From 2009 till 2010 I did a series interviews of some of the best players, go-getters, organizers and all around important people of our sport at that point. I now bring all of the interviews, for the first time collected, chronologically here on the site. Some of the people are as relevant today as they were back then, others have faded a little, but all of the interviews contain strong opinions, an interesting look into a footbag life and/or great advice about our sport. This week’s interview is with Anssi Sundberg. Here we go:
Anssi Sundberg from Turku, Finland is a passionate footbag player, who mainly plays alone. You can see the passion when you look at his game, he is super technical and has no flipside at all. But it also shows in his hard work for our sport, he has done some of the best video tutorials on a huge variety of tricks and has also done a lot of technical and theoretical thinking and articles about footbag. Anssi might be a man of few words but he has strong opinions and an interesting approach to our sport.
Hey Anz. How are you?
When you first started playing you played with Felix Zenger. In what ways did he influence your game?
I had already learned my basics when we started to play, but for example he taught me to spin. Our games were really different, so I don’t think his influenced mine much.
Finland has a really rad footbag scene. What do you think is different from the finnish footbag scene to the footbag scene in other countries (other than the finnish players likes punk music )?
I don’t like punk. Finland has pretty high level. If you don’t count beginners, everyone plays guiltless. Also the styles vary a lot. I guess we really have good players, since the percentage of BAP-players is the highest in the world here, but that’s also due to the low number of players. The trick selection is also a bit different here. Just the last weekend I spent in Helsinki we told a beginner to avoid doing Stepping Far Legovers, since it’s a North American bail. Sounds harsh, but yeah.
You mentioned BAP (www.bigaddposse.com). What do you think about it? Are you getting in next year?
BAP is a good way to recognise good players and make people remember them even when they stop playing or get out of shape. I got honourable mention for BAP in 2005 and back then I was really enthusiastic about getting it, but nowadays I don’t care anymore. People recognise me already.
This summer Kevin Regamey from Canada visited you and you two travelled around Europe before worlds. How do you know Kevin and how was it to travel with him?
I had never met him before, and only spoke with him online. It was nice travelling with him for a week. We got along alright. The feature I disliked him the most was that he eats bloody slow, and he knows that!
Could you tell a bit more about the trip? Got a couple of good stories up your sleeve?
Catching of the train from Copenhagen to Berlin was quite an adventure. The night before I had been in the Bankeråt bar with Mads Hole and Kevin was in a rave party with the rest of the Danish crew. Kevin didn’t sleep nearly at all and I was hungover the next morning. It took us ages to pack our stuff and bike with broken gear to the station and find the right track. We boarded the train like twenty seconds before it took off.
Could you please give some advice to anybody planning to do a similar trip (in Europe or anywhere else in the world)?
Don’t end the trip to Worlds. If you plan to include Worlds to the trip, start from there. Traveling is very tiring. Also don’t travel with a huge party. The more people you have with you, the more transportation’s you’re going to miss and the more brawls you’re going to have. It’s quite stressing.
You recently posted a huge article on training programs. The article itself is pretty self explanatory (you can read it here: http://modified.in/footbag/viewtopic.php?t=17541) so I won’t ask you about it. But I would like to know a little of insight into how you get the idea to start working on training programs and how the progress was from the first idea till the final article?
Footbag won’t be a professional sport before people start practicing like professionals and actually have a program to follow. I spoke about training programs with a friend of mine who’s been coaching gymnastics, and did some studies from muscle memory and learning. Then I planned a couple of programs for myself and after finishing them it felt like they worked, so I started planning them for others for feedback.
In what ways have training programs helped your game?
In consistency, trick selection, both sidedness and knowledge of my own game.
What training programs are you currently self working on?
I’m just about to start a new program. It includes a lot of symposium toe moves, like Flails and Massacres.
You have also been really into pushing genuine (guiltless without the use of butterfly, pdx mirage and osis). What do you like so much about genuine?
Genuine needs more precision, caution and it’s less forgiving. Guitless is so boring with it’s big tricks and bails. Genuine is more steady and every trick is worth something. Even a Genuine run with no highlights is good, because there’s no easy tricks.
So the most important thing in our sport is pushing the difficulty of our runs?
That is what I think. During the past few year the level of big tricks has gone up, but you don’t really see much difference in general trick selection of normal circle freestyle runs. Some players think that run length is more important than the selection of tricks, but if you do four BOPs in a row in the middle of a 50 contact run, it kinda kills the whole thing.
If you could change one thing about our sport, what would that be?
Less newbies talking about unreachable tricks on forums.
You have done alot for our sport, the training program article, all your trick demonstration videos on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/AnzTrikz) and the pushing of genuine. What is your next project?
I want a highspeed video camera, probably going to purchase it in a couple of months. Then I’ll re-do all the trick tutorial videos. I’m not satisfied with most of them nowadays.
You got a footbag tattoo done on your back not to long ago. Do you have a photo of it we can see?
I do have a footbag tattoo, but I’m not going to show the pic because it would ruin it I think. If anybody wants to see it, rip my shirt off the next time you meet me. Or shred with me.
What made you want to have a footbag on your skin for the rest of your life?
I thought about it for over a year before doing it. The whole sport is a part of all us players, I guess wanted to mark myself forever. When I’m 65 years old and probably won’t have anything to do with footbag anymore, the tattoo is still on my back to remind me of something I spent at least ten hours per week in my twenties.
Is it true that at the sessions in Finland there are sometimes never said a single word?
hah! No but we don’t talk much.
I don’t know, there’s not much to say. We just play. But for example when I show up to sessions in Helsinki, we do talk because we haven’t met for a couple of months. It actually irritates me sometimes when people just talk bullshit and don’t concentrate on the footbag. It’s as irritating as playing with someone who watches other circles while you’re playing. But seriously it’s rude not to even greet someone when you go play with them. But for example when I was in Helsinki last two weeks ago, when I didn’t speak with Mikko for more than two sentences. Not that I wouldn’t like to speak with him, and I surely would have if we weren’t on a session.
What footbag achievement of which you are most proud?
There’s a lot of things I should be proud of, but still so much more to achieve. I’m probably the most proud of being both sided – I may have not been the first one to hit some big tricks or links, but I’m bloody sure that I was the first one to hit them both sides.
Yeah, your both sidedness is amazing. Thanks for the interview Anssi. Let’s do this new thing where you give me a suggestion for a question for the next person I will interview?
What was the last thing you ate?
Haha. Good one. Do you have any shout outs or anything you wanna say to all the people reading this?
That is okay. Thanks for the interview Anssi.
Written by Asmus Helms