As an athlete, there are numerous variables being thrown into situations. It is incredibly hard to stay focused on the present moment because of these variables. So many athletes are prized for their ability to see a play before it happens. I’ll ask though … how many plays have been not executed properly due to this? I almost missed a wide open net in my hockey game this past Sunday evening because I was so focused on a celebration that hadn’t even begun.
An elite athlete does a phenomenal job of balancing the past failures and successes with the future failures and successes by being stable in the Now. A great way to bring ourselves back to this is through the breath. In life, and in sports, we can become overwhelmed by our failures. They can drive us to stop moving forward. They can cause self-doubt and may even keep us from trying. Come back to the breath. Full and deep in … and full and relaxed out. It is simple and brings us back from the depths of our own mind.
Breath Control – Breathe Life into Your Performance
To perform at a champion’s level, breathe deeply and rhythmically to maintain peak energy levels. Proper breathing works in tandem with being a Now-ist (i.e., living fully in the moment). Expand the belly during inhalation and relax the belly during exhalation. Let your shoulders drop and jaw relax as you exhale. Give it a try right now. Draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Proper breathing helps expel the stress and tension from your system and brings you back into the present.
1. Breathe in through the nose for a count of one, two, three, four and five.
2. Hold for one and two.
3. Breathe out through the mouth for a count of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.
Extraneous thoughts fog up your focus. Your mind becomes more powerful as it becomes quieter and clearer. So breathe deeply and mindfully throughout your day. Also, when you are not thinking about the future, it’s difficult to fear it. Fear is the enemy of effective action!
BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow (BUY IT!)