Learn to “breathe like a baby”

By Jim Fannin

ow does a little baby fall asleep so quickly? Here’s the same technique to calm yourself down when the pressure on the course, court or
field appears to be the greatest. When your heart is pounding, breathing is difficult and you’re preparing to tee off during the biggest
event of the year, try this: Begin by inhaling deeply; unhinge your jaw. Let your tongue float in your mouth. Place all of your awareness on
your breathing. Fill your lungs full of positive, energized air; now exhale negative air. Place your left or right hand on your stomach. With every inhale and exhale, let your stomach move your hand. Breathe through your stomach; be aware of your hand being moved. After a few deep breaths, you’ll start to feel your shoulders relax. Slowly, repeat inhaling and exhaling, until you are in a relaxed rhythm.
Within 30 seconds, you will feel more relaxed. Now send all of your energy down the middle of the fairway to a well-defined target. In tennis, send your energy to the other side of the net to well-defined targets. You’re ready to compete. Use this technique anytime and anywhere. Remember: your supposed “nervousness” was just your body preparing to attract the “zone.” In fact, the blood vessels and capillaries in your stomach constrict in order to divert blood from the stomach to your brain for clarity, and to your large muscles for inordinate, speed, quickness, balance, strength and agility. This blood transfer gives most the feeling often described as the “butterflies.”

Now you know what to do:
Breathe like a baby.

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