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Mental Skill Training for Golf - Deep Breathing for Better G

by Joe Gandolfo, M.A., LPC, CPT, C.Hy.

As simplistic as it may sound, the development and use of deep breathing techniques on the golf course can benefit any player's game - lowering their score. The very act of breathing deeply can aid a golfer in many ways. Reducing tension throughout the body, allowing one better focus and concentration, helping to calm emotions, both positive and negative, thus creating an emotional balance, and aiding visualization, are some of the byproducts of developing deep breathing techniques. Ultimately enhancing a golfer's ability to perform at optimal levels. The best part about deep breathing techniques is that they are easy to learn, to practice and to develop. Let us begin.

Stop right now and turn your attention to your breathing. Take note of each individual breath you are taking. Are you breathing quickly or slowly? Are you breathing through you nose or mouth? Are your breaths deep and rhythmic coming from your diaphragm, or are they short and shallow coming from your chest? Most people who do not pay attention to their breathing give at least one, if not all three, of the following answers - quickly, by mouth, and short and shallow. There are many negative consequences a golfer will encounter if they identified one, two or three of these negative-breathing patterns. Such as tension in the body which restricts movement, poor concentration and focus, and runaway emotions, to name a few. So how do you retrain your negative breathing habits to deep rhythmic breathing? Thus increasing performance on the golf course!

Now that you are beginning to become aware of your current breathing pattern, you are gaining powerful insights and positive changes can be made. To develop proper deep breathing techniques, begin as follows. At first sit quietly for a few minutes each day and begin taking deep diapramic breaths, slowly through your nose. Continue this deep, rhythmic, slow diapramic breathing. By doing this described breathing, you are beginning to change your negative breathing habits. A reconditioning if you will. Practice this breathing technique a few times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you practice this method. Once you understand these positive-breathing techniques, and practice them for a period of time, you will then be able to integrate them into your playing. How can deep breathing benefit a golfer?

Some examples. When you are on the practice range or course and you are warming up, most golfers' stretch to some degree and practice swinging the club. This is an opportune time to add some deep breathing to begin to relax the body and calm the mind. During a golfer's pre-shot routine is another opportune time to also use these deep-breathing techniques. If a golfer's emotions begin to negatively affect their game, this is a great time to use deep breathing techniques. There are many other possible golfing scenarios for which the addition of proper deep breathing techniques will benefit a golfer's performance. Once this skill of diaphramic deep breathing has been developed, it becomes the basis for adding and developing other skills - visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis, etc. - which will strengthen, in the golfer, the mental aspects of their game.

Questions? Feel free to contact me at jgandolfo@mindspring.com Mental skill training for golf will help you become a more "complete" golfer.

To your mental game,

Joe Gandolfo, M.A., LPC, CPT, C.Hy.
Sports Performance Specialist
Creator/Author of "Minding Your Golf Game"TM

Any questions regarding the above or anything else with regard to the mental game of golf should be addressed to Joe Gandolfo at: jgandolfo@mindspring.com or you may call toll free, 1-800-897-8434. Private consultations, workshops and seminars are also available.

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