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.
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.
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.
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.
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.