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Get Breathing Right in Tennis

January 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 118


Often overlooked, correct breathing should be carried out at all times, not only when you feel tense, as it calms your body and mind. When you breath normally, your subconscious is maintaining the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. When you are apprehensive, breathing changes to fast and shallow. This causes dizziness, poor vision, tiredness, breathlessness, which only increases further anxiety.

If you practice correct breathing, it becomes second nature, so you must breath properly when you feel anxious, it will help keep you 'grounded.'

High or clavicular breathers only breath into the upper portion of their lungs so only a small amount of air can enter. Stale air remains in the lower lungs and impurities are not properly expelled. These people always seem to be gulping or gasping for breath.

Most people who breath into the chest area are mid or intercostals breathers. This is still not efficient as the chest and lungs are only partially expanded.

Some breath into their abdomen, being low or abdominal breathers. This is the best way to take in reasonable amounts of air and expel impurities from the lungs.

Where do you breath?

Lie on your back. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breath out to empty your lungs. Now breath in your normal fashion. Don't force it as you may get light-headed in which case give it a rest till you feel better.

Which hand rises and falls the most? Is it the one on your chest? Well your not breathing deeply enough. You should be breathing into your abdomen.

Here's how. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine a position an inch or two below your naval and you're sending the breath you inhale down to it. You should feel your stomach area swell as you inhale. If it does not, place something light, like a paperback book on your abdomen and as you inhale, concentrate on making it rise.

When you breath into the chest you are only filling your lungs about three-quarters, the bottom quarter being stale air. Breathing into the abdomen actually fills the bottom of your lungs with fresh, rich air which can only do you good. When you inhale into your abdomen and feel it expand, pull back your shoulders and drop your head back, while you inhale a bit more to completely fill your lungs with nourishing air.

Without sufficient oxygen your brain will die. Your brain may comprise 20% of your body weight, but consumes over 25% of oxygen intake. The more efficient your ability to breath well, the more oxygen will get to your brain.

Oxygen is energy. It helps relax the muscles and clears the mind. When you hold your breath you create pressure and a nervous feeling can develop. Slow, deep breathing will make you feel relaxed, improve the quality of your blood, create good health and keeps your body and mind in the present.

When you look at the mechanics of breathing you realise that holding your breath, or inhaling the moment you perform an exertion instead of exhaling, is completely wrong. It places your body under more strain as your energy is kept in rather than being released. Inhale with your backswing then exhale as you swing to meet the ball. Do this during practice until you get used to it and eventually the rhythm will become part of your game. When you match your strokes or hit serves while naturally exhaling, allows more for accuracy hitting the ball and you feel your muscle working in the follow through, enabling you to put power through the ball.

Feeling comfortable?

The above article is taken from the eBook, Tennis Mind by Paul M Maher PhD.For more information visit

Paul M. Maher invites you to learn more about sports psychology and to maximise your sports potential by visiting You will gain access to invaluable eBooks, regardless of which sport you play. The latest are focused on tennis,cricket, soccer and bodybuilding psychology.

Source: EzineArticles
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