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Breathing vs. Grunting in tennis

Breathing vs. Grunting in tennis

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Published by USA TODAY
A memo released by Nick Bollettieri on the difference between breathing and grunting in professional tennis.
A memo released by Nick Bollettieri on the difference between breathing and grunting in professional tennis.

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Published by: USA TODAY on Jan 17, 2012
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03/31/2013

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Breathing vs Grunting in Tennis

There are a number of factors that help performance through optimal breathing. This document is set to provide an understanding about the continuum from holding your breath to extreme grunting and provide a guide to our ‘Top Tips to Optimal Breathing’. * The goal is not to beat your opponent with an unfair or unethical tactic, the goal is to provide mechanisms to help a player manage their emotions * 1. Why Breathing/Grunting Helps Performance o Psychological and physiological release of tension  Efferent Nerve Control—stimulation of muscles from the brain.  Differential Relaxation—expending energy to accomplish task to increase flow in form. o Synchronizes breathing precisely with hitting ball  Increases focus and Intensity  Increases force production 2. Why Grunting/Holding your Breath Hinders Performance Grunting - Unsportsmanlike o Distraction to opponent o Inability to hear impact of racket on strings. By products of this include:  Opponent decision error increase  Opponent slower response time Holding your Breath o Increases tension and can negatively impact the mechanics of your stroke. 3. What is the Goal? Managing Arousal, Energy & Emotions Any given point on the activation/arousal continuum constitutes an expression of the release of potential energy, stored in the muscles and nervous system. Over exertion of arousal results in fatigue and inability of oxygen to be carried to activated muscles and results in tension. Under exertion of arousal results in sluggish play and lack of necessary oxygen carried to activated muscles and therefore poor performance. 4. Top Tips: Breathing continuum (page 2) o Appendix:  Using Routines cycle (page 4)  Breathing Exercise: In Blue - Out Red (page6)  PMR (page 7)  Visualization – using imagery of calming scenes &/or mental rehearsal of performance with emphasis on breathing and being in a relaxed by focused state.  On Court Triggers and Reminders – brief cues that clear mind and help breathing.  EmWave – Learning breathing and mindfulness with biofeedback.

NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OPPONENT

BREATHING CONTINUUM

NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOURSELF

EXTREME GRUNT

OPTIMAL BREATHING

HOLDING BREATH

DURING POINTS - BREATHING RHYTHM
BREATHING IN – BALL COMING TO YOU PHYSICAL – Breathe in MENTAL – Focus on ball coming BREATHING OUT – BALL COMING OFF YOUR STRINGS PHYSICAL – Breathe out MENTAL – Focus on ball going

BETWEEN POINTS - BREATHING
BETWEEN POINTS CHANGE OVERS

BREATHING IN : PHYSICAL – Stomach expands as you breathe in and fill with air. MENTAL – Clear mind, focusing on inhaling (a) fresh air, or (b) can visualize the color ‘blue’, or (c) count to 4 in. BREATHING OUT: PHYSICAL – Stomach muscles tighten as you consciously force air out. MENTAL – Clear mind, focusing on (a) exhaling breath, or (b) can visualize the color ‘red’, or(c) count to 4 out.

APPENDIX

“ROUTINE CYCLE” Between Points

Point:
1-2 minutes/10 6-12 minutes/hour

Trigger:
Pre/Serve Pre/Return

Release:
*Turn Back *Breathe

Refocus:
*Breathing *Focal Point (Target Focus) *Prepping/refocus *Actions

*Towel
*Squeeze Release *Change racket to other hand *Stop neg thoughts *Time Limit

Plan:
*Next point *Their weaknesses *What do I need to do right now? *Consistent, Aggressive

Learn:
*Be your own coach *Learn from good points & mistakes *Why?

“ROUTINE CYCLE” Between Matches
PRE-MATCH: PREPARATION ROUTINE •Rest, Hydration, Food •Positive Self-Talk, Match Plan/Strategy, Focus Cues, Remove Distractions, Confident Statements, Focus on the Process •Equipment, Warm-Up (off &on court), Stretch, Music, Time Management, Breathing/Relaxation, Visualization, Motivational Quotes/Videos/Movies

Energy

Focus

Readiness

DURING MATCH: BETWEEN POINT ROUTINE
Point: 1-2 minutes/10 6-12 minutes/hour

Trigger

Refocus

Release

Plan

Learn

POST MATCH: REVIEW ROUTINE

Well?

Better?

Learned?

Relaxation Exercises Breathing – In ‘blue’, out ‘red’
1. Make sure you will not be interrupted for the next 15 minutes or so, shut off your phone, lock the door, and put a sign on the door so you will not be bothered. Find a comfortable position either lying or sitting, if you lie down, make sure that your arms and legs are at your side but not touching your body. If you are sitting, sit up and place your hands on your thighs. STAY AWAKE. Look straight ahead and begin breathing in through the nose (light blue) and out through the mouth (red). You can also think of the air as ice cold when you breathe in and red hot as you breathe out. Continue to breathe for a minute or so, remember to focus on your breathing after a minute take another deep breath and hold it, then release it slowly. Slow your breathing down over the next minute by inhaling deeper and releasing the breath over a longer period of time. Now breathe in for a count 5, hold your breath for a count of 5 and then exhale for a count of 5, do this 3 times. Keep breathing, in through your nose and out through the mouth. Now breathe for 2 more minutes.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6. 7.

The key to breathing is that the more you practice it the better you will become at focusing your nerves.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Close the door, shut off your phone, put a sign that says do not disturb on your door. Lie in a comfortable position with your legs straight and slightly apart. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe for 1 min or so. STAY AWAKE. Start the progressive relaxation with your head and work down. Wrinkle the skin on your forehead hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Breathe for 30 seconds; squint your eyes by closing them tightly while you tighten your jaw by clenching or biting with your teeth hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Now move to your head. Press your head into the floor and hold for 5-10 seconds. Notice the tension in your neck and release. Breathe for 30 seconds. Roll your neck from right side to left side, notice the tension as you switch sides release and breathe 30 seconds to 1 min. Lift your head and put your chin in your chest, pay attention to the tension hold for 5-10 seconds and then release. Shrug your shoulders by bringing them up towards your ears. Hold 5-10 seconds and then release. Now move to your arms. Start by making a fist on your dominant side hold 5-10 seconds then release. Notice the relaxed feeling in your forearm, repeat this action. Now do the same on the non-dominant side. Tense, release, and breathe. Now do the same with both fists at the same time. Now move to your stomach. Tighten your stomach and hold and then relax. Do it again. Arch your back, hold and release. Repeat. Tense and release the thigh by pressing your heel on your dominant side into the ground hold and release. Tense your calves by pushing your toes away from your body and toward the floor. Release. Now work with your shin by pulling your toes toward your body. Release and breathe for a min or so. Now, do this again with your nondominant side. Breathe calmly for 1-2mins. Then gradually begin to activate your muscles and come out of your relaxed state.

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