disc golf tips

Is Field Work Hurting Your Disc Golf Game?

Is Field Work Hurting Your Disc Golf Game?

Most any dedicated disc golfer will tell you that field work is the basis of their success on the course.  The majority of disc golf clinics have a loose field work structure as well. Field work can help correct common mistakes made on the course. If you’re not familiar with this method, field work is done in a large field, and you’ll typically throw multiple drives or approach shots with various discs to learn their flight pattern and lock in your form. Maybe you throw 5-10 drives to start with. You can throw approaches or putts from each of those initial drives. Maybe you empty your bag, putters and all, to see how far and accurate you can throw.

Another well used method that is recommended by most competitive (or passionate) disc golfers is putting practice. Practice 100 putts a day, work on putting with 90% accuracy, etc. This is an awesome way to get real world experience and prepare you for what you might face on the course.  Putting practice can also be a fun way to find your favorite putter if you’re just starting out.  For beginners, try the Innova Aviar, the Discraft Challenger, or maybe the Dynamic Disc Warden!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repetitive motion activities like field work can fine tune your muscle memory.  There are many factors to consider on any given disc golf shot.  What is the wind doing? What’s the elevation? What disc should I throw?  If we can rely on muscle memory for good form, we can execute all the other things more fully without meticulous concentration. And while repetitive motion may seem like a benefit, it’s important to know that repetitive movement can also lead to future injuries.  Continuous stress on a joint by using similar, uninterrupted movements can lead to inflammation or micro tears in the soft tissue. These injuries, if left untreated, cause loss of flexibility, redness and swelling and may eventually lead to repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel, tendinitis/tennis elbow and possibly even arthritis.

Disc golfers who throw back hand are more susceptible to tennis elbow, which is caused by a backward over extension of the wrist.  Those who throw forehand are more susceptible to golfer’s elbow, which is caused by a forward over extension of the wrist.  Even if disc golf is your main physical activity, you probably experience repetitive movements in your everyday life.Lifting, typing, even walking on your tip toes can be considered repetitive and may harm the joints.

Does this mean we should stop doing field practice and limit our time on the course? Let’s break this down. In 1 round of disc golf, assuming you’re throwing par, you’ll be throwing 54 times. The average throws or putts during field practice is around 100.   So, looking at these numbers, field work is equal or less than a full 18-hole round of disc golf.

But if repetitive motion can be a potential danger to the joints, how can we manage to keep our game AND body in tip-top shape? We work from the inside out. It’s important to create good habits whenever repetitive movement or actions are involved.  If you’re moving your body in the same way over and over it’s beneficial to have good posture and technique. Move with purpose, find a few drills that work for you.  Know what your end goal is before you start.  Are you looking for distance or accuracy? Thinking, and working this way will lower the probability of causing lasting damage to the joints.  Adding counter active stretches to your disc golf routine is another easy way to prevent lasting injury.  This includes extension (lengthening/straightening) and flexion(bending/shortening) of the joints. If you stretch one way, stretch the other. When we use these stretches in our routine we can find full range of motion in each joint. This means that no one part of the joint is overworked and instead, all parts are working together.  Using full range of motion has potential to add distance to your drive as well!

 

Try a nice Cat-Cow stretch, small and large arm circles,side body stretches, or gentle neck circles.  Wrist and ankle rolls feel wonderful after a long day as well.  For more disc golf specific stretches check out “yoga for Disc Golf” classes if you’re in the KC area.

 

 

 

 

 

If injuries occur, let them heal completely! This may seem like a no-brainer, but even if you have a slight injury, take time off from throwing.  Of course, you’ll be itching to play, but the tissues in the body and specifically the joints need time to rejuvenate. Keep stiffness away with Epsom salt baths, saunas, and gentle stretches. You may also wish to use the R.I.C.E method for the first few days after an injury occurs. This is a well-known method for nursing sprains, shin splints or other painful inconveniences, the main goal of this method is to reduce swelling and pain by keeping excess blood flow away from the injury.

Rest- Don’t be afraid to take time off the course! It’s important for the healing process to rest our joints. A few days off the course can be a motivator to revise our mental game. Get back to those positive thoughts and remember the reason we work so hard to improve our physical game in the first place.

Ice-  most beneficial in first days following injuries. Ice will alleviate pain and reduce blood flow and inflammation.

Compression- wrapping the injured joint for extra support,reducing blood flow to the injury.

Elevation– keeping injury at or above heart level when icing, laying or sitting to reduce blood flow to injured joint.

