Greetings everyone it’s me again. I want to update a little bit what’s happening in my head and in the Finnish minigolf scene. After meeting Jan-Åke Persson in the Nordics banket, I had to write something again. He explained me and Riku what he sees happening at the moment in Finnish minigolf. Generally everything that came out of his mouth I respect highly. This blogpost will contain a little bit of new philosophy and even the scientific explanation why we play minigolf!! I might be completely off with a lot my thoughts but hey, they are here because I want to help players, so don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.
First of all I want to give a lot of credit to Riku Pennanen, my “brotha from a notha motha”, whom I’ve been working with a lot this year. There is also a lot of his thoughts in this blog as well.
After not enjoying this game for a year that much I’ve fell in love with this sport again. There is multiple reasons why I haven’t been enjoying playing and I want to say something about it. After playing really bad in EC in Vienna 2010 I felt really hopeless with my playing. That lead in to a circle where I was obsessed with perfection. After EC 2010 I changed from forehand to backhand. We filmed our strokes in a national team camp in the winter in Rahola. Analyzing my stroke on a video tape was the first step to a doomed season. As I said, I was obsessed with perfection. I was worrying a lot with these questions of the state of our sport, especially in Finland. There was a moment where I thought to myself: “Why am I doing this”? I didn’t see the future of my playing really brightly and I was lacking confidence. I played the whole year 2011 awfully. In my last JEM in Naturns I ended up in the 51th position. It was the worst competition I’ve played in my career. Not only the results but the mindset I had. I know I let my team down and after the competition I was completely exhausted with this sport. I felt like I had been working 7 years for that competition. It’s not a great feeling. Finnish junior team finished last position. On the matchplay day I watched and coached Eetu Ikola, whom I’ve coached basically from day 2. Seeing him play like he played, was one of the most uplifting experiments I’ve experienced in minigolf. After that I went in to myself and I said that “I will never let my team down ever again no matter what”. That is my mission.
I realized how naive I had been trying to be perfect. It’s against everything I believe. I immediately changed back to forehand and practiced like a monkey when the guys we’re playing in Stockholm. At that point I really would have loved to be there, but it was too late. But about changing back to forehand. Symbolically it was this “back to basics” thing. Life is too short to do things that are not from your heart. Trying to be perfect is not from your heart. After experiencing this “I’m gonna do my thing” thing I immediately got the confidence again. “S*** I can do this”. There’s no reason not to follow your heart and carry it with you at the course – You are already naked. At the moment my own playing is more confident than ever before and I’m experienced. I know how it feels to be in the bottom and I’m ready to do anything to stay out of there.
The results are dogma. Everything is invented. We could play minigolf with a carrot and a potato if somebody invented it to be played that way. Somebody just invented, that it’s played with a club and ball. That means the results are invented. What you do and think is important, not the results. For example, a player plays a good round like 19 on miniature. The next round he will be thinking of the last round. “If I’ll play good round now then my score is going to be super low”. Immediately when you think about the result that you have played or will play, you’ll miss the lane. It’s the same thing if you play a bad round. Forget it. One lane at a time, this is basically the same what my “My minigolf philosophy” is about. I’m not there yet because I do think about my results, but I think them way less than before. In kyodo (Japanese archery), they train usually the first 5 years to understand the correct technique of releasing the bow. The philosophy is that you don’t release the bow, but the bow releases itself. That’s the mindset to good minigolf flow. To play without doubt:
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.” -Buddha
I’ve watched so many players destroy their game because of negativity. Even myself at times but I’m working on it. I use to brake 3 clubs in a season and generally be this “**** you, **** her” type of a guy. Atleast it’s not like that anymore. A lot of players pick every possible negative factor on the course and get offended for it because they can. Somebody celebrating, walking pass you when you are concentrating etc. If you leave that bad emotion continue it will affect your game negatively. Forgive and forget. It is what it is you can’t change what’s happened. If you give out positivity, you’ll get positivity. If you give out negativity, expect to get negativity. My own philosophy on this one is that, if you play two exact same shots to a lane, one with negative mindset and the other with positive mindset, only the shot played with a positive mindset goes in.
