So the lower temps and bitter winds have done their job and put your mind and body in hibernation mode for the time being. Your spirit and your desire are begging you to go play a round but your body, especially your appendages scream otherwise any time they're exposed to the tundra like elements, so you listen to that little voice inside your head and put your discs, and gear away for the time being while daydreaming of a time not too far from now when the weather will be amicable, the grass will be green, the sky will be clear, and the birds, and birdies will sing all day…
LOL… no dude.
That all sounds well and good but this is the part of the year where you are meant to start putting in some work on one of the most, if not The Most, important part of the game. Putting.
If you haven’t noticed by now most leagues, and clubs are hosting putting nights either one or more times a week where you and your crew will compete by working to drain putts from various distances. They usually work with local shops, restaurants, breweries, or other disc golf supporting venues to create a night that you can hang out, have fun, make memories and not get too rusty. In any given night you can get an extra 25, 50 even 100 or more extra reps in, all while earning points or prizes and making memories with cool people. The key here is not that you’re just hanging out (although that’s definitely a perk!) but it’s more so the fact that you’ll be getting better each time you do.
Plus with these type of reps, it usually means you’ll have to experiment with different types of putters, meaning if you haven’t quite found your money maker yet, trying new ones will make you a better player overall.
Now we know what you’re saying, “But guys, I’m not part of a league” or, “There isn’t a putting night where I live,” and you might be right, we get that. Contrary to popular belief not all parts of the country have an active disc golf community, especially the smaller towns, but there are still plenty of ways you can improve your game in the cold winter months whether you’re part of group or flying solo dolo.
Putt into a cage... or into a couch (5-10 minutes/day)
Have a back yard but no cage? Perfect. Have no backyard but have a cage? Perfect. Have no back yard and no cage? Perfect.
The goal here is to find a target, any target that won’t damage your discs, and an area where nothing will break if you miss. For a long time after we stopped paying for cable we would come home and be a little bored. We’d stream stuff, work on the business, or play games but every once in awhile we needed a good disc golf break, and that’s where the couch came into play. We would stand about 20 feet away or more, and pick a cushion that represented the target area and then we'd just get down on some putting for about 20-30 throws. Sounds silly you say? Well that's because it is… until we got out to the course and started mentally telling ourselves “It’s just like putting on the couch,” and then watched as our circle, and confidence, grew and grew and grew. Obviously you can replace the couch for a cage if you got it, and head outside if weather permits but you get the idea. This is one of those things where if it feels/looks stupid, but it actually works, then it’s not actually stupid.
Focus on your cardio and your core (20-30 min/day)
How many times have you played a full round only to start feeling a little winded at about hole 12? Not often? Oh… yeah...uh... us neither.
Seriously though, it makes sense to keep your body in good condition anyway, but especially if you’re gonna be stuck in doors. One of the easiest ways to do that is to focus on your cardio and overall activity. If you’re a regular gym rat, then we’re not talking to you. If your usual breakfast is two cups of coffee and a cigarette we’re talking to you. If you’re somewhere in between like us, then you could probably benefit from this info too.
The off season is a time to work on strengthening the muscles, joints and bones that take a beating during the regular season, your hips, shoulders, knees, and back, plus all the other areas we’re forgetting.
Exercises like planks, and sit ups will work to strengthen your core and also help to support your back. It’s kind of the way a suspension bridge works except the suspension from your stomach/core is helping to alleviate stress on your back.
Exercises like ghost jump ropes, and jumping jacks on the other hand are a good way to give your lungs, and heart a good workout without the need for a lot of space and no additional equipment.
Moves like body weight lunges and squats help to grow and condition your knees, core and hips which are required to obtain maximum distance off the tee. You want your "glutes" to fire don't ya?
The best part is that all these moves can be done a lot or a little depending on your fitness level and will improve your performance when you're ready to hit the links. The key here is to work on getting your heart rate up and get a little sweat going. Your body will thank you and so will your score.
Read, watch, or listen (5-20+ min/day)
We know what you’re thinking, “Why would I study disc golf?” Here’s why... It’s Disc Golf, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re studying. Boom.
Now we don’t mean college cramming type of stuff, we just mean getting your daily disc golf fix through some other form versus going out to actually play.
There are resources everywhere you look from YouTube videos of tournament coverage, blogs (**cough cough**), books, video tutorials, podcasts, social media forums and more that you can use to up your performance when the weather isn’t great.
You could watch a video tutorial on gaining distance, or just catch a review on the latest disc to come out from Innova. You can read a little from the Zen and the Art of Disc Golf series and learn how to make the most of each round, or you could listen to a podcast while you’re at work that talks about rules, players, plastics, and more all while pursuing your passion of pinpointing the perfect putt while passing the time until peak season. (That my friends is alliteration)
Or you could just watch a little of last years awesome tournament coverage just to see how the pros decide their lines, and handle difficult lies/shots. Heck you could even sign up for one of those new subscription services that sends you Disc Golf gear and swag every month and get the thrill of supporting small disc golf businesses while getting some sweet plastic too! ;)
Even if you only do some of this stuff a few times a week you’re still going to get better, and that Tribe, is the ultimate goal for any sport’s off season. ‘Til next time guys! -A.M.