Coach Marcin Bieniek, founder of instructional Enjoy Tennis Blog, will explain how you can use specific breathing techniques to improve your tennis performance.
Tennis players spend a lot of time and money on improving their skills: they hit thousands of balls to be more precise with forehand and backhand, they pay for massages to recover at the fastest possible pace and be ready for another practice session, they take care of proper nutrition to make sure that they have energy for another activity. However, sometimes they forget that one of the processes that is of utmost importance for human beings is breathing.
It is impossible to live without inhaling and exhaling the air. It doesn’t matter if we stay at home or run to hit another ball on the tennis court, we need to breath. To a certain extent tennis players are aware that breathing influences their game, because they consciously or unconsciously grunt. Grunting is related to properly exhaling while hitting the ball and it is taught as a part of tennis development because it can offer many benefits. Player who grunts can lower tension in their body, add more power to the ball and intimidate their opponent more than just by hitting the ball with significant speed.
Breathing can improve or limit athletic performance. Players who are aware of breathing and train it on a daily basis can play their best tennis even while competing in the finals of prestigious tournaments. On the other hand, players who don’t pay attention to this natural process can lose matches to inferior opponents because they don’t control this aspect that is totally under their control. Learning how to breath to optimize your performance works in the same way like learning how to play effective shots — repetition with quality is needed to build an automated habit.
Should we always breath in the same way? As a basis you should remember to always inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. That’s something that doesn’t change. That’s the most effective way to make your body function optimally. Below you can find the areas that you can have an impact on while using specific breathing approaches.
Lower the stress level
When we get stressed, our heart rate goes up and our body gets stiff. Both these factors make it really difficult to play good tennis, because players can’t execute fluid strokes and tend to make inexplicable tactical decisions. To lower tension and heart rate remember to inhale and exhale slowly. This approach will help you to control how your body and mind respond to difficult situations, so training this aspect is important to be able to deal with crucial points in tennis.
Pump yourself up
Without positive approach and great physical performance it is impossible to beat more advanced players. Breathing is one of skills that can transform static players into those that everyone is afraid of. If you want to pump yourself up, you should make inhaling and exhaling phases much shorter. Additionally, make sure you exhale dynamically to make your body and mind more active. A few cycles of this simple process and you can play your best.
During difficult times players tend to think negatively and they only see black scenarios that are going to happen really soon. That’s not the approach of pro players. Pro players understand that champions have to be positive-minded, so they use breathing to achieve good control over their mind. By focusing on breathing, you don’t allow other thoughts to come into your head, so you can maintain a neutral state of mind.
The best thing about breathing is the fact that you can practice it every minute of your day. On the court, at school or at work, there is no limit to improve this really crucial aspect of personal and athletic life. If you want to feel less stress, be motivated to achieve great results and maintain focus for as long as possible, make sure you breath consciously.
Visit our Tennis Tips page for a lot more articles by tennis coaches. There you can learn how to improve specific shots and skills, handle pressure, control your emotions, adapt your game to all surfaces and weather conditions, choose the best tennis racquet, and much more.