Last winter was horrific. I can’t remember a colder, darker, snowier, icier, more miserable winter since I moved to Illinois back in 3rd grade. Normally, I play a minimum of once a week in the winter time. Last winter I played one and a half times. That half time I found myself suddenly waist deep in snow that a moment before only came up to mid calf. I couldn’t move without extreme amounts of effort, and after I finally got my disc out of the drift it had landed in, I made my way home. Drenched in sweat and still jonesing for my disc golf fix, I silently cursed Old Man Winter and wished for spring.
When spring came, I was elated. I had been cooped up, unable to play, for about 4 solid months. It was more than I could take. You can only putt in the garage so much before you admit to yourself that it’s a pale substitute for being on the course. I had 4 months of pent up disc golf aggression to get out.
On top of that, they were starting to finish up the redesign of my local course. A two year project that the entire NE Illinois disc golf community had anxiously awaited. The fairways were cut and object golf was possible. Once the weather got bearable, I started to spend as much time out on the course as humanly possible.
And here enters the problem. Any of you who have gone from being sedentary for any length of time to huge bursts of activity know what comes next. Pain. Sore muscles, sore joints, sore tendons and ligaments. Pretty much sore everything. I think my left eyelid didn’t hurt all that much, but that’s about it.
The shock to my body of going from no athletic activity to playing as much disc golf as humanly possible every single day was huge. My body was pissed. And it let me know just how pissed when it would barely let me out of bed one morning. I tried stretching. I tried walking it off. I tried Alleve in quantities that could possibly have warranted calling the poison control center. Nothing worked.
All of a sudden, I was seeing playable weather outside, and I couldn’t play. I was not a happy disc golfer. Not at all.
I was complaining about my woeful inability to play one day and one of my coworkers suggested I get a massage. More specifically, a sports massage. “What is this sports massage you speak of?”, I asked. The woman I was talking to is a competitive cross fitter. Apparently this sports massage she talked about is a thing. The more she talked about it, the more I thought it sounded like an incredibly good idea. So I booked an appointment with her massage person that week.
Apparently I should have asked more questions. My goal was to get out of pain. I didn’t realize I was going to a distant relative of one of the torturers from the Spanish Inquisition. She started at my feet. And that hurt. Then she moved to my calves, where it hurt more. Hamstrings, pain city. Out of the hour I was there, maybe 5 minutes actually felt good. At the end, she hands me a bottle of water, tells me I might not feel all that good that day, and then asks me for $100. What the hell kind of racket was this anyway?
I went to bed that night rehearsing the scolding I was going to give my coworker for recommending such a masochistic activity. I couldn’t believe that people actually paid for this! I could have paid some thug in an alley to punch me in the kidney a couple times and that probably would have only cost $20 and been more enjoyable.
The next morning, though. Oh the next morning. That glorious, wondrous, unimaginably good next morning. Not only had I slept better than I had in months, I woke up feeling amazing. Don’t get me wrong. I was still sore in some of the spots the massage therapist had really dug into the day before. But overall I felt better than I had in years. Suddenly my attitude went from wondering if I had completely wasted $100 to wondering why they didn’t charge $500.
I definitely wanted to do that again. That was a given. Unfortunately, wanting to do something once a week that costs $100 and actually being able to afford to do that thing ($400 a month is more than my car payment) are sometimes two completely different things. I could go every once in a while, but with the amount of disc golf I was playing, it just wouldn’t be often enough. I needed a solution. Fast.
Enter the foam roller. That same cross fitting coworker swore by that as much as she swore by the sports massage. At this point, I wasn’t going to question her. Especially since a foam roller was $18.00 on Amazon.
Was it the same as the massage? No. Was it close? Sure was. In fact, the better I got at using it, the closer I got to the relief I got from the sports massage. In fact, I’m now convinced that sometimes it’s actually better. The massage therapist can’t actually feel what I’m feeling during the massage. When I’m foal rolling, I get immediate feedback as to what is working and what isn’t. I instantly know what feels the best.
Once I got kind of good at doing it, I also got kind of addicted to it. I was rolling in the morning, after work, after rounds, before bed, while watching TV, and any other spare moment I had. It was like having my own personal massage therapist. I was certainly getting my $20 worth.
As good as that was, the foam roller seemed a little inadequate at getting certain areas of my body. It didn’t do a lot for my feet. It was hard to get enough pressure to really dig into some of the knots in my back. A massage therapist has thumbs and knuckles that can get places that no foam roller can get. So I logged on to the inter webs and started to do some research. What I found was a world of mobility tools. The foam roller was just the tip of the proverbial ice berg!
With credit card in hand and Amazon on my screen, I proceeded to order an alarming number of crazy looking implements. I couldn’t wait to try all of them out. I was back to playing a ton of disc golf with the help of the foam roller, these could only make things even better, right?
Well, as is my normal pattern, I bought way too many things to try. Some worked great, others did not. Some I still use, others are now paperweights or dog toys. One of my goals here at the Mind Body Disc blog is to save you all the trouble and pain of trial and error. I want to be the guinea pig for you. After buying and trying quite a few implements, I’ve narrowed them down to a list of my favorites.
As you build your disc golf home gym, mobility tools like this will be a necessity. While not technically a piece of work out equipment, no work out or home gym would be complete without at least one or two of them.
I’m putting this list on it’s own page (click here) and linking to it on my resources page. That way you can get back to it quickly and easily any time you want. I suppose I could have just skipped the last 1,200 words and told you this at the beginning of the post, but that’s just not my style. I have yet to find the piece of equipment that keeps me from talking too much.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”