A warmup is essential for a good round of disc golf. There's a reason your first throw and putt of a round isn't usually your best shot. Your body isn't ready for it and you're not sure about how the wind is or how your discs are flying today. People blame their first shot on many things, “jitters” is usually the word I hear. Developing a warm-up routine will help lower those scores and get rid of those jitters.
I hope my mom doesn't read this article and bring up all those times in swim meets where I used to climb out of the pool and skip warmup, because 8 year old me made 29 year old me a hypocrite.
Warming up is important for tournament play, but it will help if you warm up for casual rounds as well as you’ll develop confidence in your game. It takes time to do a proper warm up, and you get out of it what you put in. If you chug a red bull in the parking lot and head to the first tee without a warm up shot, I don’t predict you’ll be birdieing that hole.
Here’s an example of what 5X World Champ Paul McBeth does for his warm up for a tournament. You don’t have to follow his routine, but think about how he only takes 18-36 putts a round and he warms up with over 150 of them. He also doesn’t drive as hard as he can 20 times and wear himself out before the round starts.
The most important thing you can do is instill confidence in yourself before the round. When I warm up the first thing I do is make two, 5 footers. I want to hear that familiar sound of chains banging as I warm-up. I’ve never missed those first two 5 footers and I (hopefully) never will. It’s a little boost before the round and I think it’s important for me as a confidence builder.
Your warmup should be specific to you, and not focus too much on other players around you. My first tournament I was so shocked by people taking 40 foot putts that I started to do it too. I missed almost every one of them and had very little confidence going into my round.
I’m sure that those people who take long putts do that every tournament and it’s part of their warm-up routine. If that’s what works for you then stick to it! Your routine could involve any number of disc related activities, stretching, jogging, or even calisthenics. You can even incorporate some useful tools specifically made for warming up, such as the FlighTowel. It’s all about what gets you ready for your round.
If you’re looking for a place to start here’s my take on it. Make the putts that you think you can make, then give yourself little testers. Be sure to take breaks and walk around. Say hi to other people and laugh. We all play because we love the sport. Keeping loose and building focus seem like contradictory ideas but they go hand in hand. Get mentally ready so that when your round starts your body feels great and your head game is strong.
Do you have any tournament or pre round warm up tips? Is there a specific thing you think I missed? Please comment below, your advice could help someone out.
May your discs miss all the trees,