40 Years with a Whistle

(4 customer reviews)

Dan John’s new book, 40 Years with a Whistle, represents 40 years of coaching tips woven into a touching memoir of a coach’s life.

Get FREE immediate access to the digital files when you purchase the physical edition from OTPbooks.com
This book is available as a print book, ebook and audiobook. The ebook edition is included with the print book. If you want all three versions, add both the print book and audiobook to your shopping cart. You'll receive the ebook for free, and the audiobook will be discounted at checkout.


Product Description

Dan John

40 Years with a Whistle
Life Lessons from the Field of Play

Foreword by Chris Long

“’Unputdownable’ is a cliche in book reviews, however, I literally read this book from start to finish in one sitting.  I have always been a huge fan of Dan’s writing and in “40 Years With a Whistle” I think he has surpassed himself.  Like Dan’s previous work, the book is immensely readable and crammed with deep wisdom, training ideas and programmes, truisms, anecdotes and jokes.  As always, the material presented transcends sport, and Dan offers a wealth of life lessons.  

“I defy any coach to read the book and not re-evaluate some aspects of their practice.  However, where the book really shines is in its emotional depth.  Dan’s eulogies to his most important mentors and his family cannot help but move the reader, and I really felt like I was on Dan’s journey with him.  I think that is where the book is exceptional – in demonstrating how the development of the coach is inseparable from the development of the man.  And Dan is an outstanding coach…
~ Dr. Dan Cleather, Programme Director, School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St. Mary’s University

Audiobook sample, narrated by Dan John


“Dan John is smart, strong and enthusiastic—and applies these admirable elements in the gym and on the field generously, fiercely. The objects he handles fly through the air with ease. That’s the good part of Dan’s engagement, a very good part. The best part is when Dan exchanges the discus for a pen and writes about his deeds…to teach, to instruct, to inspire, to entertain. That’s your cue, so sit back and read. Smile, learn and grow.” 
~ Dave Draper, Author of Brother Iron, Sister Steel

40 Years with a Whistle—40 years of coaching tips woven into a touching memoir of a coach’s life

Dan John has been performing as an athlete for six decades. His coaches—the mentors he describes in this book—steered him on the narrow path toward success in both sports and life. These coaches emphasized performance, yes…but they all also insisted on the balance of health, fitness and longevity.

From Dan’s Introduction to 40 Years with a Whistle:

I’ve learned a lot over those decades and would like to share these lessons with you. I didn’t want a book filled with “Xs” and “Os” or sets and reps. I wanted to share the lessons that apply to life and living.

I begin with what are clearly my 10 best lessons of coaching. Each of these works well for the teacher, student, parent and neighbor too. Following the advice of the 10th lesson, I explore the stories of the people who shaped my career and the gems of advice they shared with me. I finish with my vision of coaching—basically looking at training from the big picture and the toolkit to allow one to succeed.

The lessons are simple.
The application is difficult.
The rewards are worth everything.

Dan John

The lessons learned on the fields and in the gyms will lead to a successful life. Hop on board.

“As I read through this book, over and over I found myself mentally saying, ‘Yup’ and ‘Absolutely.’ If you’re a coach, an athletic administrator or the parent of a school-age athlete, you need to read this book. I know my coaching staff will be reading it.”
 ~ Chris Long, Athletic Director, Juan Diego Catholic High School

Dan’s 10 Commandments of Coaching

1. Constant assessment
2. Constant upgrading
3. Ignore perfect
4. This isn’t moral theology—there are no “good” or “bad” exercises or systems
5. Everything works!
6. Achieving a goal versus achieving success (not the same thing…sadly)
7. After the peak is the cliff
8. Self-discipline is a finite resource
9. Fundamentals trump everything else
10. Take a moment to appreciate those who went before you.

“In 40 Years with a Whistle, we get to enjoy the view as Dan looks back not just on his fantastic career and lessons he’s learned within it, but also tells us about the people who helped him get there. This is Dan’s masterstroke of looking back to say “You made me the athlete, the coach and the man I am today; this is how I pay my humble respects.”

“This book helps peel another layer back to understand why he is one of the most respected in our field. Someday, when all of us fitness professionals write books about our influences, it will be Dan’s name showing up in those books much as he revealed in this book.”
~ Jason Leenaarts, Owner of Revolution Fitness & Therapy, Host of the Revolutionary You podcast

To enjoy Dan’s life lessons from the field of play, order your copy today.

Dan John

Dan spends his work life blending workshops and lectures with full-time writing and teaching religious studies as an instructor for Columbia College of Missouri.

His other books on strength include Now What?, Before We Go, Can You Go?, Intervention, Never Let Go, Mass Made Simple and From Dad to Grad. He co-wrote Easy Strength with Pavel Tsatsouline and Fat Loss Happens on Monday with Josh Hillis, and is already at work on his next book on strength training and coaching.

