How do you expect to play well if you’re not actually ready to play well? A proper warmup before a round ensures that your mind and body are ready to perform at the best of your abilities. When preparing for a competition at any level it’s important to give yourself the best opportunity of being successful. An effective warmup routine will increase your chances overall.
Here are five essential tips for an effective warmup that is focused on tournament preparation, but this routine can absolutely be adjusted for any type of event or practice rounds. This can be applied to your daily routine in order to properly get you and your body ready for a round of Disc Golf at any level.
1) Give Yourself Time
During the morning of a tournament I never want to feel rushed in anyway. Otherwise it really affects the sequence of events to follow throughout the rest of the day. I want to know my exact tee time the following day and plan my day accordingly, to make certain that I give myself plenty of time to prepare before the start of my round. Most professional players like to show up for tournaments a minimum of an hour before their tee time but even more than an hour is never out of question.
The reason for that is so it can allow them to loosen up, stretch, or get any kinks out of their form and throwing motion. It’s really about getting the mind and body ready to perform. This is also time that you can utilize to mentally prepare for the round by analyzing the current situation within the event. Such as, the stroke differential between players, the current or expected weather conditions and focusing on what you need to do to play your best. Adjust accordingly to make sure you’re ready for what Disc Golf literally throws at you.
You’re typically going to score better given enough time to properly prepare then just jumping out of the car and teeing off on hole 1. You always need to respect the process and give yourself enough time to do so.
2) Stretch It Out
Stretching is a very essential pre-round preparation that should never be overlooked but often is by many players. Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of the muscles. The main reason for stretching in any sport is to prepare the body for an athletic activity. There are many benefits which include increased flexibility, additional range of motion, improved circulation, and better body coordination. It has proven to enhance overall athletic performance.
I really like to stretch the body out, lengthen the muscles and get them ready for the round. It’s important that you never stretch cold muscles so I like to warmup with a light jog before I start stretching. A proper stretching routine reduces the chance of pulling something or possibly injuring yourself while throwing.
I recommend that you must get your body ready to perform before heading out to play a practice round, play a tournament round or if you’re just going out to practice distance drives in the field. I mainly focus on stretches that incorporate the shoulders, triceps, torso (core), lower back, hips, hamstrings and calves. Always make sure that you never over stretch or hyper stretch anything at this point. It’s all about preparing the body for the round ahead.
In this article, “Training for Disc Golf”, I wrote a list of specific stretches that I do to get ready before a round.
3) Playing Catch
The absolute best way to dial in your short game is to play catch. There’s nothing better for replicating the process of the approach. It’s something that I recommend that every player does in preparation before each round. Playing catch allows you to get a feel for the disc with the release heights, angles, lines and power. Plus playing catch is going to provide lots more throwing repetitions to save you on having to pick up and retrieve shots after throwing.
I recommend that you use the exact discs that you use for approaching, a well seasoned putter is usually my disc of choice. Then when it comes time to throw approach shots of similar distances during the round it’s going to feel like second nature. You’re going to be able to relate back to your warmup preparation and even envision the basket as the player that you were playing catch with before the round.
4) Dial In the Drives
Now that your muscles are nice and warmed up, I like to move on to field work. It’s very difficult to have your drivers dialed-in without a proper warmup throwing session before the start of the round. It’s important to work on just your distance drivers but don’t forget to work with your fairway drivers as well. And not just on your backhand drives but also on your forehand drives because you know that you’re going to be throwing a few of those when the time is right.
Ideally, you will have a large practice field to throw in because it’s obviously very effective to watch the discs flight to see how they are flying that day. I’ve even eluded the issue when the field situation was less than satisfactory by throwing my drivers into the ground or a hillside. That will actually save you time in collecting them because essentially all that you’re trying to do is get your throwing motion warmed up.
Always start with a few sessions of shorter throws first before boosting to full power drives. If you have been putting in the practice time lately, you should already know exactly how your discs fly. But if you’re limited on space you might be forced to dial back the distance a bit by just throwing your midrange discs.
5) Get that Putter Hot
Now this is a warmup routine that could easily make or break your round. You better make sure that putter is hot before taking it to the course. This is no time to change things up but to go with what you already know. Things that you’ve developed through countless hours of practice leading up to this event. It’s a time to familiarize yourself with the actual motion. Even if you have to remind yourself of the proper form to perform the ultimate goal of putting the disc in the basket.
A few simple things that you might want to remind yourself of is having good upright posture, a balanced stance, a fluid weight shift from back to forward and full commitment to the putt. Always remember “to putt through the basket, not just to it” meaning that you want to drive the putter into the chains with good velocity to ensure complete execution.
Bonus: Don’t Skip Breakfast
You’ve heard many times before as breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day, and rightfully so. Breakfast provides important daily nutrients such as protein, fiber, calcium and carbohydrates, but it also helps improve athletic performance on the course. You need to have fuel in the tank to keep the machine running as you don’t want to be caught running on fumes halfway through the first round.
Eating breakfast has several benefits for the mental and physical health of an athlete including increased energy and focus. I typically like to eat light meals anytime that I’m preparing for a round but especially when it’s the first meal of the day. I don’t like to have a full stomach when I’m on the course. It usually makes me feel very slow as opposed to feeling a little quicker when I’ve eaten lighter.
My ideal breakfast before a tournament is oatmeal with almond butter, banana and honey. For me, it’s the ultimate high energy morning meal. It’s got carbs for sustained energy from the oats, the high protein from the almond butter, essential vitamins and minerals from the banana and honey. If you haven’t tried it yet it’s something that I highly recommend, you never know it could become your go-to tournament day breakfast of choice. And always remember to consume plenty of fluids with breakfast to avoid dehydration. Eat like a Champion, play like a Champion!
The writer is a household name in disc golf. A face for the whole sport. Avery has been touring professionally since 2000 with great results, the brightest being his 2009 Disc Golf World Champion title. Avery is also known to be one of the longest arms in disc golf distance, with 3 US Distance Champion titles under his belt.
Besides being one the top pro players in our sport today, Avery is well recognized as a true ambassador of the sport. He’s played disc golf in almost every US state. Outside the US, he's played in countries like Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Germany. At Discmania, Avery is responsible for the Deep in the Game clinics, and he goes around the world educating players on how to become better in the sport of disc golf. He's also our Discmania Combine host responsible for evaluating players trying to make it to Team Discmania. Furthermore, Avery also works as a Disc Golf World Tour expert commentator.