“To perform at a champion’s level, breathe deeply and rhythmically to maintain peak energy levels. Your breathing determines whether you are at your best or whether you are at a disadvantage.” Let’s look at what many top coaches and elite athletes practice through deep breathing for mental training.
Proper breathing works in tandem with living fully in the moment. Expand the abdomen during inhalation and relax the abdomen during exhalation. Let your shoulders drop and jaw relax as you exhale. Give it a try right now. draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Your breathing can become shallow when you feel angry or anxious. When this occurs, oxygen intake diminishes and muscle tension increases. So make sure to take a deep breath in tough situations. Simply prolonging exhalation, regardless of inhalation length, promotes the relaxation response. Proper breathing helps expel the stress and tension from your system and brings you back into the present.
Many top coaches and elite athletes practice deep breathing for mental training. Phil Jackson, who won a record 11 NBA titles as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, who also played on two NBA champion New York Knicks teams, emphasised to his players, as a coach, the important significance of deep and mindful breathing, especially before games and between quarters. Breath control plays a critical part in achieving athletic greatness.
3 Simple Steps to taking a Deep, Centring Breath
Check in with your breathing throughout your day.
- Are you breathing from your abdomen or from your chest?
- Is the breath deep or shallow?
Here are the three simple steps to taking a deep centring breath:-
- Step 1 – Breathe in through the nose for a count of one, two, three, four and five.
- Step 2 – Hold for one and two.
- Step 3 – Breathe out through the mouth for a count of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.
- Do you ever suffer from anxiety on the tennis court?
- Do you use breath control?
- What works best for you?
Mentally count to five for the in-breath, count to two as you hold the breath and count to eight for the out-breath. Take your time with this 15-second breathing intervention and repeat the steps for four cycles ( a 1-minute breath workout) or as many times as desired. Do this exercise when you observe you are getting tense, feeling down or stuck in a repetitive negative thinking cycle. Breathing in this manner will help you to slow your heart rate, clam your thoughts and find inner stillness in the moment.
Learn how to sit quietly without doing anything other than following the breath. Listening to the breath is helpful because it feels more active. Listening to your breath works well for those who are often distracted or feel the need to be doing something.
Extraneous thoughts fog up your focus. Your mind becomes more powerful as it becomes quieter and clearer. So breathe deeply and mindfully throughout your day. Also, when you are not thinking about the future, it’s difficult to fear it! Fear is the enemy of effective action.
Breath Control – What Techniques Do You Use On Court?
We are very aware that even the top professionals experience moments of nerves, breathlessness, anxiety on the tennis court, all of which need to be managed carefully to ensure the best possible performance and outcome when in gladiatorial battle with their opponents.
We have learnt that breath control is the most important factor to influence these moments of anxiety.
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