If you struggle with chronic inflammation or stiffness in the knuckles, knees, or any other joints, try using an arnica product. Arnica (found in gels, salves, creams and more) is a wonderful alternative to Ibuprofen gel and is known to reduce swelling, bruising, and soreness. Icing or heating your joints in between rounds is another option for those on a budget.

You can help injuries heal and prepare for success with nutrition.Reach for nutritious foods that won’t weigh you down and keep snacks in your Disc Golf bag. STAY HYDRATED. Dehydration can happen quickly and can cause stiffness in the joints, nausea and dizziness.   A recommendation would be to start increasing your water intake a week before a long tournament.  Start with an extra glass of water each day. If you are someone who detests a plain glass of water, you can add fruit, herbs, flavor drops, or even cucumber to your water. Take caution when adding citrus to water on sunny days. Citrus oils are photo-toxic meaning they can burn skin when exposed to the sun. Keeping your skin hydrated helps tremendously. Your skin is your biggest organ, and your first defense against the elements. Sunscreen before sun exposure, lotion after.

Vitamins are a great way to give your joints some extra love, and make you feel better overall! Vitamin supplements can betaken daily to keep your joints healthy and pain free. Omega-3 and Glucosamine are among the most popular vitamins used but always consult your doctor first.  For a more accessible option, try green tea or ginger extract.  Both are naturally anti-inflammatory and are said to minimize joint pain even in arthritic bodies.

As with all things, strive for balance. Work, recover, prepare, repeat. Field work and putting practice can be great assets when used correctly.  Use correct form to create reliable muscle memory.    Stretch before and after repetitive movement to repair and prepare your joints, muscles, and soft tissue.  Rest your overworked joints and let all injuries heal completely.  Fuel your body with clean foods and lots of water, and don’t forget the sunscreen……and don’t forget to smile!

Five Tips for Being Tournament Ready

Guest article by Crispian Paul

 

Take care of your body

We’ve all heard this before, drink enough water, eat well and get enough rest. Most people need at least 8 cups of  water per day—even more if it’s warm or you’ve been sweating a lot. Also, don’t forget to replace your electrolytes if either of these are true.

Make sure that you are well nourished in the days leading up to and on the day of the event.   Whatever you choose before your round and between rounds, make it something that will sustain you without being too heavy. Then, maybe snack throughout your day to keep your energy up.

Getting enough rest is important in all aspects of life, including disc golf. Sleep allows our bodies to rejuvenate and our cells to regenerate. Try not to play injured and seek medical advice if you must.

Wear your sunscreen and reapply! Also, try to wear  UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses and hats if you are able to tolerate them, as they protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

 

Plan ahead and be prepared

 

 

 

Read the rules and know them. Have access to the PDGA rule book if it is a PDGA event. Scout the course in advance if you can. Know how long it will take you to get there and how long you will need to warm up before check-in or your player’s meeting and be sure you have plenty of gas in your vehicle the night before so you can have a stress-free morning.

Keep an eye on the weather reports for the days leading up to your tournament. No one wants to go play a tournament round in inclement weather without the proper gear. It’s always a good idea to bring plastic bags of varying sizes (for your phone, keys, etc) and multiple towels, even towels to put under your potentially wet or dirty bag at the end of the day. In addition, extra shoes, socks and even clothing can make your rounds and trip home much more comfortable. Try to find out and plan for the course’s unique conditions, (e.g poison ivy, water). Will there be food available nearby for purchase during your lunch period or do you need to pack lunch and snacks?

Plan for what bag additions you would like to have available to you. Some items to consider: Any necessary medication, sunscreen, bug spray, a notebook, extra pencils, hand warmers/gloves/ear covers, an extra mini, a permanent marker, snacks, extra water, a bandana for your face (no one wants to accidentally get poison ivy by using your disc/mud wiping towel to wipe your face!), alcohol wipes or other poison ivy cleanser.

 

Choose your bag wisely

 

First, be sure you  have water, a mini marker, a pencil and a rulebook or access to one, at minimum.  As far as discs, throw what you know and keep it simple. The day of a tournament is not the day to start trying out new discs. Throw your most predictable discs and be sure you have a couple replacements available for your absolute, “must have” discs (just in case). Be sure you have the appropriate discs for the wind conditions. This is where more stable discs will come in handy.

 

Develop a pre-tournament routine that works for you

Most players like to have a quick stretch, and “test out” the wind and warm up their arm with some practice drives in a variety of directions, followed by some upshots and some practice putting.

