Breathing Techniques to Improve Your Golf
Anxiety can be defined as an adaptive response associated with tension and uncertainty of facing a new situation or unpleasant experience that causes worry and can affect sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Furthermore, the fear resulting from anxiety can become extreme, debilitating and totally paralyzing.
The ability to stay relaxed is crucial for success in any sport. On the golf course, there are countless potential distractions that allow the opportunity to develop anxiety and lose focus. In fact, coupled with unrealistic expectations, many amateur players fall apart during a round of golf. Players can develop the ability to control their emotions before every shot. While many players experience anxiety before the opening drive or a crucial putt down the stretch, the goal is for players to avoid anxiety and cope with relaxation techniques. Staying relaxed will not guarantee success, however, it is a physical and mental state that offers a greater likelihood of success.
Successful athletes believe they will achieve success. The ability to relax in a stressful situation is a valuable coping skill on and off the golf course. Research suggests relaxation strategies to be effective and necessary for achieving performance excellence.
The following breathing techniques are designed for participants to learn and experience muscle mind relaxation strategies. Experience the different techniques and find the most beneficial technique to reach a state of relaxation in the body and mind.
Sighing with Exhalation
Sighing with exhalation begins with each individual inhaling slowly and then holding their breath for 10 seconds. Allow the tension to build and then exhale through the mouth. Athletes should feel tension leave the body and learn to relax with this breathing technique.
Rhythmic breathing occurs with each individual inhaling for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 4 and then pausing for a count of 4 before repeating the sequence.
1:2 ratio is a variation of rhythmic breathing. Individuals take a deep, full breath and then exhale slowly. Inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 8. The next breath should be slightly longer, inhale to a count of 5 and exhale to a count of 10. Then inhale to a count of 6 and exhale to a count of 12 and so on.
5 to 1 Count
5 to 1 count is another form of rhythmic breathing. Athletes begin by visualizing the number 5 and take a slow, deep breath with full exhale. Next, visualize the number 4, and repeat the breathing cycle. Between each number athletes should focus on becoming more relaxed. Complete the cycle going down to the number 1.
Concentration breathing is the last breathing exercise. Athletes specifically focus on the rhythm of each breath. Each inhale and exhale is specifically designed to think about relaxing and the next inhale or exhale. The idea is to remove any distracting thoughts and only on breathing rhythm.
Experiment with the different breathing techniques and determine which may be the most beneficial relaxation breathing exercise. The ability to relax will help reduce anxiety and increase performance.