Three levels of warming up
Do you warm up before the round? How, why and why not?
"Let's skip the warm up, who goes first?" - Sounds familiar?
Warming up divides opinions. Some never miss it, others never do it. In this article I'll present you with three levels and three reasons for warming up before your first throw.
Level 1: Longevity
"Don't wreck yourself."
The first reason for warming up is to prevent injuries. However, the content and the duration of the warm up depends greatly on what you are preparing for, and who's doing it.
In any case, you should start by simply raising your heart rate. You can, for example, jog the last bit to the starting hole, or do whatever you like as long as it makes you breath heavy.
The most important thing for injury prevention is to open, and at the same time check the range of motion of various joints. Best way to achieve that is to perform ballistic and active stretching (a combination of isometric tension and stretch). It will only take a couple of minutes.
Warming up becomes increasingly important as you become better at throwing. Throwing further means throwing faster, which is a consequence of moving faster with larger range of motion. Big, fast movements carry a risk of injury, and injuries can keep you out of the game for a long time. You'll want to do everything in your power to prevent them.
Level 2: Reliability
"Play at your own level."
The second reason for warming up is to prepare your nervous system, which includes your mind. If you have just woken up - from sleep or from a job where you sit down the whole day, you won't be able to play at your own level right away.
In this part of the warm up you'll perform movements that simulate your form: backhand, forehand and their parts. Feel free to focus on the details now. But, as soon as the round starts we'll stop thinking about the form and simply focus on the game.
You may warm up your putt by actually putting towards the basket, but remember that the discs don't have to go in. On the other hand, I don't recommend warming up the throw by immediately throwing drives.
- Hold on, why not?
When you warm up with drives, your attention is naturally and automatically fixed on the flight of the disc, and what we wanted was to warm up our form. Keeping your mind on the form is especially hard when every throw is performed with a different disc.
The second challenge is the number of repetitions you'll get. To effectively warm up your form you'll need a lot of reps at a high rate. Unless you happen to be at the teepad alone, and boasting a handsome stack of similar moulds that will be difficult to achieve.
For these reasons, warming up "during the round" or "on the front 9" is discouraged. If you want to improve your average score, you'll want to warm up before starting your round.
Level 3: Progress
"Improve your form."
When your form is based on, or being built with exercises and drills the role of warming up can transform from maintenance into something that supports your progression.
At this level you'll use the exercises and associated mental cues to remind your mind and body of what you are currently working on. This will align yourself with your form goals and make improvement possible even when you are not actively practicing.
Warming up as a tool
Warming up is not meant for just the weak, old or previously injured players. It's a powerful tool for improving your score and training results. It is something no player should overlook.
Your warm up routine allows you to plan and direct your own training from the outside, just like a coach would.