The Secret To Success

A picture of JP O'Connor from Harvard getting his hand raised after winning the NCAA wrestling championship.

As a performance coach it’s my primary goal to maximize the potential of the wrestlers I train.

Thus far I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of very high level competitors.

So while I’ve had the opportunity to be around wrestlers who are about as successful as you can be, it wasn’t until tonight that I figured out what the common trait is between them.

But before I reveal what it is, I’ve gotta brag…

I’ve always been aware of it, but it really hit me tonight. Specifically just how humbling it can be to have wrestlers who drive such long distances multiple times a week to train with me.

I don’t know why it hit me tonight, but at one point I looked around my gym and realized there were 3 guys there who had all driven over 45 minutes to work with me.

It’s hard for me to put into words, but it feels awesome.

Then I got to thinking and realized that this has been going on for over 10 years now.

In fact, I’d like to take a moment to sing the praises of some of the great men who I’ve had the privilege to work with.

1. J.P. O’Connor

A picture of JP O'Connor from Harvard getting his hand raised after winning the NCAA wrestling championship.

It all started with J.P. O’Connor. Although I had written him programs throughout his high school career, once I graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 we were finally able to spend a summer training together.

He drove over 45 minutes each way 3 times a week to train in my parents basement. This is back when I had very limited equipment.

As I look back on it, his level of commitment as an 18-year-old amazes me. The fact that he commuted such a distance 3 times a week to train with me was, and still is, a true honor.

2. Cody Reed

Binghamton University wrestler, Cody Reed, getting his hand raised after winning a match over a Bucknell wrestler.

Cody started with me the summer going into his Junior year of high school. He consistently trained with me 3 times a week until he graduated. In fact, he still comes to my gym and follows my programs (and now implements that as an Assistant Coach at Binghamton University).

He drove over 45 minutes each way those last 2 years of high school. During that time he went from being an average wrestler to placing 6th in NYS his Senior year.

He then went on to sign with Binghamton University, which at the time, was a top-20 Division 1 team. He earned a starting spot and became a NCAA qualifier by his Redshirt Sophomore year.

He then earned a full scholarship as a Redshirt Junior and again qualified for the NCAAs.

He finished up his college career as a 3 time D1 qualifier and was a round away from being an All-American 3 times.

3. Donnie Vinson

A picture of Donnie Vinson standing in the 3rd place spot on the NCAA wrestling championships podium.

Donnie Vinson followed my programs and spent the Spring and Summer months traveling about 40 minutes each way during his final 3 years in high school.

While at BU, he placed 3rd at the NCAAs his Junior year and was ranked #2 throughout his Senior year.

And finally, maybe you know this guy…

4. Kyle Dake

A picture of Kyle Dake holding his winning bracket while standing on top of the podium at the NCAA tournament.

I worked with Kyle as a 9th grader and wrote programs for him throughout high school. The summer going into his senior year he was able to start making it down to my gym. With his new driver’s license, he drove an hour and 15 minutes each way once a week to train with me.

In addition, he would follow the workouts I would give him throughout the week. He never made an excuse as to why he couldn’t get it done.

Here’s a news report featuring Kyle during his senior year:

The Others…

Not everyone can be like those guys above, and I understand that.

But it’s still a little confusing to me when some of the wrestlers I train share their goals with me and then regularly find excuses to not come and lift, even when they live only 10-15 minutes away.

Will they be successful?

To a degree, yes.

But will they reach their true potential?

Based on “the secret” difference that I’ve discovered, no.

So What’s The Big Secret

It’s actually something that Georges St. Pierre told me years ago when I had the chance to train with him.

“Everyone wants to be successful, but not everyone wants to prepare to be successful.”

So what do the 4 guys above have in common?

What’s the secret to success?

You’ve got to be willing to go that extra mile to prepare.

Success doesn’t just happen.

You have to make it happen.

So the next time you want to skip lifting or an extra drill session because “practice was tough” or “you’re tired and sore” think about what the 4 guys above would do…and then get to work!

Related Posts:

What I Learned From GSP

How To Get Mentally Tough This Season

A Mental Lesson That Slapped Me In The Face

Too Focused On Being A Winner??

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


6 Comments. Leave new

  • Shawn Whitecotton
    December 21, 2012 4:59 pm

    Outstanding article very motivating….

    • Thanks Shawn. If you have a second, could you help me spread the word by sharing it on your Facebook? Thanks for the help and for the comment man.

  • Richard Vasquez
    January 7, 2013 1:51 pm

    Great article Dickie, I have been training my son who is a sophomore at Delbarton High School. My is Son is always willing to go the extra mile the problem we are having is fatigue. Between matches, practice six days a week. wight training and a school regiment similar to Harvard. can you help me with rest, recovery and nutrition.

    Rich Vasquez

  • Awesome post. I take 3 buses (which roughly take 2 hours) everyday just to train MMA. At 20 and having no previous grappling or striking experience, i sometimes wonder if all the travelling i do just for 2 hours of training is worth it. This post is truely inspiring. Thanks alot Dickie

    • Hey man, great to hear this post will help to keep you inspired. Keep me posted with how your training is going and best of luck in MMA.


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