Top shot put coach Jean-Pierre Egger of Switzerland
Nearly every thrower knows who famed shot putter Werner Günthör
is. But few people know the man behind the athlete: his coach Jean-Pierre Egger. A former Olympian himself, Jean-Pierre became the Swiss national throws coach and guided Günthör to three world titles and an Olympic bronze medal in 1988. After Günthör retired in the mid-1990s, Jean-Pierre began to focus his attention on other sports and found just as much success as the strength and conditioning coach for, among other, the America’s Cup champion Alinghi
yachting team and the silver medal winning French national basketball team.
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.