"Shooting in the Dark" is a philosophical and motivational account of Jim Thompson's two year tenure coaching a high school girls basketball team in Northern California. The book also draws content from topics in leadership theory and a course co-taught by the author at the Stanford Business School called 'Learning to Lead'.The author employs effective story telling and narrative to bring to life such practical coaching issues as establishing credibility, managing the outcomes from goalsetting, sharing power with players, celebrating practice, entwining effort and enjoyment, and much more. Throughout the book interludes keep the reader up to date with the progress of the Fremont Women Warriors. Journal Entries spotlight the author's inner thoughts and feelings as he struggles with the challenges of coaching. Each chapter ends with the key points summarized as Take-Aways.
For every successful coach or manager who chooses to relate some prized winning strategies to the business world (e.g., Rick Pitino in Success Is a Choice, Broadway, 1997), there is often the flip side, the prominent executive or motivational expert willing to apply his or her methods to the athletic arena. In this case, it is Thompson, an instructor at the Stanford School of Business and author of Positive Coaching (Warde, 1995), who recounts his experiences coaching a high school girls' basketball team over a two-year span. His advice to coaches at all levels is to form partnerships with players, an idea that places a premium on goal-setting and power-sharing. Toward this end, he concludes each chapter with "take-aways," i.e., recommended steps to facilitate the partnership process. Coaches seeking ways to build a rapport with today's athletes should find this chronicle instructive. Recommended for public libraries.--William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL