When we pick up a barbell and perform a lift, we normally focus on just two things: the weight and the number of repetitions. These are undoubtedly key variables to use improving performance, but they miss a lot nuance that goes into getting better. A few years ago I was talking with former discus thrower Adam Kuehl about what other variables he feels are overlooked and his answer was quick: time. Read more
Physically developing athletes is only part of the game. Champions require excellence across all pillars of sport, from the tactical to technical, from the physical to mental. Throughout the month we took a look at how athletes can improve their mental game, with a special focus on case studies of how concepts are put into practice by top coaches and athletes. We put together 3 new podcasts and 8 new articles from our team of coaches. Read more
For our March site theme, we turn our attention from jumping to throwing. This site started out focused on the throwing events in track and field: shot put, discus, javelin and the hammer throw. Over the past decade we have expanded the scope to cover training and coaching for a wide range of sports. But this month we returned to our roots by putting together 7 new articles, 4 new podcasts, and 2 new videos covering all 4 throwing events. Read more
Earlier this week Nick Garcia wrote about how we think too much about good technique rather than what style will fit an individual athlete. Looking at the final technique is trying to reverse engineer the problem. What we should be looking at is the philosophy that it all started with. One thing that top coaches have in common is that they understand the throw and have an idea of what forces they want to create. How that looks and what the athlete needs to do to achieve it might result in different technique, but the core idea is front and center. Read more
Earlier in the week we the first part of a training talk with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson. Hafsteinsson runs the Global Throwing team and was best known the personal coach of 2008 Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter. In part two our discussion moves from training methodology to discus technique. And continue reading to part three, where we discuss the current state of throwing within track and field.
You can also join HMMR Media now to gain access to many more great training talks with elite coaches and throwers and a wealth of additional training information.
Germany is the top throws country in the world. Other countries may have more depth, but Germany has developed an unmatched elite throws team. Despite being a fraction of the size of rivals like the United States and Russia, it is the only country in the world that has a legitimate medal contender in all eight throwing events.
This past weekend I travelled to the Kienbaum national training center outside of Berlin for the German federation’s annual throwing conference. The training center is already a heaven for throwers. Add in 100 energetic coaches and you start to see why the country has so much success. But as good as thing are, the Germans face the same problems every country does. There was much heated debate about how to get kids started in the sport earlier, retain them longer, and provide better support for elite athletes.
But this debate is also key to their success. Rather than being antagonistic, everyone was on the same page because they were working towards the same goal. That teamwork and structure forms the foundation of their success. Despite being the best, they want to improve and learn from the best in Germany and around the world in order to do so.
In addition to the interview I posted earlier this week, there is some other information available online about Werner Günthör’s training and Jean-Pierre Egger’s training methods. I have tried to collect much of it below to help put the interview in context and also provide more information for those interested. Enjoy.
- Training Talk With Jean-Pierre Egger (Part 1)
- Training Talk With Jean-Pierre Egger (Part 2)
- Jean-Pierre Egger Training Video
- Translation of Training Video
- Sample Yearly Plan
- Sample Training Program
On Friday I posted the first part of my interview with Jean-Pierre Egger, the coach of former shot put world champion Werner Günthör and current Olympic champion Valerie Adams. Click here to read part one. After talking about training methods, our discussion turned towards throwing and technique and the future of the shot put.
Training Technique – Range Throwing
Martin: Does Valerie normally throw without a reverse like she did today?
Jean-Pierre: She normally throws with a reverse at meets, so today was naturally not her competition technique. It is only a training technique that we use because she has a tendency to jump too early. Last year she came to Zürich and threw almost 20 meters and then came to Magglingen. We did five training sessions then like we are doing now: precise throws without a reverse and without measuring or anything else. Then in Croatia at the Continental Cup she threw 20.86m, the second best result of her career and in an important competition not just a small one.
Jean-Pierre has now returned part-time to the sport and has been coaching Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams since last winter. In June I had a chance to visit a training session at the Swiss Olympic Training Center in Magglingen. After the workout we sat down to discuss throwing and training. The interview was conducted in German and I later translated it to English.
Throwing in Switzerland
Martin Bingisser: My first question is about the current level of the throwing events in Switzerland. It’s low right now. Very low. What do we need to increase the level?
Jean- Pierre Egger: We need talent that doesn’t go to other sports like Handball, Volleyball, Schwingen (Swiss-style wrestling), and so on. We have definitely have the potential though.
Martin: Last year I was at the Eidgenössische Schwing- und Älplerfest (the historic Swiss wrestling championship) and everywhere I looked I saw potential shot putters.
Jean-Pierre: I do the strength and conditioning coach for one of the best, Mattias Sempbach. He just took second place in Zollikofen yesterday. He would be a good thrower. And may others too. The problem is that they have more fun wrestling. The shot put is just not as attractive. And more importantly they don’t see the way that they can really more forward in the event. And that problem isn’t just one for the shot put, it also affects other athletic disciplines. The top results are so far, so high, so fast that for the it is more discouraging than it is attractive.