A basketball manual with Christian overtones.
Trager’s debut nonfiction work is a fairly straightforward basketball coaching guide, aimed particularly at the high school and college level. Along the way, it periodically works hard to include explicit biblical references (“1 Corinthians 13,” we’re told, “reminds that everything can be had but without love, there is nothing”). The bulk of the book is far more concerned with layups than love, but the author does point out that “[c]onduct within the game has laws and ideals similar to having 10 commandments and caring for one another in a good society.” To illustrate this point, he refers to legendary coach John Wooden’s concept that “[r]ightly understood, success has an internal and an external quality as does happiness for all.” Universal happiness takes a back seat for most of the book, however; instead, it concerns itself with concepts such as “encouraging acceptable aggression.” Overall, the book has a great deal of practical and strategic information for students of the game, such as the value of loosening up the muscles before exertion, proper foot-placement on the court, and the common cause of torn ligaments during play. The players’-manual aspect of the text is clearest in its diagrams and step-by-step guidelines regarding all aspects of play, which get more technical as the book progresses (“High percentage shots are still the aim, and changes in speed and spatial orientation with minimal notice lead to aggressive play all over the floor”). Trager devotes considerable space to the duties of coaching both on and off the court, from combating “hedonism” to providing leadership. As a result, devout fans of the sport will be doubly pleased. However, the book’s periodic use of all-caps can be quite distracting: “A COACH HAS AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY WHILE BRINGING PLAYERS TO A PEAK DEVELOPMENT.”
A systematic outline of a particularly Christian brand of basketball.