” EDDIE JONES, Head Coach, England Rugby

“An engrossing guidebook for youth athletes, parents, coaches and perhaps even fantasy-league fans looking for a little insight.” The Washington Post


THE BEST reveals how the most incredible sportspeople in the world get to the top and stay there. It is a unique look at the path to sporting greatness; a story of origins, serendipity, practice, genetics and the psychology of excellence, as well as of sports science and cutting edge technology.

Packed with gripping personal stories and exclusive interviews with top athletes including Siya Kolisi, Marcus Rashford, Pete Sampras, Steph Curry, Jamie Carragher, Ian Poulter, Helen Glover, Ada Hegerberg, Elena Delle Donne, Joey Votto and Mike Hussey, it explains how the best athletes develop the extraordinary skills that allow them to perform remarkable feats under extreme pressure.

Get inside the minds of champions and understand first-hand what makes them perform during high-octane competition, what they think about in the heat of the moment and what drives them to do what they do.

By combining examples from numerous original interviews with top athletes and leading sports science research, THE BEST deconstructs superhuman performance and answers the question on every sports fan’s mind: “How did they do that?”

“Fascinating and insightful… The Best isn’t a one size fits all, it’s a highly thought out, well-researched and accessible book that gives recommendations based on context and sport.” JOANNE O’RIORDAN, The Irish Times

“…this book will redefine your approach to athlete development…” DAVID WHITESIDE, Director of Performance Science, New York Yankees

“…a fascinating and informative read for anyone interested in high-performance sport…” KEVIN THELWELL, Director of Sport, New York Red Bulls

A. Mark Williams is an academic and one of the world’s leading authorities on expertise and its acquisition in sport. He has published 18 books and written over 500 scientific articles on how people become skilled and achieve success in sport and across other professional domains. He has worked across the globe as a consultant with numerous Olympic and professional sports and has vast experience as a scientist, author and educator, and as an applied sports scientist.

Tim Wigmore is the author of Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution, the winner of the Wisden Book of the Year award for 2020. He is a sports writer for The Daily Telegraph, and has also written regularly for The New York Times, The Economist, the New Statesman and ESPNCricinfo. He is a former winner of the Young Cricket Journalist of the Year award and has been shortlisted for the Cricket Writer of the Year award.


Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code
Insightful, thoughtful, and altogether wonderful: The authors have given us a guided tour of athletic greatness, brimming with revelatory science and deep understanding.
James Bunce, High Performance Director, US Soccer Federation
The Best takes you on an epic journey of discovery and learning while also highlighting some of the nuances and pitfalls around developing elite athletes.
Eddie Jones, Head Coach, England Rugby
For any coach that wants to learn and then coach better, this book is a must read. Developing elite athletes is an intricate process and this book will help you achieve the right balance of coaching.
Paul Hayward, Chief Sports Writer, Daily Telegraph
Answers the big questions about how stars are made, in lucid, jargon-free prose. Takes our understanding of elite sport to a new level and deepens the enjoyment of watching. A major addition to sporting literature.
Ed Smith, England cricket selector, author of What Sport Tells Us About Life
The Best takes a classic question posed by sport - what made them so good? - and interrogates it with genuine intellectual sparkle.
Sian Beilock, author of Choke
A great read for anyone interested in excellence using a compelling mix of narrative interviews with the best athletes interwoven with cutting edge science.
Jason Cowley, editor, New Statesman
This crisply written and enthralling book is a study of high achievement in sports. But it is much more than that because of the richness of the human interest stories it tells and of how it uses data to explain its conclusions. It achieves that rare feat: making you look at the world in a new way.
Troy Taylor, High Performance Director, US Ski and Snowboard
The Best is an enthralling read that combines the latest research along with interesting anecdotes that bring to life how the world's best athletes are made. Whether a casual reader or professional working in athlete development The Best is a great read.
Stuart Miller, Senior Executive Director, International Tennis Federation
The authors delve deep into the minds of great athletes, making tangible the intangible, bringing reason to the unexplained, and order to the chaos surrounding the creation of elite sportsmen and women.
David Colclough, Head of Coaching/Sports Science at The Professional Golfers’ Association (The PGA)
Taking the complexity of cutting edge research and mixing it with the insights from expert performers in elite sport, The Best stands out in offering a glimpse of the characteristics of greatness and highlighting the many factors that lead individuals to sporting triumph.
Xavi Schelling, Director of Sports Science and Performance, San Antonio Spurs
The Best provides a perfect balance between evidence-based and anecdotal writing. It is easy to read, yet insightful and thought-provoking. It provides a good framework to understand the multifactorial and random aspects involved in human talent. The Best is a great resource for anyone interested in skill learning, talent identification and expert performance in sport.
Les Reed, Technical Director, The Football Association
The authors have created a piece of work that encapsulates everything we should know about identifying and developing champions. This book is a must for any coach, Sporting Director, teacher or mentor; in fact, anyone involved in finding talent and creating opportunity for potential to become reality. In this one book, the authors cover the full spectrum of requirements for elite athletes to become the best they can be and provide the tools for others to help them.
Isaac Guerrero, Head of Coaching at FC Barcelona
A must read for any coach who wants to optimize and facilitate athlete development. The book highlights how talent develops by creating realistic practice situations and empowering athletes. The book, amongst other things, has the athlete and sport at its core, while bestowing on the coach a crucial role as the facilitator of sporting greatness.
Christopher Carling, Head of Performance, French Football Federation
The Best is simply an essential read. It takes us on a rollercoaster tour of the journeys of some of the world's most celebrated athletes and explains how they achieved sporting greatness.
Peter Vint, Chief of Sport, USA Volleyball
In The Best, the authors' vast scientific expertise and real-world experience from the trenches of elite sport results in a fascinating, informative, and immediately relevant read. I devoured it in a weekend and immediately shared it with my National Team coaches and performance staff.
Juninho Paulista, General Manager, Brazil National Football Team
A comprehensive book, which thoroughly covers, using science and interviews with successful athletes, the key factors that impact on a prosperous career in sport. For those involved in this domain, this is a very important read that helps improve understanding of the nuances that exist along the pathway to sporting excellence.
Adam Grainger, BASES Sport and Performance Division Chair
The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made combines relevant anecdotal support and sound academic research to better describe the rocky journey to sporting success that many of our athletes take. This book is a good reminder for sports scientists that high performance sport in its purest sense is multi-faceted and that athletes require incredible resilience to succeed in ever-increasing competitive and complex environments.
Joanne O’Riordan, The Irish Times
Fascinating and insightful... The Best isn't a one size fits all, it's a highly thought out, well-researched and accessible book that gives recommendations based on context and sport.
The Washington Post
An engrossing guidebook for youth athletes, parents, coaches and perhaps even fantasy-league fans looking for a little insight.
Gideon Haigh, the Australian