Athlete Transitions | Martin Bingisser – Sports Conflict Institute

In an episode of SCI TV, Martin Bingisser discusses how he transitioned from a competitive collegiate athlete to balancing a successful professional career with being on the Swiss national team. He shares his insights on how the NCAA helped his career – as an athlete, financial adviser, entrepreneur, and coach.

Early Athlete Transitions

Bingisser grew up in the Seattle area and went to school at the University of Washington, competing in the hammer throw and becoming a two-time All American. But before he had success at the collegiate level he had to improve his academics and become more self reliant.

Going from high school to college is an athlete transition that can be challenging, especially to maintain one’s success. Bingisser credits the relative niche of the hammer throw for making him a student of the sport and therefore more independent and better at transitioning to the college level.

“With each step you go there’s a big change in the amount of independence you have,” Bingisser said of making the transition to the next level. “You have a lot more freedom, which can be good in some ways and bad in some ways.”

Self Sufficiency

While at Washington Bingisser had four different coaches in four years, forcing him to take responsibility for his training and growth as an athlete.

“At the time I didn’t see it as an advantage, but looking back that really helped my development,” he says. “On the inside you want that structure, but on the outside without that structure you grow into a better athlete and student.”

Prioritization and Time Management

Bingisser became comfortable making tradeoffs between studying and training, and deciding the benefit of an extra hour of each. This was especially important when he was in law school, where being smart isn’t enough to make the grade.

He would ask himself, “How can I better use that time, and more importantly how can I better use that energy?”

Going Professional: full time or balancing a career?

After law school Bingisser took two years to focus solely on being a professional athlete, the idea being that with no other distractions he could reach a new competitive level. Instead he dealt with injury, flat results, and boredom.

“When you’re bored as an athlete, and you’re used to having something to do, then you start overanalyzing what you’re doing. It can spiral down pretty quick. For some athletes it works really well, but for (others) that focus actually destroys them,” he said.

Would you do things differently?

“Looking back on it my path wasn’t perfect but that helped me become a better athlete and student.”

Bingisser’s advice to developing athletes: “Don’t have a lot of regrets, instead look back and see what you can learn from your mistakes, that will make you stronger.”

Follow Martin Bingisser at, where he and other coaches write about training, the art of coaching, and how to become a better athlete.

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