Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.

January 30, 2023

  • "Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy."
  • "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
  • "You can't out-train a bad diet."
  • "I'm a great believer in the fact that when you're good at something, you'll find a way to be good at something else."
  • "The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win."
  • "I never lost to a person, I beat the wrestler." Gable always focused on the process of improving himself rather than worrying about his opponents. His philosophy that he should work on his own weaknesses, rather than focusing on the other competitors' strengths.


If you've heard any of these quotes before, then you probably know who Dan Gable is.

If you do, or don't, read on. Because we're going to talk about a legendary wrestler and coach from the perspective of bettering yourself as an athlete and a coach. Inevitably, everyone greys and grows old. It then becomes our responsibility to pass our hard learned techniques and lessons to the next generation.

Dan Gable is widely considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers and coaches of all time. He competed at the 1972 Olympics, where he won a gold medal without giving up a single point. He was also an NCAA champion and a two-time NCAA runner-up for Iowa State University. After his competitive career, Gable went on to coach the University of Iowa's wrestling team for 21 years, where he led the team to 15 NCAA championships and 21 Big Ten championships.

Dan Gable's coaching and training methods have been highly influential in the wrestling community. He believed that wrestling was a sport that requires a combination of strength, power, endurance, and technique. He implemented a rigorous training regimen that emphasized the importance of conditioning, nutrition, and mental preparation. He also placed a strong emphasis on the importance of discipline and work ethic, which he believed were essential for success.

Gable's success as a wrestler was built on his relentless work ethic and his ability to push himself to the limit. He would often train for hours on end, drilling different moves and perfecting his technique. He was also known for his incredible endurance, which allowed him to outlast his opponents on the mat.

Gable's achievements as a wrestler set the stage for his success as a coach. He was able to draw on his own experiences as a wrestler to help his athletes achieve success on the mat. He understood what it took to be a champion, and he was able to transfer that knowledge to his wrestlers.

As a coach, Gable led the Iowa Hawkeyes to 15 NCAA team championships, 21 Big Ten titles and produced 152 All-Americans, 45 national champions and 12 Olympians. He also coached the USA Olympic team to the gold medal in 1984. His achievements as a coach and a wrestler are a testament to his ability to develop and train elite athletes.

Gable is not only a legend as a wrestler but also as a coach. His achievements as a wrestler and his coaching methodology have proven to be successful in the sport of wrestling. Gable's relentless work ethic and his ability to push himself to the limit, as well as his focus on strength and conditioning, technique, strategy, nutrition, and recovery, are some of the reasons why he was able to achieve so much success as a wrestler and coach. His story serves as an inspiration


One of Gable's most notable training methods was his use of interval training, which he believed was essential for building endurance and improving cardiovascular fitness. He would have his wrestlers perform a series of intense exercises, such as sprints or hill sprints, followed by a period of rest. This type of training was designed to push his wrestlers to their limits and help them to perform at their best during matches.

Gable also believed that the mental aspect of wrestling is just as important as the physical aspect. He was known for his motivational speeches and his ability to instil a sense of confidence and determination in his wrestlers. He would often remind his wrestlers that "once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy." This mentality helped his wrestlers to overcome adversity and perform at their best when it mattered most.

Dan Gable's training methods and approach to the sport of wrestling have had a lasting impact on the wrestling community. His emphasis on strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mental preparation have been adopted by many coaches and wrestlers. He is an inspiration for anyone who wants to achieve greatness.

In addition to his focus on strength and conditioning, Gable placed a strong emphasis on technique and strategy. He believed that in order to be successful, wrestlers needed to master a variety of different moves and be able to adapt to different situations. He spent countless hours working with his wrestlers on their technique, drilling different moves and combinations to help them become more proficient on the mat.

Gable's training methods were not only effective, but also rigorous and demanding. His wrestlers were required to train for long hours, often pushing themselves to the brink of exhaustion. Gable believed that this type of training was necessary in order for his wrestlers to be able to perform at their best when it mattered most. He would often say: "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

In addition to his rigorous training methods, Gable placed a strong emphasis on nutrition and recovery. He believed that proper nutrition was essential for optimal performance and recovery. "You can't out-train a bad diet." Like any good coach, periodisation was key. Gable made sure his wrestlers got enough rest and recovery time in order to prevent injury and allow their bodies to heal.

Gable's training methods and approach to the sport of wrestling have been widely recognized as some of the best in the world. His emphasis on strength and conditioning, technique, strategy, nutrition, and recovery have helped countless wrestlers to achieve success on the mat. He is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport and his legacy continues to inspire athletes and coaches around the world.

Gable's approach to training and coaching is an excellent example of how skill development, interval training and strength and conditioning are the secret sauce for skill-based athletes


  • Gable, D. (2007). A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable. Human Kinetics.
  • Gable, D. (1999). Coaching Wrestling Successfully. Human Kinetics.
  • Harrison, A. J., & Groom, W. (2015). The Role of Strength and Conditioning in Wrestling. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 37(4), 74-83.
  • Horsch, S., & Schilling, B. (2013). The impact of strength and conditioning on wrestling performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(6), 1616-1624.

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