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Finland Oskari Vihervaara's blog« See all Obama's blogs

New winds blowing
11 Apr 2012 at 11:26 | Posted in: Personal | Views: 7238 | Comments: 12
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. =)


previous comments    next comments
Comments (12)

Sweden Hans (Hans Bergström) | Delete

25 Apr 2012 at 20:18
@Oskari. We will check this. Thanks for reporting it!

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

25 Apr 2012 at 16:46
And John/minigolfnews staff... I can't edit/delete my blog or my comments. "Delete/Edit" option is there only when I'm not signed in, and when I press it, it says that I don't have the authority, only admins have...

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

24 Apr 2012 at 15:42
Agreed. I didn't mean to say it in a way, that winning was the an important thing for me. I said it because I've analyzed a little bit of my own mindset when I've won competitions, and when I haven't. I described the "winning mentality" as a state of mind, where it doesn't even matter If you win or lose because it's only focus. That way you'll give everything you have to yourself and your team, and play as good as possible. That's the difference between "knowing" and "wanting". I've played many competitions with winning mentality, without winning as well as the opposite, winning with the "wanting" mentality. It all comes to the expectations you set to yourself. Because "wanting" to win leads to a circle where you're obsessed with the results, which affects ones game in a negative way. It will make you push too hard. The bottom line is that I don't care what ranking I end up or what my results are if I "know" I'm going to win. With that mentality, I'm satisfied even if I end up in the last positition.

Austria bfree4life (Günter Inmann) | Delete

24 Apr 2012 at 09:51
ok, to these words i have to say sth, cause i am not in common with your thinking:

"The only difference I can tell on this subject is, that you “know” you’re gonna win, or you “want” to win. That’s a really big difference if you think about confidence. But if you “know” you’re going to win, you don’t even think about it. Then it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to win or lose, it’s only focus. Am I right or wrong?"

Disappointment depends on expectations! I know its not easy, but... I never go on the course and KNOW i will win! I go on the course and the first priority will be to play shot by shot, nevermind where i am on the course, on lane 1 or 9 or 18! Nevermind in round 1 or 3 or 7 or whatelse. In my opinion its wrong to think i go on the course and i WILL win. Its good to go there to have the will to win, but you never know what happens to others. Sometimes i (or we) played pretty well and we were satisfied, but we didnt win. But at the end, in summary, our constant good play as a real TEAM presented us our goal in the end. Never loose confidence in what you do, never loose motivation to push yourself and all others, never loose patience and never say never! Keep on fighting on a high level and do really EVERYthing for the team. At the end of the day your power just have to drive you home, but nothing else should be left! All power and heartblood for the team and you will be successful. If it isnt today, you will be tomorrow! One sentence was right for 100%! It doesnt matter if you win or loose, when you were fighting as a real TEAM, its just one second disappointing. But if you loose cause you gave up and finished before the tournament is finished, its a very BIG disappointment and for me also a big shame. I dont want to feel this again...

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

23 Apr 2012 at 20:20
"Either we heal as a team, or we will die as individiuals" is from "Any given sunday". Check this out, it's great http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4tIrjBDkk

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

23 Apr 2012 at 18:59

Nice, thank you! Well, what’s the point if you don’t want to get to the spring?? And yes, I do remember the ”Teethless’ scream” Symphony on lane 14 in Vergiate. It was genious composing.

Of course it’s a team game but it took a while for me to understand that fully. I’ve pretty much always worked for the team and been a part of it but there’s always been a certain thinking of individualism. I’ve had the problem of thinking that I’m the best in the team, and I have to play like the best player in the team playes. It’s doesn’t improve you nor the team, I know that… BTW, I really don’t understand how it makes you play better if you set a goal that you’re gonna be the best player the whole team or tournament. Like in Carl-Johan’s interview, he said that his goal was a triple gold in Stockholm’s WC. Must be hard to go play with that kind of mentality… I know I wouldn’t enjoy it at all if I “had to win”. I wonder do the most successful athletes say that to themselves? Because in my eyes, when that thought is your goal, your going to crumble. The only difference I can tell on this subject is, that you “know” you’re gonna win, or you “want” to win. That’s a really big difference if you think about confidence. But if you “know” you’re going to win, you don’t even think about it. Then it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to win or lose, it’s only focus. Am I right or wrong? But the only individualism I think there’s now in my eyes is the fact that, giving everything you have to the team makes you stronger individualisticly. If I give and receive good energy from a team it gives me an energy boost. My mentality of giving everything to my team kind of hit me in U23’s this year, when I saw everyone doing the best they can. For example Riku and Aki (our star players) played bad in that competition, but they we’re still on flames, trying their best and giving an unreal amount of good energy to everyone on and off the course. I LOVE THAT!! When everyone does that, no matter if they play good or bad, it’s a TEAM. There was only brothers and sisters in that team. In the last months I’ve actually cried two times because of team success. Never done that before. And what’s more ridiculous then that, is the fact that I wasn’t a part of neither of those teams ON PAPER. Finland 2 in U23’s and juniors winning gold in Nordics.
I’ll tell you quickly one story about the “Corn children”, Juuso, Aapo and Eetu, the winning junior team in Nordics. They fight together, they laugh together, they laugh to each other, they say mean things to each other etc. They are brothers. To see a group of so far fetched dudes playing as a team is unbelievable. In last years miniature FiM, Aapo and Juuso we’re playing in the same group. Aapo had aced the first 11 lanes and when they got to lane 12, pipe, just before Aapo was going to go play his shot, Juuso said: “It would really be a shame, if after all these good shots… you would take a 7 on this one”. HAHAHAHA!!! They we’re playing in the same team!! But you know what? Aapo aced it… They are honest, fantastic supporters for the whole team. Hard headed, but GREAT 200% team players.
Summa summarum, to feel the success of other people, not myself, is the best feeling I know so far. It’s probably proudness? That’s why I want atleast 12 children!!!! I just need to find a woman who will deliver them to me! Harem is a possibility, but again… I need to find many women for that!! It's hard even for an alpha male like me because today’s women are really demanding…

