See? I did warn you in my last review that I’d finally gotten my hands on a copy of Coach Summitt’s first book, didn’t I? Okay then.
Reach for the Summit is pretty much equal parts business-minded motivational pep talkery, behind-the-scenes glimpses of Summitt’s coaching style, the extensive work and research that goes into each Lady Vol basketball season, and autobiographical side trips along the way. I think I liked the autobiographical tangents the most. Summitt is extraordinarily interesting, not just as a coach but as a person (although I suppose one could argue that one feeds into the other feeds into the other). I think, however, that this might be the closest thing we will ever get from her to an actual autobiography. She doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would willingly participate in just talking about herself.
However, for the purposes of this book, she was willing to allow readers in to see those private sides of herself as a means of understanding the “Definite Dozen System” that she uses with her players and staff and that she and co-writer Sally Jenkins outline as a course of action for those looking to be motivated and inspired in whatever they are doing in life.
I’m not really a touchy-feely, motivational speaker, “Just Hang In There” poster kind of girl. Luckily, neither is Summitt. She is fierce. But with the most successful record of any NCAA coach? She also obviously knows what she’s doing and what she’s talking about. And what she’s defining through this book isn’t some miracle elixir program. She outlines hard work, focus, practice, preparation, and a willingness to change and to also admit when you’re wrong.
But never to readily admit defeat. I don’t really think that’s a word that gets much use in her vocabulary.
I’m not going to tell you what the “Definite Dozen System” includes, because I actually think that this book is worth the read. I even found it to be (gasp!) motivational. And, seriously, denizens, I hate motivational books.
Final Verdict: Keeper. Right next to my copy of Raise the Roof. Woots.