How much attention do you give to brain health, function, and development. If you read The Brain Always Wins: Improving your life through better brain management, by John Sullivan and Chris Parker you’ll realize it’s probably nowhere near enough!

I came to this book after hearing comments made by author Sullivan at a sport science conference. Those comments are the subject of this post. I wanted to see what more he had to say on mental toughness, in particular. Actually, from that perspective I was a little disappointed – but only a little. There isn’t a chapter in the book on that subject, but you can pull some nuggets out from a variety of places.

You can think of this book as a combination of an explanation of how the brain influences things and is itself influenced, and a manual for brain health. The first chapter basically explains the brain, its parts, and their functions. After that, the next six chapters each cover specific aspects related to brain health and function.

  • Physical Activity
  • Rest and Recovery
  • Optimum Nutrition
  • Cognitive Function
  • Emotional Management
  • Socialization & Communication

Each chapter is split into two parts. The first part is explanation, while the second part features exercises and activities. Basically, it works to first tell the reader what’s going on related to the focus subject, then shows you how to improve brain health and function in that regard.

From a reading perspective, each chapter pretty much stands alone. You can read them out of order without any real issue. Or just read the chapter that interests you at the moment. The chapters themselves are fairly lengthy, but broken up enough that you can read in smaller chunks if that’s your pattern.

I definitely think The Brain Always Wins is worth a read – both for yourself and with regards to your work as a coach. I will for sure look at ways to make use of the exercises and activities in my own work.

For more on topics from this book, check out these posts.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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