You have heard the saying,”It is hard to make a putt with hour hands around your neck,” we have all been in situations where we get nervous or uptight on the golf course. It usually involves a first tee or a shot that applies pressure because it has a special meaning to us. It could be a final putt or a drive in which we have a chance to break a career low barrier or win a big tournament. Our mind and our thoughts become our worst enemy. We can sabotage a great opportunity to succeed by tightening up our muscles, owe mouth gets dry and we can’t swallow or what?………….Breathe dawg, breathe! That was my caddy bringing me out of my coma on the last hole. We have all heard how important a sound pre shot routine is to transferring a skill that is easily executed on the practice range by ourselves, yet being able to pull it off under pressure become quite difficult.
Several years ago, I attended a teaching summit where I saw a popular sports psychologist, Dr. Dick Coop speak on this very subject. Dr. Coop coached the likes of Payne Stewart and Corey Pavin. He went through all the physical fundamentals of a good routine such as starting from behind the ball, picking an intermediate target etc. The thing that I found interesting was where he said to breathe. Yes, you heard me. Breathe! It seems simple but so important. It is amazin how we forget sometimes Here is what Dr. Coop said:
THE 3 PLACES TO BREATHE
1.Standing behind the ball as you visualize – this is where the tension starts and the fear creeps in. Take a cleansing breath as you picture your shot. It will help you think clearly and keep your rhythm.
2. As you walk into the ball- The pace that you walk into the ball will dictate the tempo of your swing. (sing your favorite slow song in your head).
3.As you waggle and get ready to pull the trigger- This is where most players choke. A deep cleansing breath will help alleviate the tension and ward off any negative thoughts that might creep in. Also, if you focus on breathing you won’t have room for these sabotaging thoughts.
The Importance Of Breathing and the Lympathic System
In order to help my students with there breathing and to learn more about the importance of it, I found a cd program from Tony Robbins, one of my favorite success coaches, that I found most helpful in explaining how and why to breathe. I share this will all of my students as I do a playing lesson or work on pre-shot routine. Here is a exerpt from Tony Robbins program, Enegise for Life :
There are many benefits that arise from making deep breathing a part of your daily routine, most of which are due to the fact that deep, cleansing breaths give your lymph system a helping hand in clearing out the toxins from your body.
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymph system is commonly referred to as the body’s sewerage system. It works by acting in harmony with the blood, surrounding every cell in the body and protecting each one by removing dead cells, blood proteins and any other toxins and excreting them from the body. The toxins are then removed from the body through our waste products, mucus, or our skin.
The body is hugely dependent upon the lymph system, to the point whereby if the lymph system was shut down for 24hrs you would die as a result of the trapped toxins and proteins surrounding our cells.
In addition to deep breathing, rebounding can be a further way to stimulate your lymphatic system.
The lymph that is collected around the body drains through two ducts into the blood, which are located at the base of the neck (around the thoracic duct). By breathing we stimulate the flow of the lymph, and through deep breath we can encourage the flow to be both cleansing and powerful. Once we breathe, the duct sends the lymph into our blood flow, then onto the liver where it metabolises and then onto the kidneys where the toxins are filtered.
|Deep breathing is so important because, unlike our blood flow, the lymph system does not have a ‘pump’ to push the lymph fluids around our bodies. Rather, the lymph system requires the muscular movement which is created by breathing.
As well as acting as a filter, the lymph system is also able to destroy bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, such as cancer cells. So enough of the anatomy lesson, lets talk abou how we should breathe. Here is an excersice that I want you to try.
Breathe In the Following Ratio
Breath in for 1 count
Hold for 4 counts
Breath out for 2 counts
for example – if you were to breath in fo 4 seconds,then you hold your breath for sixteen seconds and then breath out for eight. If you are able to do this ten times, three times a day (morning, evening, and before bed), you will see a huge difference to your energy, clarity and your ability to ward off illness.
This is why runners, yoga enthusiasts don’t get sick that often.
So pratice your breathing, work it into your pre-shot routine. Go have fun and I can promise you that you will be cool under pressure and finish off that career round.
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See you on the lesson tee and don’t forget to, well you know,