Kaidi Allsalu: I remember feeling a certain peace after the birth of my first child

Kaidi Allsalu: I remember feeling a certain peace after the birth of my first child

Being a mother to two young ones is no easy feat. But for Kaidi Allsalu, it's just one aspect of her life. Alongside parenthood and family life, she thrives as a professional disc golfer. How does she manage it all? Let's find out!

You've won the Estonian Winter Championships three years in a row. What did your preparation look like for both the winter season and the upcoming one? How much time do you dedicate to perfecting your throwing form and putt repetitions?

During the first half of winter, I usually don't play much, but after New Year's, I found myself back on the course. As the championships approached, I practiced on the championship course several times. Now that March is here and the snow conditions are getting better, I can start making deliberate throw practices on the field. During winter, I attended Silver Lätt's putting training once a week, and I also kept my putt warm at home all the time. We have a tarp installed in the garage where we can easily practice throws, but putting definitely got more repetitions and hours in during the winter than throwing.

You're also known as a very confident player with strong mental game. What's your key to a strong mental game? Do you have any tips for other players?

I am quite modest and don't boast too much about myself, but it's nice to know that I've caught attention with such strength. I made my first acquaintance with disc golf back in 2014, and I feel that over time, the mental aspect has simply gotten better. What I feel works for me is that at home, my husband and I discuss various aspects of disc golf a lot, and these conversations are always very inspiring, and each time I realize that I do know a thing or two about the game. Secondly, I listen a lot to what the best players say and keep it in mind, and if necessary, apply it. We all have moments when the mental side isn't at its best, but good self-talk can work wonders in such moments. As Kristin Tattar has said, you have to be good to yourself :) I've also read quite a bit about the golf mindset.

How much do you set goals? 

This question will now receive a fairly boring answer. I usually don't loudly proclaim my goals, but the general goal in disc golf is to engage in it as much as possible and simply enjoy the whole thing.

You're also a mother to two children. How much does being a mother affect your disc golf game?

Motherhood generally doesn't affect training much; both of my children already in kindergarten. When they were babies, we took the stroller on the course, and nothing has been left undone. Compiling the competition calendar, though, is quite an undertaking and requires thorough negotiations with my huband. But since I'm currently a contractual player and I also have my own obligations, it's a bit easier in that regard. And perhaps one argument in my favor is also my skill level. Sometimes the older child asks why I'm going again!? The younger one, on the other hand, gladly plays as well. But when they see Mom on TV, they're both very excited :)

How long were you away from disc golf, and how long did it take you to get back to your throwing and competitive form?

I had my children in 2015 and 2020. With the first pregnancy, I initially took a break until the baby started moving in my belly, but with the second child, I played throughout the pregnancy. Basically from the course straight to the hospital. With the first child, I returned to the course about a month later, and with the second child, three weeks later. I had planned to play doubles with Kristin, but had to inform her at the last moment that I couldn't participate. I kept my eye on the results through discgolfmetrix while throwing putters in the woods. The throw comes back relatively quickly, and just like riding a bike, once you've learned it, you don't easily forget it. You just have to find the feeling a bit.

Kaidi congratulating Kristin Tattar at the European Disc Golf Festival. Mauri Levandi photo.

Kaidi congratulating Kristin Tattar at the European Disc Golf Festival. Mauri Levandi photo.

Do you remember what position you held in the Estonian disc golf scene and how had the competition changed when you returned to the game?

I can't say from what position I left, but I definitely came back better than before. New names had emerged during the Covid period, which means a lot for the sport. In my opinion, the driving force is when the sport is highly competitive.

Were there any worries or thoughts in this process about what your future 'career' would look like? Did you surprise yourself when you started climbing to the top of Estonia with such momentum, or was that your clear goal and it just came to you easily?

I've done a lot of sports during school and competed a lot, and what attracted me to disc golf is that I can compete and train again without killng myself physically every time. Basically achieving more with seemingly less effort. As the years go by, the reality that you actually need to do things consciously and purposefully has set in. I haven't specifically thought about it as a career, but rather I've been going with the flow, as things started going better and better. I really enjoy competing and the whole process that takes place during the competition round is so captivating, and it all depends on you. Maybe all this has come so "easily" from my previous sports background, good coordination, and thirst for competition.

What are the main concerns or challenging aspects when raising two children? How do you divide training and competitions, since your husband  Andres also plays disc golf? What does your competition season calendar planning look like?

I feel like I'm lying if I say that there aren't any major difficulties. But really, thinking about it a bit, there really aren't many major concerns that come to mind. Of course, there are small concerns, but we can overcome those difficult moments relatively easily. If both want to play, compromises need to be made, and I would like to believe that Andres also thinks that we manage quite well with it. A huge thank you goes to our great parents and aunts who help us a lot with the children when we want to do something together, whether it's disc golf-related or not. As I mentioned earlier, planning the calendar is quite a complex negotiation art. I suggest things, and then we discuss. First, I write down what I definitely need to participate in, and the rest starts to revolve around that.

Kaidi and Andres Allsalu at the European Disc Golf Festival. Mauri Levandi photo

Kaidi and Andres Allsalu at the European Disc Golf Festival. Mauri Levandi photo.

What are your strengths in disc golf?

I would like to think that putting and increasingly also mental readiness. But I feel that different elements shine at different times during the season.

Has being a mother given you any extra strength that you can use to your advantage on the playing green?

I remember feeling a certain peace after the birth of my first child. I used to be rather fiery before, but then started to accept things more. I still have those outbursts, but I can appreciate what I'm sacrificing to play and that I've been allowed to do it. I'm grateful for being alive, healthy, and being able to do something you love.

Among the top players in Estonia, there are very talented and exemplary mothers both in terms of sports and parenting. What thoughts would you give to other future mothers who also enjoy playing or practicing disc golf?

Take your child along! If the course isn't very crowded, it's great to have kids with you. And if there is a support network, use it.

You're starting your season in the USA, reportedly the decision came quite last minute, and there's a nice story attached to it. Tell us more.

We participated in the Estonian Independence Day competition organized by Kristin and Silver at Jõulumäe, where the holes are usually short and fun. The competition included evening activities in the sand hall, and during a conversation, Andres announced that if I score -13 tomorrow, I can go to the US. When compiling the calendar, we also considered going to the US in March for a long time, but we dismissed the idea, so Andres's offer didn't come completely out of the blue. On the last hole,  I knew I had to g a tebirdie, and luckily it was an easy hole, I did it, and the trip to America is already at the doorstep. I'm extremely happy to be participating in my third USWDGC.