If you pay attention to the European Pro Tour scene, you likely have seen Anneli in action. If you haven’t been watching, you might still recognize her by her signature pink hair and highlight throws.
Anneli crushed it this year, landing in the top 3 for all but two of the European Pro Tour stops. Combining consistent play with hard work and a positive mental attitude, Anneli secured the 2023 European Pro Tour Champion title!
We at Discmania are extremely proud to have Anneli on the team not only for her excellent play, but for what she has to offer those looking to compete at the highest level.
How She Started
Anneli started playing disc golf in 2015 when some friends introduced her to the sport. To her surprise, she quickly became obsessed.
“At some point, I was playing four rounds a day and it still felt like it wasn’t enough.”
Looking at Anneli’s game now, it makes sense that she started out as a sidearm only player. Over her first two years of playing, she developed her backhand game slowly and found herself drawn to competition. As a naturally competitive person, she tested the waters of tournaments as early as 2016. She recalls placing third in the Estonian Winter Championships as a major turning point towards higher levels of play.
“I played at the Estonian Winter Championships in 2017 and placed third. After that I knew so much hard work was ahead, but I was determined to get better and compete more.”
Making the Team
Diving further into competition, Anneli found herself on Team DiscSport in 2017 which springboard her to Team Discmania in 2019. She gives much thanks to Rene Mengel of DiscSport for recommending her to Team Discmania, and shows much gratitude for the opportunities presented to her.
“I want to thank everyone who has cheered me on in my disc golf journey, or helped me to get better at this. It's not always easy, but find something in life that will bring sparks to your eyes and don't give up on your dreams - whatever they are. Just because someone says you can't, doesn't mean that you have to quit.”
Anneli wanted to make sure that message reached anyone reading this article.
Training for Success
Anneli takes a very holistic approach to training both her body and mind. Much of her physical training focuses on building her mental toughness at the same time. Her typical off-season training sessions last 3 to 4 hours to simulate the length of tournament rounds. Focusing on extended cardio such as skiing or running allows her body to remain energized during rounds, which ultimately keeps her mind sharp.
“We all have skills, but in the end it matters who has the best mentality.”
Even during her putting practice, she focuses more on the mental aspect than the physical results. Being fearless on the putting green is crucial to her, never afraid to commit or hit a comeback putt. She trains her concentration beyond exhaustion, just like she would exercising her body.
“It's like with muscles - they grow when you make them push more than you think they can. It's the same with concentration.”
Becoming European Champion
Combining her passion for disc golf competition with rigorous off-season training brought her success this year. Anneli notes that competition in Estonia and Europe in general has been huge, crediting fellow Estonian, Kristin Tattar, for inspiring so many FPO players to strive to be better.
Armed with her trusty Horizon DD1 and Tactic, Anneli finished the European Pro Tour with a total of 335 points - 15 points above the next competitor, Heidi Laine. Though this is a monumental achievement, she’s not satisfied and is already looking to the future.
“It feels amazing. Some part of me is very sad that I didn't win any stage of EPT, but my other side is very proud of myself for that achievement. I understand that wins are important, but for me stability means more at this point. It's showing that I'm doing the right thing. I may be slow with my development, but I will get there.”
Congratulations to Anneli on this amazing achievement!
What’s Next for Anneli
Obviously Anneli is not content to remain where she is in her competitive disc golf career. She has aspirations to play in the Disc Golf World Championships and tour as much as she can.
“Don't believe in luck, believe in hard work. Nothing comes easily, one step at a time. Slow progress is still progress - don't give up!”
We know she won’t be giving up. Armed with a hard working mentality and a passion for being the best she can be, we believe the best of Anneli Tõugjas-Männiste is yet to come.
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