 

Some like to walk the course, especially if it is one with which they are unfamiliar. Alternatively, some like to at least walk—or even play—trouble holes on a course, such as a narrow in bounds or over water. Finally, some players like to take some quiet time, do some yoga, meditate or listen to music before a round in order to relax. Speaking of being relaxed…  

 

Prepare your mental game

Unless you’re a top professional, and even then, chances are that every person is nervous at least once during a tournament. Practicing and being prepared will all help you keep a positive mental game.

 

Beyond that, having some quiet time, a mantra, meditation, yoga, listening to music you enjoy—these are all relaxation tools for the player. Remind yourself that you are not there to compare yourself to anyone else. In the end, you are there to play the course to the best of your ability and to have fun. You can only throw one shot at a time. If you have a poor shot or play a hole poorly, try not to let it carry over through your rounds.

 

Disc Golf Discs for Beginner Women Players

Disc Golf Discs for Beginner Women Players

Many of us ladies start with discs our guy friends or husbands give us and they’re not always the best option. I want to share an article I wrote back in March 2011 on DiscGolfWomen.com that has been helpful information to other beginner women disc golfers.  I’ve added a few updates to it here.

 

Disc Golf Discs for Women 101

There’s a very large selection of discs to choose from and for new players it can be overwhelming trying to find a disc that you will have success with. There’s really no such thing as a ‘beginners disc’ or a ‘womens disc’ however there are certain characteristics in golf discs to look for that will help your game.

One common mistake women make when we first start playing is to choose a disc because we like the name or because it’s cool or pretty – Or throwing a disc our boyfriend or husband gave us out of their bag. Now that you’ve fallen in love with Disc Golf it’s time to get your own discs. So how do you choose the right discs? Ones that will work for you – not against you?

Here are some tips to help you choose and an explanation of the various disc characteristics you’ll come across.

Disc Weight

Disc golf discs typically range from 130 grams to 175 grams, and sometimes up to 180g. Disc weights are usually written on the bottom of discs. Lighter discs will allow beginning women players to achieve more distance and better control. Look for 150 class weights and up to the low 160’s. Keep in mind though that not all discs are available in the lower weights. You might also find that you are more comfortable with a lighter weight driver but a bit heavier mid-range or putter.

Disc Types

There are a wide variety of discs used in disc golf and they are generally divided into three categories: putters, all-purpose mid-range discs, and drivers.

  • Drivers

Drivers are usually recognized by their sharp bevelled edge and have most of their mass concentrated on the outer rim of the disc rather than distributed equally throughout. Drivers are often divided into different categories.

For example, Innova discs divides their discs into Distance Drivers and Fairway Drivers, with a fairway driver being somewhere between a distance driver and a mid-range disc.

Discraft divides their drivers into 3 categories: Long Drivers, Extra Long Drivers and Maximum Distance Drivers.

Drivers are generally the most difficult to control, but also the longest flying.

Fairway drivers have a lower speed and are easier to control. They are also an excellent first driver choice for beginners until your strength and disc control increases. The higher speed drivers have a wider rim so if you have smaller hands like I do it’s hard to get a good grip on them. If you’re fortunate enough to have a disc golf retailer near you, go in and touch and feel the plastic. Make sure the rim is not too wide.

 

  • Mid-Range

These discs are slower and more accurate than drivers- they tend to have a more stable and predictable flight path. Typically used for closer range shots to the basket when a driver is just too much and will help you park it under the basket vs. throwing past it.

You’ll want to have a mid-range you are comfortable with because you will find yourself using it frequently during a round. Some players will even use their mid-range as a driver in certain situations such as for short drives where trees or other obstacles come into play.

  • Putt and Approach

They are the slowest and shortest flying of the disc types. Used to hit the chains and put it in the basket. That cha-ching sound- it never gets old! Also used for making short controlled upshots.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your putter. Ladies, sinking your putts can help give you an advantage over the guys. Sure, most guys will out drive you from the teepad, but putting is on a more level playing field. Putting is not about power- its all about confidence and accuracy. So find a putter you like- then buy several in the same model so you can practice.

 

Disc Speed

Different drivers will have a different level of speed- For example Innova offers drivers from a speed of 8-13 and fairway drivers in the 6-7 speed range. Discs advertised as having a high speed are usually made for advanced players with high power.

As a beginner keep in mind that a higher speed disc will not necessarily help you throw farther. This is because you need to work on control and increasing your power first. Be patient- this comes in time.

Disc Stability

Like clubs in ball golf, the various types of disc golf discs are designed to travel on a specific flight paths. The disc’s flight characteristic is defined by the term stability. This is why some discs will go right and some will go left.

