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Setting Yourself Up for Success in Wet Conditions

By Nicholas Wilson | 11/02/2021
Setting Yourself Up for Success in Wet Conditions

Wet conditions on the disc golf course are challenging. They come in all shapes and sizes from morning dew to torrential downpours. Who really wants to play in the rain? The key is to be prepared and diligent in executing your game plan. This article will give you the tools necessary to be successful in adverse conditions. After all, the goal in wet conditions is to stay dry and simply lose fewer strokes than your opponents.

What type of round are you playing? Is this a tournament or a casual round or something in between? These factors all come into play as to how you prepare for your round. The main areas of focus are extra items to bring with you that typically aren’t in your bag, disc selection, shot selection, and your mental game. Let’s unpack this further.

Items To Bring

I typically try to keep my bag light for rounds by bringing only the necessities. However, playing in wet conditions is a special case. There are many items to pack that can shave strokes off your round by simply making you more comfortable. Below is a list of such items and how they can be put to use.

  • TowelsTowels to the rescue! Bring multiple towels and rotate them through as they get wet. This allows you to have dry towels cycling throughout your round. Another pro tip is to keep the dry towels in a plastic bag.
  • Umbrella – Bring a wide enough umbrella that can keep both you and your discs dry. Leave the umbrella covering your bag while taking your shots.
  • Rain Jacket – Self explanatory.
  • Chalk Bag – Any disc golf specific grip bag will do, but I like to use climbers chalk in really wet conditions. It simply gives me great grip on the disc. Climbing gyms and most sporting goods stores will carry these. Try it out and see what works best for you.
  • Waterproof Shoes – These are a lifesaver during wet rounds. Wear these waterproof socks to get the best results.
  • Caddy – If you are playing a competitive round, I highly recommend a caddy. They do all the heavy lifting of keeping your discs dry and allow you to simply throw your shots.

Disc Selection

Get a grip! Not all discs have the same feel in your hand when it is wet outside. This is due to the stiffness of the plastic and how slippery they become when moisture is added. The key is to throw softer base plastics. They allow for a more gummy grip that will give you a cleaner release. Harder premium plastics (ie; Champion plastic for Innova) that most people generally enjoy throwing become much slicker in wet conditions.

Throw slower-speed discs as you will not be generating the same amount of velocity and spin. Slower speed discs will fly closer to their true flight paths when thrown at less than full power. On the contrary, more stable high-speed discs will be highly variable in their flight paths and will tend to be more overstable as it is difficult to generate enough spin and speed in wet conditions.

Shot Selection and Tempo

A backhand throw creates incredible torque and speed in the body. A solid plant foot is necessary to execute the backhand shot. However, rounds in wet conditions create complications for how much energy you can safely put into a throw. The last thing you want to do is slip and injure yourself. First thing is first; slow down your tempo. As was mentioned before, when making your shot selection think about throwing slower discs that fly straight. It is difficult to infuse spin into a disc in wet conditions and this makes overstable drivers very inconsistent. Slow down your tempo and throw slower discs that fly straight. This will ensure your health and safety and a more consistent round.

Forehands may be a viable option for some. They require less momentum throughout the body and allow for less torque on the plant foot. While this may be beneficial for some I find forehands difficult to throw in wet conditions due to grip. There is less of a “squeeze” on the disc and I tend to release shots early. Try it out for yourself as I am a backhand dominant player and do not seek out forehands in wet conditions.

Pro Tips

Below are two tips that keep your grip and footing solid that I wish I knew early on in my disc golf career.

  • Place a towel on the ground where your plant foot will land. This allows for more friction and reduces slips.
  • When raining, grip your disc under your umbrella and place it under your jacket. Do not bring it out until you are starting your run up. This will ensure a dry grip until the point of release.

I gleaned these tips from watching top pros play in the rain. I implemented the strategies and they worked. Again, be diligent in your execution of your game plan.

Mental Game

Rain Rain Go Away…. Your mental game throughout a wet round of disc golf is crucial. You are going to face challenges that you typically do not face in a dry round. You are going to have to think much more about your shots and prepare much longer for each shot. This adds stress. Chances are you will also throw many more shots off target which can lead to frustration. Don’t give in to the added stress.

A wet round is a great place to repeat a positive affirmation to keep you in an effective headspace. Things can tumble downhill quickly when negativity creeps in. Don’t let it! Repeating a simple phrase such as “I can” or “Yes” can do wonders for your game. Try it out. These two phrases have kept me in tournaments where I otherwise would have fallen apart. So your shot was shanked off a tree and went straight into the woods. Deep breath, “I can!” Time to move on.

One of the best ways to prepare mentally for a wet round is to get out and play in wet conditions. What a novel idea! The key is to not be caught off guard in a competitive round. If rain is not in the forecast the best way I have found to simulate a wet round is to play in the early morning dew. You will certainly be put to the test! Many tournaments start in the early morning so it is also a good practice to be prepared for early morning wet conditions.

Bringing It All Together

Wet rounds bring with them many challenges. But with the right tools and know-how, they can be downright enjoyable. Start with a positive mindset and apply that to the items you bring, disc selection, shot selection, and tempo. By slowing down your game and paying attention to detail you will set yourself up for success. Smile in the rain as the one who endures best will beat the rest.

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