Any coach can teach technique, but the thing that separates good coaches from great coaches is the ability to develop mental toughness. In this video, Gable talks about the steps to developing mental toughness in a specific athlete, how he evaluated the athlete, and the end result.
Dan Gable: He had always had this problem of holding up. I tested him under tough conditions and I used the same conditions. When I figured out he could go this long, this hard, I mark it down and I asked him to do one thing. “Can you go one more second than what you just did?”
Hey may not have done it the first time, but maybe the same time and then after that, it might have waited another week. “Can you go one more second?” It’s like over time, he was building what he needed to build because over a two or three month period, he was up 30 seconds better than he ever has had.
It’s like, “Wow.” He don’t have any idea he could do that, but it’s baby steps like you said. One step at a time and it adds up. Then besides the baby steps, it’s consistently coming back and be able to go to that level.