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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coaching Wrestling Successfully

Coaching Wrestling Successfully
by Dan Gable

I read most of this on the way out to PDR 30, so my memory of it is, frankly, fuzzy at best. Which is my way of saying that this will probably be a short review.

First of all, if you don't know who Dan Gable is, go learn. I know next to nothing about wrestling, and I know who he is. He's one of the most successful and amazing wrestlers out there. Gable has a chapter in the Fighter's Mind as well, which gives some good insight into how he thinks.

This book, however, is more about how he coaches. And he coaches, very, very, successfully. His wrestling program continues to turn out champions over and over again, which means it is probably worth looking at.

While this book is clearly aimed at the high school or collegiate wrestling coach, there's a great deal of advice that is applicable to coaching any combat athlete (or any athlete, period). Gable definitely has a no-nonsense, push your athletes to their limits, kind of style, but it clearly works, and it is equally clearly tempered by a fine sense of reason and fairness. One gets the impression that he will work you hard, but won't break you, which is a fine distinction. I recall there being some good synergy with some of Tommy Kono's concepts, but I honestly don't remember them right now.

If you are not a high school or collegiate wrestling coach, there are sections of this that will be less useful to you; Gable talks about dealing with administration (and administrators), setting up facilities, and school-year defined cycles that just don't apply outside of that particular world. However, the rest of the advice is solid enough that this book is at least worth reading, even you aren't a wrestling coach.

As usual, a big back log of thoughts. Everyone's talking about basics and blades lately...

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