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Golf Breathing Techniques To Calm First Tee Nerves

by Coach Stephen on

golf breathing techniques

In todays post I would like to share with you the optimal golf breathing techniques (patterns) for calming the mind and relaxing the body.

This is valuable before the first tee, or anytime on the course.

In just a moment, I want you to take a big, deep breath.

And I want you to pay attention to what happens to your chest and to your stomach as you do it.

OK…do that now.

If you’re like 95% of all golfers, then your chest probably expanded outward right away, while your stomach went inward toward your spine.

If that’s the case, then you actually took a very shallow breath, NOT a deep one.

You’d be classified as a “chest breather”!

Do not panic!

No worries… I’m trained to alleviate you from this chronic condition.

Okay, but why should you care?

Less than optimal breathing (chest breathing) can cause:

An increased rate of breathing

Increased tension in your neck muscles

Headaches

Feelings of anxiety

Increased stress

Increased sensation of pain

Fatigued, stiff muscles

Restricted and stiff joints

Poor sleep patterns

Poor circulation

Poor posture

Inefficient movement patterns

Experiencing any of the above side effects means your golf game will suck! Or at least it will not be up to its full potential.

On the other hand, proper breathing:

Elicits a relaxation response

Provides an optimal amount of oxygen to your body

Improves circulation

Helps maintain a healthy musculature (including your back)

Let me be very clear about this –

The manner in which you breathe will literally determine the physiology of your body – for better or for worse.

Do you still think this breathing thing is a no-brainer?

The good news is that with a little practice and awareness, you can reprogram your golf breathing techniques and reap the corresponding benefits.

Optimal Breathing Exercise

Phase 1:

Phase 1 - abdominal only

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.

Slowly inhale through your nose. Try to imagine the air going all the way down into your lower lungs (abdominal area). It may help to imagine your abdomen as a balloon, and as you inhale, the balloon inflates. Do not try to force your abdomen outward; rather simply allow the air from your inhalation to expand it.

Stop the inhalation before the hand on your chest begins to move.

Hold your breath for 5 seconds.

Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. Use your hand to feel your “abdominal balloon” slowly deflate, as your navel moves towards your spine.

Perform 10 or more repetitions. I recommend starting with this “abdomen only” phase, and sticking with it until it feels relatively natural and easy.

Phase 2:

golf breathing

Phase 2 - abdominal and chest

In actuality, the Phase 1 exercise was only a 2/3rds breath. This is an improvement over the chest breathing, but still not quite optimal.

Now we will integrate the upper 1/3rd of your breath capacity – the upper chest area.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.

Slowly inhale through your nose. Try to imagine the air going all the way down into your lower lungs (abdominal area). It may help to imagine your abdomen as a balloon, and as you inhale, the balloon inflates. Do not try to force your abdomen outward; rather simply allow the air from your inhalation to expand it.

Instead of stopping the “inflation” at the upper abdomen area, allow the breath to continue into the upper lungs and cause the chest to rise.

Hold your breath for 5 seconds.

Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. The order of “deflation” should be the opposite of the “inflation” pattern. I.e. your chest hand should fall first, and then your abdomen hand.

Now that is a full, optimal breath.

This may take a bit of practice, but it is well worth the time and effort.

I would suggest spending five minutes in the morning, and again in the evening just prior to bed, mastering this golf breathing technique.

Once it feels quite natural lying on the floor, integrate it into your standing posture, for use on the course.

golf breathing techniques

Proper breathing in standing position

Get out there, breath… And get after Old Man Par!

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