Five questions to… Martin Bingisser

Third run of the “Five questions to…” column dedicated to IFAC 2019 speakers, while approching the event.

The same five questions will be asked to each speaker and it will be interesting to see how they will answer differently. So, stay tuned on IFAC website and its social accounts!


Five questions to… Martin Bingisser

Martin Bingisser is the founder of HMMR Media, Swiss national hammer throw coach, and eight-time national champion.

His skills are something you should read about so… see Martin’s biography on HMMR Media!

At IFAC 2019 he will present on “Coaching Excellence” stream: come and listen to him in Loughborough!

1) Let’s go back to your early years: how did you become passionate about sport and what was your path to becoming an expert coach?

I was lucky and unlucky enough to get introduced to elite sport through the hammer throw. The down side is that the hammer throw is a neglected event in track and field. There is little funding or fame for the event. But the up side is that it is a very passionate group of athletes and coaches. There is no reason to do the sport unless you have passion. This made me eager to learn and search out answers, and the community was an open one that was willing to share with whoever made the effort to ask. I feel like I am part of the last generation of coaches that learned about the sport offline, searching through libraries for obscure articles, showing up on the doorstep of top coaches, and traveling around the world to see top athletes train first hand. That extra work helped strengthen my passion even more.

2) How do you develop your continuous learning?
Learning has to be active. Very rarely can you just wait for information to come to you; you have to search it out. It is human nature to fall back into our habits and routines, therefore for learning to be continuous I feel it needs to be integrated into our routines.
For example I run two podcasts on HMMR Media. Each podcast has a business purpose to it of course, but the primary reason I keep doing them after so many years is that it is my learning routine. Each week I automatically have two hours set aside in my calendar to talk shop with my mentors Vern Gambetta and Nick Garcia, as well as the world class coaches we get as guests, including Frank Dick this week. Without the podcasts I am sure I would still be doing similar work, but not as regularly. If something is not part of your routine, it is too easy for us to put it aside as the demands of daily life get in the way.
3) What technology do you use and how important is the use of technological equipment in your training?

I love technology and gadgets, but I like to think I approach them with a dose of skepticism. It is easy to get distracted by the shiny object in the room and forget about the basics that come first. The world has seen world class athletes that never did a video analysis, that never lifted weights, and that never touched a heart rate monitor. This doesn’t mean that technology cannot help . . . and I’m often using technology in training . . . but I always ask how the technology can help me do the basics better.

4) Injuries are often part of the game but some are avoidable: how do you challenge your athletes but still keep them safe?
Coaches have to keep finding new ways to challenge their athletes. Without challenge there will be no progress. Without risk there will be no reward. We cannot and should not eliminate risk, but we can manage it. Just as a professional poker player strategically places their bets, so can coaches. Don’t throw it all in on a long shot. Use small progressions to add challenge strategically while minimizing the risk.
5) What do you do in your downtime? Do you ever relax and how?
To be honest, coaching is how I relax. My primary job is as a lawyer, so leaving the office and helping some motivated young athletes is the best way for me to relax after a long day. Coaching is definitely work too, but coaches should try to create a culture and team dynamic that adds energy rather than drains it. If you leave training empty, then you need to reassess things.
Thanks to Martin Bingisser!