Valerie Adams doesn't seem like a gambler, but she is rolling the dice in 2011. Never someone who leaves things purely to chance, Adams is gambling big in a watershed year - with everything at stake.

In a year that will present huge challenges - with established rivals circling, young rising talents on the surge and the Chinese boosted by former coach and mentor Kirsten Hellier - Adams has put her faith in an untried approach.

She will spend extended periods without a coach at her side, relying instead on long distance video analysis. She will also base herself for months in a small Swiss village, living in something akin to a student apartment.

After jettisoning former coach Didier Poppe late last year, she has completely turned her back on the radical changes they attempted, reverting to the modus operandi of 2009.

Rather than the traditional coach-athlete model, she has constructed 'Team Adams', with a group of advisers and support staff dedicated to 'the product'. And on top of it all, she is single for the first time in almost a decade.

"I'm not getting any younger and I have to make the most out of what I have got," explains Adams. "The next two years are crucial, so I am doing everything in my power to be the best athlete I can be."

This apparently includes abandoning all the detailed work that was done in 2010. After they came together in March last year, Poppe spent months on a radical re-shaping of the Adams technique, based around increasing her speed in the circle, or "turning a truck into a Ferrari", as was famously stated at the time. After mostly indifferent results through the year, there was something of a breakthrough in Croatia in August, where she threw 20.85m, topping her arch-rival Nadzeya Astapchuk.

At the time she credited the Poppe plan for the success; now she quite plainly doesn't.

"I shouldn't have changed what I did," says Adams. "The changes I made didn't work for me as an athlete. I'm not saying they were wrong, but they were wrong for me. It was the wrong technique for me and also the chemistry did not work - in terms of the coaching style and myself."

Despite his close friendship and association with Poppe, new Swiss coach Jean-Pierre Egger apparently agreed.

"When he first met up with Val he told us 'No, no, no - don't change that. Those are the things that Val Adams does well," recounts manager Nick Cowan. "Those are the things we wish our other athletes could do."

Adams claims to be in the best shape of her life, thanks to changes to her diet and lifestyle. She is lifting more than ever, huge weights - said to be more than many top rugby players in this country. Mentally, she also seems to have bounced back.

Former coach Hellier told the Herald on Sunday Adams had seemed unhappy since October 2009, which was one of the things that precipitated their eventual split. Today she seems happy, relaxed and revitalised - saying she has developed a "different love" for the sport.

A large element of this transformation is down to Egger. They first worked together for 10 days last August and Cowan recalls taking a late night call from an excited Adams.

"I have to do this again," Adams told Cowan. "I have to do it next year and I have to do it for more time."

Adams says there was an immediate connection with Egger: "Within a few days I was able to succeed so much. The changes we made were very small - I wondered what would be possible full time. ."

Hence the unusual arrangement this year where Egger coaches 'remotely' from Switzerland before Adams joins him in Switzerland for 10 weeks from April to June, then another period in July and August. In New Zealand, she is supervised by strength coach Mike McGuigan and they send videos of each throwing session to Egger, who provides analysis and feedback.

"It has been pretty tough technically," admits Adams. "Throwing is mentally the hardest part; Sometimes you do need a coach there but that is just the way it is. ."

Adams spent 15 days in Switzerland in January, and can't say enough about the Egger impact: "He is getting me to do stuff that I didn't think was possible. He's a genius. If you look at the guy's reputation and qualifications there is no question about it - he is top notch."

Egger competed at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic in the shot put, going on to coach compatriot Werner Gunthor to three consecutive world titles between 1987 and 1993.

Outside athletics, Egger has overseen strength and conditioning for Swiss football club Grasshoppers, the French basketball team and former America's Cup holders Alinghi.

"He is such a calm, collected man," says Adams. "He doesn't have to yell at me. There are different styles of coaching - I was yelled at with the last coach and I don't do yelling very well."

"I'm very alert to what he wants - it is almost like magic. You want to learn so much and take everything on board.. I think he gets the best out of me - he is very calm and very powerful."

Adams also describes Egger as somewhat of a "father figure". She will occasionally go to his house for dinner or coffee, with his wife bringing out the swiss chocolates while they watch comedies on television.

"With him I can be myself - we make jokes about things, though I probably don't swear as much."

In Switzerland Gunthor joins in for the throwing sessions, with the two Swiss critiquing Adams from either side.

Life in Switzerland sounds far from perfect for the sociable, family-oriented Adams. She will live in the small village of Macolin (population 2000) in a simple apartment - "bed, bathroom, TV, desk, wardrobe; that's it."

She eats breakfast and lunch on site at the Federal Sports Academy, and trains twice a day, six days a week. On her only day off (Sunday), the village becomes a ghost town.

"There is not a lot to do," she admits, "but I am just there to train. It is a commitment but you do what you gotta do."

She enjoys the anonymity - "they look because you are tall, but that is it" - and loved the blanket snow during her January stay, making probably the largest 'snow angels' ever seen in the Swiss canton.

Cowan and Adams are trumpeting their new 'Team Adams' approach this year. Apart from Egger, Gunthor, McGuigan, and Cowan, there is a physiotherapist, a doctor and other support staff all involved.

"Every single person in her team - we call it 'the environment' - has their own specific roles and it is all about getting the environment right." . I'm in the middle binding everyone together," says Adams. "I am the product and they help me get the best out of the product."

Adams intends to spend even more time based in Europe in 2012, as she peaks towards the London Olympics. There is no clarity beyond that, though for the first time the 26-year-old Adams has began to ponder retirement.

"You will know within when it is time," Adams feels. "Your heart will tell you when you have done the deed. I think I have loved it more now than in the last two years, but I realise sport will not last forever, ."

On the subject of Hellier, she admits it will be weird to see her in a Chinese tracksuit, but is typically defiant about the predicted Chinese advance in the sport.

"We'll see - Daegu is where it counts," says Adams. "They do what they do - I do what I do. The same training may not work for them but that is their problem. They have talent and population on their side but it is still a European event."

Last year she had to endure a marriage break-up, following on from losing her father in 2007 and her mother at the age of 15. She also had the painful split with Hellier, and then the dissolved partnership with Poppe.

But 2011 finds Adams in a happy place - open, enthusiastic and positive. "Life is great now," says Adams. "Life has had its moments. I think I have had my fair share of shit and I am still only 26. I have been through a bit. That is the way Val Adam's cookie crumbles."