Conscious breathing heightens awareness and deepens relaxation. – Dan Brule
Last week Doug’s newsletter provided the importance of moving your feet and watching the ball as a crucial part of making your tennis game work and hopefully it has inspired many of you to start a workout routine or sign up for the Tennis Fit Formula. I would like to add something that is crucial to all sports and life for that matter. Breathing and relaxing.
There is enough science out there on the importance of relaxing while performing even though it seems counter intuitive. As most of my students know I often tell them to just relax. There are so many death grips I see daily that I need to stress those two words. There is a time and place to hold your racket firmly, but these only happen in split second moments. If you can learn to play with a certain amount of looseness I believe power, stamina, and joy will all improve. I believe if you can remind yourself to relax throughout your day then your day will also be better.
And as the quote above expounds, breathing is a crucial part of keeping you relaxed and performing better. If you have read the Inner Game of Tennis, then you know that exhaling while we hit the ball is crucial to increasing the odds for successful shot making. Most of us have heard Maria Sharapova play a tennis match and even thought we might want to wear ear plugs. Even though her over the top breathing sounds as she hit the ball were annoying the results in her career suggest that it helped her. We do not have to scream as we breathe out but exhaling while we hit the ball is something we all should do.
We all must breathe to live, so conscious breathing should be something we should all be aware of throughout our day. If you take a good breath, then maybe your next shot will be a winner or simply your next moment will be special.