The more interviews that I do the more I get to learn about people and how they play. Learning more and more about people is one of the best parts of what I do. With that, I got to learn about and interview Soile Mutikainen. Soile is a Finnish Disc Golfer who throws for Team Kastaplast. Her story is unique to her and worth the read. So, take the time to read about her below and enjoy!
1) How did you get into Disc Golf?
I tried disc golf for the first time I moved to Hyvinkää in 2008. Back then it was more like having fun and just being outdoors. Few years went and we got first real disc golf course to Hyvinkää in 2011. Then it really hit me. This was something I wanted to do. At winter between 2011 and 2012 I found one lady in my area who was looking for friend to play disc golf with. I contacted her and we went outside to practice putting. She told me about competing and invited me to start compete also. My first competition was the Women's Global Event at 2012. After that I haven't looked back. Same lady who lured me to compete is now engaged with my husbands brother so we became practically family. Disc golf connects people different ways.
2) Who inspires you to continue to play?
I think it is more like WHAT not WHO inspires me. Disc golf is nice outdoor activity. You can go play it alone or with friends. You can play it just for fun or compete more seriously. I like meeting new disc golf people and playing with them. Disc golf is also a versatile sport so you can learn new things all the time after several years. At least I think so, that is something that keeps me going in competitions and casual rounds.
3) What made you want to start accepting money and be considered pro?
I accepted money because it was time to move up. I was holding on to my amateur status quite long because my husband plays as an amateur and it is cheaper to travel to competitions together than go on our own ways and different competitions. There was also that change this year (2017) in Finland that TD’s could approve pros playing ams rule. We didn’t have that rule in Finland before.
4) What did it feel like to get sponsored?
Being sponsored means to me that someone is believing me and standing behind m and supports me different ways. So it's really not all about getting cool discs and other stuff. I'm proud that I have got this chance and I would like to make my supporter proud of me also. I hope that I can help to get more people to know about Kastaplast and their products.
5) What is it like to be on Team Kastaplast?
Being part of Team Kastaplast feels nice. At the first moment I felt myself welcome to the Big =K= family. Everyone who wrote to me was nice. Soon after I got that message that I have been chosen to the team the finnish team leader contacted me and said that everyone is willing to help if I have some questions about discs or anything. It is also huge honor to represent company which makes high quality products. Because of the high quality it is so easy to "talk big" when you are talking about these discs with someone.
6) Favorite Disc?
I love K2 Berg and those light weight K3 Kaxe Z are awesome! Team captain, Kymen, sent me two test run K3 Falks and I have high hopes for that disc.
7) Favorite Course?
I really like my home courses, Nummenmäki DiscGolfPark and Sahanmäki DiscGolfPark, but Lillmärsanin metsä at Hanko, Finland is a super nice and pretty course. Tali course is also one of my favorites. Every time I’ve been there competing I’ve learned something that makes my game improve. I haven’t had a chance to play overseas but maybe that time will come someday.
8) Where do you go on your normal tour?
Because of my job I haven't had a chance to really go on tour. It's more like I check when I have a free weekend and then I pick up some nice competition on the list. Since we get the schedule of National competitions in time I can put my holiday wishes when those competitions are. I've competed only in Finland but I hope that someday I will get chance to play the whole EuroTour or EuroProTour.
9) What advice can you give to players who want to step up their game?
Learn to know the strong and weak parts of your game. Practice those parts of your game that are weak. Listen to people who are more skilled and don't be afraid to play with players who are much better than you. Following their game and seeing what kind of decisions they make when they have to play in a bad spot will teach you a lot. One disc rounds teaches a lot and that is something that I would like to do more often.
10) What can we expect from you going into the 2018 season?
I'm a quite competitive person and maybe that is one thing that pushes me forward again in 2018. When I was younger I really didn't know how to handle losing, but now I know that it has to happen sometimes and it is not that big of a deal if you aren't the best all the time. If you are happy with your playing all the time what pushes you to improve? At this moment I'm waiting for the time I turn 40 so I can start competing in masters division. It will take couple more years in Women Open division and I know that the younger girls and ladies are going to dominate there. So the next few years might be more like competing but still having fun but my future goal is to be one of the best in FPM division. So I’m already waiting on the 2020 season.
11) Do you have any pre tournament rituals?
If I don’t know the course I would like to go there and throw some throws. Maybe not play the whole course but at least to see the terrain and is there really bad places where you can lose a disc. So I know if I need to bag extra discs. Sometimes you don't have time to explore the area so there has been few blind rounds and what is funny is that almost every time the blind rounds has been better than the rounds after that. :)
12) What do you do to help grow the sport?
I'm active member of my disc golf club and doing my part as a secretary. I've arranged Lady Tour Hyvinkää competition now three times. It is part of the Finnish Lady Tour series which has become quite popular. There is always a few ladies who are trying this sport first time. It has been nice to arrange that competition and see how easy it is to get good sponsors to that kind of event. We have had also ladies training sessions at summer time for several years now and I'm one of the trainers. I have done disc golf themed fridge magnets and designed disc golf themed calendar. Those I have donated for some of the ladies only competitions.
13) Is there anything else you would like people to know about you that they may not?
In my current work I have had a chance to learn Finnish sign language. In deaf community everyone has or will have their own sign name and I'm so very proud of my sign name which is done like as you toss a disc or like you are putting and it means "throw disc" / "throw Frisbee".
I would like to thank Soile for letting me ask her these questions and for taking the time out of her day to answer them. If you would like to know more about her you can find her on social media and keep up with her through Kastaplast as 2018 rolls in. Look out for more coming soon!
Picture credit goes to Soile Mutikainen