SA 057: Olympic Wrestler Jake Herbert on the Talent Myth and the Pursuit of Failure

Jake Herbert

Olympic Wrestler Jake Herbert talks about why he considers himself a failure in wrestling, and how that belief is essential for his ability to compete at higher levels of the sport. He also talks about talent and how it can be developed.

Guest Bio:

Jake Herbert of Ann Arbor, Michigan is an American amateur wrestler. Jake won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at 84 kg FS and competed in the 2012 Olympics.

Born in Pittsburgh, Jake was a Pennsylvania state champion and four-time state placer at North Allegheny High School of Wexford, Pennsylvania.

In college, he was a two-time NCAA champion, three-time Big Ten Conference champion, and four-time NCAA All-American. He went 149-4 while at Northwestern University. He won the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy awarded to the best college wrestler in the nation and the 2009 Big Ten Athlete of the Year award.

Jake won a silver medal at the 2009 World Wrestling Championships at 84kg FS competed at the 2010 World Wrestling Championships at 84kg FS. He defeated Travis Paulson 2 to 1 at the finals of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He currently works with Andy Hrovat, who represented the United States at 84 kg FS in the 2008 Olympics.

Jake came very close to obtaining a medal in the 2012 Olympics but missed the opportunity due to a controversial referee’s call.


Some Questions We Ask:

  • Who’s the first person that comes to mind when he hears the word success or successful?

Time is the most valuable asset that we have.

  • What was it about the sport of wrestling that attracted him?
  • What makes Jake Herbert different from all the other wrestlers?
  • What happened during the 2012 Olympics? What did he feel then and what was his response right after that? How did he come to grips with that to the point where he’s at right now?
  • What’s one takeaway, one small win action step he can give to the audience, to someone who’s trying to go from average to above average, above average to excellent? What would he say as a small win for them?

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • His perspective on talent and athleticism and how these can be developed

Consistency over time is going to equal to success in whatever you want to be successful at.

  • Jake’s moments of adversity during high school and college and how he responded to those situations
  • Coming to terms in high school with who he is
  • Why he considers himself a failure in wrestling and how this mindset helps him
  • The 4 things that he asks every day of the kids that he trains
    • What was the one thing you learned today?
    • End the practice or training session better than you started.
    • Help someone else do the same (learn and end better).
    • Have fun doing so.




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