This philosophy includes luck. Luck is factor that will ALWAYS get even in time. The idea of getting mad when the pipe shoots you wide is ridiculous. If you played a good shot you should be perfectly satisfied with it even if it didn’t go in. The only problem is that you have to be honest to yourself. If you say that a shot that didn’t go in was a perfect shot then you don’t know the perfect shot or your lying to yourself. That excludes the luck factor though. Then again how does one define luck? This is probably one of the hardest things to understand at least to myself, because it’s controversial in many ways. There are many lanes where it's impossible to know the perfect shot. But control your feelings, accept and move on.
If a bad shot goes in I think it’s alright to celebrate it because you’re expressing positivity. Negativity is a no, positivity is a yes. Positivity is not the same thing as optimism though. A pessimist will surprise positivily! =)
In Finland my team Manse RG is more organized than ever before. As long as quality juniors like Juuso Tasku, Aapo Pessi and Eetu Ikola keep coming there is absolutely no one in Finland that can be on the same level. Juniors, who know how to play on all surfaces. Juniors, who have knowledge. I can assure you that the quality juniors will keep on coming and there is already couple of future stars rising. Personally my goal is to get 2 or 3 new players aged 8-12 every year. Why not even younger as well. Seeing Juuso, Aapo and Eetu also wanting the same and ready to do work to bring new juniors in the future warms my heart. That means the work that was put in me, is in them. Now they want to continue passing that knowledge. Gotta love it… We have to be unselfish in order to keep this sport alive.
At the moment the Finnish team is stronger than in years. The feeling of hopelessness about a lot of things is gone. We are working as a unit and I’ve realized that now after U23 and the Nordics. I have only little of international experience. My first games we’re in Budapest 2008. But most of the trips I’ve been since 2008 to 2011, have been quite amateur. I’ll use the term “camping and sausage grilling”. You know, like the main goal is to have fun, socialize and drink beer. We are afraid of everyone and we compare ourselves to the opponent. I’m not accusing anyone for it though, it might be just that I’m growing up or something lame like that. I believe we are entering an era, that will change my opinion on this “sausage grilling” thing. Personally I would not have a problem if my team should wake up 5 am every morning for a 10km jog. I’m ready to starve with my team. We have 7 really good players that are going to go PLAY in Porto and hopefully many years from now on. Even the fact that everyone in the team knowledges it, is progress. The “Oh sorry, we are just participating in this competition” mentality is gone. We respect other teams as much as they respect us. We have the knowledge and the material to accomplish what we want. I have no doubt about it. Team Finland is hungry at the moment. I am hungry and I know all of my team mates are hungry. 2 times 122 strokes with 6 players in Nordics with so many stupid mistakes I just want to kill myself. In a long run I really believe we would have won Sweden. I really do. And I hope all of you are laughing at the moment. It’s only advantage to us.
“Either we heal as a team, or we will die as individuals.”
Oh yeah, the scientific explanation. After a practice day in Nordics I was really tired and I asked Matias Peltola: “Why do we do this? Why do we play this game?” He replied that the first stimulus is the rolling of the balls. It’s something like when a bee smells a flower or a male smells a female etc. When we see the ball go into the hole it injects our brain with a small dose of dopamine. “We are hooked to the feeling” he said. HAHAHAHA!!
Anyway thank you if read the whole saga!! A lot of people don’t like me because I do what I do and I am what I am. I’m not trying to fulfill my egoistic needs or get attention because I don’t give a …. If you try to get money and fame from this sport and this community, you are in the wrong place. That’s not my motivation source. I want to continue to learn about this sport because it’s helping me in all aspects of life. I want to share what I learn. I want to uplift the spirit in my own team and in my own nation by saying to them: “Who says it’s not possible?” If this helps or inspires somebody out of my team or my nation it’s always a great thing. That’s why I’m putting it here. And remember, even if you hated me, I still love you. =)