Austria bfree4life (Günter Inmann) | Delete

23 Apr 2012 at 07:19
Haha, after i read your headline "new winds blowing" i had to think about sth very different than your story! Just remember lane 14 in Vergiate at the EC in practicing... ;-)

Btw, oskari. i like to read your postings, even this one was a pretty long one!
And most of all you are right. and i have some phrases i like to tell to myself many times. One of all matches with your kind of attitude: When you swim all the time with the stream, you will never come to the spring! And you are definitely NOT swimming with the mainstream!
And one sentence of your definition will stay in my mind:
“Either we heal as a team, or we will die as individuals.”
for ME, the main reason of playing minigolf is the teamcompetition. Doesnt matter if i play with my "geile Sieche" - Team Olten or in Nationalteam of Austria. And this reason keep me alive in minigolf scene. There is nothing more exciting and amazing than win sth together with a big team and big teamspirit! I remember my first title in Austrian Bundesliga in 1995 with the Team Klaus (its a village, no name!). And i can remember this feeling sitting there with happiness in our mind and tears in our eyes as it would have been yesterday! Just thinking about this moment makes me goose bumps! And my need and will to feel such moments again is my motor to continue!

At the end i wish you good luck for finding or continuing your way with your team. We will see and match once again at the EC in Porto! Also continue with listening to your body, even he shouldnt speak as loud as in Vergiate everytime! :-)

Greetz from Austria and btw, also Switzerland, Gü

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

22 Apr 2012 at 08:44
OK another point of view. By the way, do I already sound like some religious missionary? HAHA I think I’m pretty close to it… But I have another view of “heart following” or “listening to your body” whatever… I heard this lady say that: “We live in a culture that tells us to do the opposite of what our body’s say”. She was all about this “living your life listening to your body”. Then she said the worst example: “In the morning your body tells you to stay in bed and sleep but you still need to get up for work”. Okay? First of all she’s a lady. That means she doesn’t have balls making testosterone which makes you fight and fuck everything that moves. That’s the animal instinct. If a male lives his life listening to his body voice then… That’s probably not the thing she wants.
Second of all saying that our culture tells us to do the opposite is completely garbage. Western world is very very hedonistic. Citys full of adds, sex shops, drugs and from every possibly direction there’s a guy saying to your ear “buy this, use this, see this”. There’s a lot of things that can’t be rationally filtered. So no matter what, everyone listens to their bodys but there needs to be a line. I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle. I think this makes more sense than the “follow your heart blindfolded” saga?

Finland Obama (Oskari Vihervaara) | Delete

15 Apr 2012 at 16:06
Well thank you. But in reality I’m just a fool trying to be less fool. There is an endless amount of people who deserve the credit for that compliment before me. I actually started to imagine what would happen if I was to promote this game as a sport. Like Oskari Vihervaara, “The face of the WMF”. HAHAHAHAH…

Little addition to the heart following part. The last year and the whole backhand experiment taught me many things, eventhough my results weren't good. So it was not in vain but quite the opposite. That's what I always say to new players and new juniors: experiment all the time. Try new balls, try new clubs, try new stances, try new lines because fooling around is GREAT! It gives you motivation and new perspective to keep playing and staying hungry for more. I've tried right and left (I started playing from left, nowadays I play right), backhand & forehand both sides, hundreds of stances etc. Specially for new players the experimenting is really crucial because it's the way to find your own style. Then again if your heart tells you to stay still so be it. But in my opinion, being fearlessly critical and ready to break the limits is the best way to learn and experience. But it’s only my opinion, who gives a … ?

Portugal AS (André Silva) | Delete

13 Apr 2012 at 10:11
Minigolf has a future as long as there's people thinking your way. Great thoughts Oskari, congratulations!
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