This week we’re going to address a critical piece of playing disc golf, and especially tournaments, in the winter weather – staying warm. Keeping feeling in your hands is a critical piece of throwing to the best of your ability. When your hands freeze up you can lose a lot of moisture in your skin, which affects how well the disc “grips” in your hand compared to nicer weather; you will probably feel like your hand in general is not as dexterous (if you can even “feel” the disc well at all, depending on how cold you are); and overall you’ll just be fighting the discomfort throughout the day.

Staying warm starts, of course, by dressing properly. You shouldn’t go out on a 10-degree day in your mesh-top trail running shoes, a pair of jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt. Dress in layers and try to be mindful of what you may be able to shed during the day if you happen to get too warm during a round. Just as being too COLD can hinder your play, getting overheated can also have adverse effects on your game. Waterproof boots, gaiters, thermal/UnderArmor style layers, merino wool socks, gloves, etc: just plan for what you may encounter and try to dress accordingly.

Hand/foot warmers are a great way to keep the chill out of your extremities, especially your throwing hand. You can often buy hand warmers at your local pharmacy or home improvement store in 2-packs for around $1 each, with many brands advertising 8-10 hours of warmth. They don’t get so hot as to burn you, even if they sit right on your skin all day, they can mean a world of difference.

As far as gloves go, the decision seems to boil down to personal preference. Many players prefer to keep a glove on their non-throwing hand all day, and either keep taking the glove off their throwing hand whenever it’s their turn to play or opt to keep their throwing hand in a pocket. Sometimes you may find that if your throwing hand starts to sweat in your glove, it’s going to feel that much colder when you take it out and expose it to the elements. Do that 50+ times in one round, perhaps over more than 1 round in a day, and it can get fairly uncomfortable. Plus, every time you take the glove off you risk losing it or accidentally dropping it into the snow. This is where if you DO opt to keep your throwing hand out of a glove all day, the afore-mentioned hand warmers may be a great idea to stick in your pocket.

At all costs, avoid sticking your throwing hand into snow! Players not used to playing in snow often find themselves constantly picking up their discs out of the snow, to then find their hand cold and/or wet. Focus on picking up discs with your non-throwing hand, and you will reduce the number of factors you have to battle during the day. If you’ve made it a good deal of the day keeping your throwing hand warm and comfortable before sticking it in a snowbank, you could find the sudden cold and excess moisture extremely difficult to content with as you try and take your next shot(s).

All of the above are just a few simple tips, and obviously this is by no means a comprehensive list. Most players develop their own strategies for playing in different conditions whether it’s rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures, wind, or blisteringly hot days. Through trial and error, and listening to the advice of others, you will slowly develop and realize your own preferences for playing in different conditions as well.

Got any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Want to expand on something touched upon here? Feel free to leave a comment on this post! Tune in next week for more tournament Tips & Tricks… see you then!