Jake Flannigan

Advice on how to win an Iowa wrestling state title from Dan Gable and Mark Ironside


Advice on how to win an Iowa wrestling state title from Dan Gable and Mark Ironside

So you want to be the best wrestler in Iowa? Well, lucky for you Dan Gable and Mark Ironside, a pair of Iowa wrestling hall-of-famers, have offered up their coaching strategy to CSNChicago.com that can hopefully help the 672 wrestlers competing in the state tournament in Des Moines. Each of these guys have won multiple state titles and went on to great success at the collegiate level and beyond.

So what’s the best strategy to have in the hours prior to the opening match?

Gable: Whatever you do normally for your best performances stick with that. If you try to change something, except for maybe just being aware of a couple little things, then you’re going to get off course. You don’t want to get off course.

Ironside: If I was a coach the main thing I would be concentrating on is keeping my athletes relaxed. Relax, relax, relax. You’ve got to stay calm. It’s too easy to get too worked up and caught up in the emotion of it all. Then you get on the mat and you’ve already drained yourself. You’ve already used all of your energy before the match even started. Or you wrestle so hard that first period and all of a sudden you’ve got nothing left. You’ve got to stay comfortable and collected and you don’t get into it until it’s your time to get into it. That’s obviously a lot easier said than done.

So stay the course and keep calm. Got it. What about the crowd and competing in the big Wells Fargo Arena?

Gable: You’re already off course when you walk into that arena. When you’re used to a high school gym with maybe 500-1000 people watching and now you’re going into a crowd of 15,000. You have all of the banners and you have all of the grand marshalls and the mats.

Ironside: As soon as you walk in the building, especially the night of the semifinals and finals, it’s just a feeling that kind of overcomes you. You’ll be able to feel exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a very unique feeling and situation. It’s something these kids will remember their whole lives.

This is going to be quite the atmosphere. Better stay focused. My hands are shaking and I’m pretty sure my heart is going to jump out of my chest. Have any more advice?

Gable: It’s like the nerves can beat a wrestler. I’ve had a couple. When you lose your focus or you lose your nerves you just aren’t going to be the same wrestler. That’s the bottom line. You don’t change a whole lot from what you normally do, except at the time be a little more disciplined in your lifestyle. That’s about it.

Ironside: There’s a fine line to walk. As far as being smart and aggressive. It’s a smart aggressiveness. You want to be aggressive, but it’s got to be a controlled aggressiveness. You don’t want to start taking shots without setting them up and trying to finish in a way you shouldn’t be finishing and getting out of position. It’s good to be offensive and on the attack, but you have to be smart about how you do it. You can’t cut corners and get lazy.

Any final tips?

Ironside: It’s also easy to get caught up in watching your teammates and watching kids from other schools because there are so many other matches. A good coach will concentrate on making sure the athlete is ready to go for their match and not really worry about them watching their teammates’ matches before them. Keeping them in the back. Keeping them relaxed. Then when they’re done get them out of there because a lot of times there isn’t a lot of down time between matches or rounds. By the time you get back to your hotel and you get your fuel back in you and your nutrition, you’ve got to go back and warmup again. You try to get some rest and prepare yourself as best you can for that next match and by doing that you have to take that athlete out of that arena so that they don’t get caught up in the big spectacle of everything. That way they can concentrate on what they need to do from a personal standpoint.

Alright. Thanks for the advice gentlemen!

Best of luck to all of the wrestlers competing the next few days. Hopefully getting some coaching advice from Dan Gable and Mark Ironside will serve you well before your first match.

A reminder to fans that the 2017 Iowa high school wrestling state finals will air on CSN at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday. It’s also be live streaming on CSNChicago.com via the NBC Sports App for CSN subscribers. Gable and Ironside will be on the call for CSN's coverage of the championships.

More Iowa high school wrestling coverage:

By the Numbers: Iowa high school state wrestling tournament

Iowa high school wrestling triva: How many can you get right?

Advice on how to win an Iowa wrestling state title from Dan Gable and Mark Ironside


Iowa high school state wrestling tournament by the numbers


Iowa high school state wrestling tournament by the numbers

Wrestling fans can expect to see the best individuals in the state competing on Friday and Saturday at the 2017 Iowa state wrestling tournament in Des Moines. Here are some interesting numbers to keep in mind. 

  • 16,980 seats in Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines are expected to filled for the finals 


  • 672 total wrestlers competing in the state tournament


  • 224 per class (1A, 2A, 3A)


  • 230 different schools represented (90 in Class 1A, 83 in Class 2A and 57 in Class 3A)


  • 16 wrestlers competing in each weight classes


  • 14 weight classes (106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285)


  • 42 total individual Iowa state wrestling champions will be crowned


  • 18 state champions from 2016 have qualified for this year’s state tournament (eight in Class 3A, four in Class 2A and six in Class 1A)


  • Six wrestlers are attempting to win their third straight state title. 