Chapter List


Foreword 11
In the Beginning… 13

Part One: Commandments
Chapter 1—40 Years with a Whistle 17
Chapter 2—The 10 Commandments of Coaching 21
Chapter 3—Constant Assessment 23
Chapter 4—Constant Upgrading 29
Chapter 5—Ignore Perfect 33
Chapter 6—This Isn’t Moral Theology 37
Chapter 7—Everything Works! 41
Chapter 8—Achieving a Goal versus Achieving Success 45
Chapter 9—After the Peak is the Cliff 49
Chapter 10—Self-discipline is a Finite Resource 55
Chapter 11—Fundamentals Trump Everything Else 59

Part Two: Mentors, Appreciating Those Who Went Before
Chapter 12—Sister Maria Assumpta 63
Chapter 13—The Winning Hit and Dale Kursten 67
Chapter 14—The Invisible Man on First 71
Chapter 15—The Orange Library: Three Books 77
Chapter 16—Dave Freeman 81
Chapter 17—Bob Jacobs and High School Biology Class 87
Chapter 18—Ray DeJong and South San Francisco Football 91
Chapter 19—Dick Notmeyer and the PBBC 97
Chapter 20—Robert Lualhati and Skyline College 107
Chapter 21—Ralph Maughan: The Greatest Aggie 111
Chapter 22—A Multi-year “Now What?” 119
Chapter 23—Tim Carr 123
Chapter 24—Dave Turner 127
Chapter 25—The Scandinavians and Tiffini 135
Chapter 26—Lessons in Performance are Lessons in Life 147
Chapter 27—Adapting Economics Lectures to Life 155
Chapter 28—Champagne Wednesday 159
Chapter 29—Discus Camp John Powell and Bill Witt 161
Chapter 30—Retirement, Winding Down and Family Time 167
Chapter 31—Finished as a Coach 173
Chapter 32—Coaching One’s Own Children 183
Chapter 33—Tim Anderson and Chip Morton 193
Chapter 34—Intentional Community 197
Chapter 35—Connaught Rugby 203

Part Three: What I Think Now
Chapter 36—40 Years of Coaching and Reflection 205
Chapter 37—The Big Picture and the Five Lessons of 40 Years 209
Chapter 38—The Big Picture 213
Chapter 39—Coaching is Leadership 217
Chapter 40—Fractals: Seeing the Big Picture 227
Chapter 41—Deprivation, The Great Lesson 237
Chapter 42—The Five Pillars of Coaching 245
Chapter 43—Measurements 255
Chapter 44—Snapacity 261
Chapter 45—Point, Push, snaP 267
Chapter 46—Weaving Together 273
Chapter 47—Do It or Diet 285
Chapter 48—Connecting the Dots 299

Appendix One—Free Will 305
Appendix Two—Getting Started as a Fitness Writer 315
Appendix Three—The Humane Burpee 321
Appendix Four—The History behind “All of This” 325
Appendix Five—Challenges 333
Appendix 6—Don’t Fear the Obvious 351
Index of People Referenced 363
About the Author 365


Earning the Next Level

The Big Picture View of Coaching

After the Peak is the Cliff

Who Benefits?

Anyone who enjoys a memoir or reading about training and coaching

4 reviews for 40 Years with a Whistle

  1. Tim Clark (verified owner)

    Dan tells the stories of his mentors in way that he becomes the readers mentor. This book isn’t advice for the next 6 weeks it’s advice for a lifetime

  2. TomWeller

    Dan John never dissapoints. His information is spot on, his humor is much appreciated, his stories are both entertaining & useful. I just wish he had been teaching back in the 1950s. Yeah, I am a geezer who is still learning. Dan is a generous person who is respected by his fellow world class peers. This book is certainly a bargain. Thank you Dan for what you have & are giving to the world. But it!

  3. Nick (verified owner)

    I don’t know how Dan keeps doing it. Book after book the knowledge keeps being shared. Dan is an amazing coach. He has the ability to bring wisdom on the field and in the weight room. He also has a gift of taking his knowledge and experience and transferring into written word with great stories. Thank you again for another great read.

  4. Tim Anderson

    Just wow… Want to glean from Wisdom and learn how to lead to be a better coach, teacher or simply be the best you possible? This is what you’re looking for. Acres of diamonds in this book… So well done.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Product FAQ

6×9 paperback, 369 pages, indexed. ISBN-13: 978-1-931046-42-8.

The ebook edition includes the PDF, Kindle and epub files

The audiobook was narrated by Dan and is 6 hours and 32 minutes


The print book will ship from the warehouse in Kansas on the business day following your order.

The ebook and audiobook formats are delivered instantly via download from a digital dashboard here on OTPbooks.com as soon as your order is placed.

Other Buying Options