A simple explanation of this can be found on InnovaDiscs.com

Brief Description of Terms…

  • Stability is a description of the disc’s flight path.
  • Understable means a flight that turns right . (Anhyzer)
  • Stable is a flight that doesn’t turn.
  • Overstable refers to a flight that turns left . (Hyzer)

Additional advice from Discraft suggests that “as you gain experience and get to know how your discs fly under different circumstances, you’ll want to experiment with additional discs and stabilities to see which ones fit your style and fill additional needs in your bag.”

My advice on stability for beginning women players? Since beginners tend to throw discs at lower speeds, choosing a disc that is stable to slightly understable is your best bet.

 

Types of Disc Plastic

In researching the best way to explain the various types of plastic that discs are made of I found the best explanation given by Blake Takkusen of DiscGolfReview.com. In his article he states, “a general rule is, the more expensive the plastic, the smoother it is. Smoother plastic has less air friction. What this translates into is that higher end plastics will make discs faster and less controllable. Faster discs require more power to throw them well, have less glide, fly more overstable, and do not fly as far. Also, smoother discs are more difficult to flatten from a hyzer, turn over, and more difficult to make fly straight.

The best plastics to start out with are generally the less expensive plastics with more air friction. While these are generally the least durable, they also break in fairly well and will actually fly farther and be easier to control for newer players. Innova’s DX plastic, Discraft’s Elite X (their mid-level), Gateway’s S, Millennium’s standard (non-Quantum), etc. will probably give the best results for those who are still developing their technique and do not yet have power to spare.”

I tend to agree. Cost is another reason it’s best to avoid purchasing discs in premium plastics as a beginner. Instead, buy cheaper discs in basic plastics and play until you are comfortable with a certain disc model. Some vendors may even offer used discs. This way if you don’t like the disc, you can try a different one without having spent too much.

 

Cost of Discs

New disc golf discs typically cost between $7 and $25 depending on the model of the disc and the disc plastic. Basic disc plastics like the Innova DX line are relatively inexpensive but wear quickly.

Discs in premium disc plastics like the Discraft Elite Z line and Innova Star plastic usually cost at least $15 but these plastics are extremely durable and will resist damage when they hit trees and other obstructions.

 

Our Top Picks for Beginning Women: (updated list for 2015)

Overall we recommend that women new to disc golf start with lighter weight discs in the ‘stable’ range that will fly straight and have good glide. Choosing too heavy a disc or more overstable discs will tend to be more difficult to control and can lead to frustration.

A good starter set would consist of 3 discs- a driver, a mid-range and a putter. Start out with the basic , less expensive DX type plastic at first. It will help keep your investment low while you play with the different discs and discover the specific discs that are best for you. After you are comfortable with a certain disc, consider purchasing a premium type plastic of that same disc model that will not wear as quickly.

Drivers: 139 – low 160 weights

Latitude 64, Diamond  (very popular with the ladies!)

Latitude 64, Jade

Innova Leopard, DX

Innova Leopard, Starlite

Innova Valkrie, DX

Innova Valkrie, StarLite

Innova Teebird, DX (also great in the wind- try one in a lighter weight and one in the 160’s range as a backup for those really windy days)

Discraft Cyclone, Pro D

Discraft Avenger SS

Discraft Stratus, Pro D

Mid-Range: 150-165 weight

Latitude 64, Pearl

Innova Roc, DX

Innova Shark, DX

Innova Cobra, DX

Discraft Buzz, Pro D

Discraft Comet, Elite X

Putters:

Putters are much more of a personal preference for any disc golfer. Because of that, I’ll just list some of the more popular and widely used putters below.  As you play more, you may find you use 2 or 3 different putters depending on the shot or conditions. Once you find a putter that fits you and that you are confident in, buy several of them in the same weight- I like to have them all in the same color too 🙂

Innova Classic Aviar

Innova Classic Roc

Innova Rhyno

Latitude 64 Ruby (recommended putter for Junior Girls)

Discraft Magnet, Pro D

Discraft Soft Magnet, Pro D

 

 

Article References

  • Original article on DiscGolfWomen.com  March 2011  author: Rhonda Crosby
  • InnovaDiscs.com
  • Discraft.com
  • Article on DiscGolfReview.com author: Blake Takkusen

Disclaimers:

I mention 2 of the most popular Disc Golf disc companies, Innova and Discraft primarily throughout this article. These are the discs that I started with years ago and are most widely known but there are many more companies that have come along since then … Latitude 64, Westside, Dynamic Discs, and Prodigy are just a few.

Have you found a disc that you feel makes a good fit for beginning women players?

Share you’re experience and tips:

 

 

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