  • Four of these wrestlers are seniors; Marcus Coleman (Ames), Ryan Leisure (Clear Lake), Brody Teske (Fort Dodge), Bryce West (Solon)


  • Two are juniors; Chase Shiltz (Creston/Orient-Macksburg) and Alex Thomsen (Underwood)



  • 25 total four time Iowa state wrestling champions


  • Zero wrestlers have a chance to win a fourth straight title this year


  • 82 total three time Iowa state wrestling champions (As noted above, there are six wrestlers that have a chance at it this year)


  • 23 undefeated wrestlers heading into the state tournament (10 in Class 3A, 3 in Class 2A, 10 in Class 1A) with Chase Shiltz (52-0) of Creston/Orient-Macksburg in Class 2A (182) as the only 50-win undefeated wrestler in the state of Iowa


Be sure to watch all of the action on CSN or live stream via the NBC Sports App beginning with the semifinals on Friday at 3:30 p.m. all the way through the championship matches on Saturday night. 

More Iowa high school wrestling coverage:

Advice on how to win an Iowa wrestling state title from Dan Gable and Mark Ironside

Iowa high school wrestling triva: How many can you get right?

By the Numbers: Iowa high school state wrestling tournament

Warriors' Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala rewarded for patience with NBA Finals success

Warriors' Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala rewarded for patience with NBA Finals success

Often times patience is necessary in the game of basketball. On offense it could be waiting for a pick and roll to develop. Defensively it may be holding your position in anticipation for the exact moment to jump into a passing lane. But sometimes what the game gives can be taken away in an instant.

For Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala patience and perseverance have been required traits woven into the success of their NBA careers.

After years of being tested they were rewarded with an NBA Championship last season as key reserves for the Golden State Warriors. This season they helped the organization capture the most regular season wins in league history.

Long before winning a title and being part of a 73-win season, Livingston and Iguodola both developed their skills while growing up in Illinois.

Livingston was born and raised in Peoria and won back-to-back IHSA state titles before leaping to the NBA straight out of Peoria Central High School. Iguodala, a Springfield native, sprouted up at Lanphier High School and then headed to Arizona for two seasons under Lute Olson’s tutelage prior to turning pro.

Both players were selected in the 2004 NBA Draft. Livingston went fourth overall to the Los Angeles Clippers, while Iguodala was taken ninth by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Iguodala would spend eight seasons in Philly, eventually becoming an All-Star in 2012 and leading his team to the playoffs five times. A second round exit following a seven game series with the Boston Celtics would be the farthest Iguodala would go in the postseason.

An offseason trade to the Denver Nuggets would offer the first real change Iguodala would experience in his career. In the 2013 playoffs, a first round loss to a talented but inexperienced Warriors team led by Stephen Curry would be the end of Iguodala’s lone season in Denver.

Before the 2013-14 season, he was the centerpiece of a sign-and-trade deal that brought him to the Warriors, where he would start 63 games and be named to the All-NBA Defensive first team. But a Game 7 loss to the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs would bring changes to the organization.

In came new head coach Steve Kerr, whose most notable coaching decision was to start Harrison Barnes over Iguodala. The 30-year-old veteran would be relegated to a sixth man role for the first time in his career. While at the time it wasn’t easy coming off the bench, it did prove to be effective.

The Warriors would catch fire and make it all the way to the NBA Finals. After finding themselves down 2-1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kerr decided to go with a small lineup and inserted Iguodala as a starter with hopes providing better defense on LeBron James. The change worked. Three straight wins over the Cavs earned the Warriors an NBA title. Iguodala was named Finals MVP averaging 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists after remerging as a starter.

Livingston’s route to championship glory was much different.

A catastrophic knee injury in 2007 altered the Clippers' franchise point guard’s career. Livingston tore his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus, while also spraining his medial collateral ligament and dislocating his patella and tibo-fibular joint in a late February game against Charlotte. Amputation was a possibility.

Fortunately the worst case scenario would not play out. After a long and painful rehabilitation, Livingston signed with the Miami Heat and returned to the court in October of 2008. He bounced around the league playing for seven different teams over six seasons. He found a little stability and success as a starter with the Brooklyn Nets, before landing with the Warriors as a free agent prior to the 2014-15 season.

Livingston would play in a career-high 78 games, averaging 5.9 points, 3.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds per game as a key reserve along side Iguodola. Although he was only on the court 19 minutes each night, he was a factor on an NBA Championship team. This a fitting reward for a man who had to overcome so much just to be standing on the court, let alone a major contributor off the bench.

Now in his second straight playoffs for the defending champions Livingston is shining even brighter. A team-high 20 points along with four rebounds and three assists was instrumental in a Game 1 victory over the Cavs. Iguodala had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win.

All these years later the two Illinois natives are experiencing overwhelming success. Not because it was their right. Not due to good fortune. Instead it’s been their unique abilities to persevere and be patient that is at the root of their basketball giving tree.

And the tree was happy.