Controlling Your Breathing During Golf

When I first started to think about this topic, I thought that I stumbled upon something unique. As it turns out, I am not at the front of the line, however this topic is very important to my golf game because it has helped me understand that controlling my breathe helps lower my golf scores. There is more science to this topic than I originally thought. As I examined my game, I realized that I use several control breathing techniques every round.

I am fairly certain that most athletes understand the importance of controlling their breathe during high pressure moments. During golf, it is that one shot (usually during competition) that needs to be successful to ensure your team or your individual score is not affected. In these instances, we can observe many players calming themselves by taking deep breathes. This technique helps golfers focus and narrow the plethora of stressors into a few manageable segments. This is really nothing knew and the video below explains why:

I want to take this topic just a bit further. I use version of the above breathing technique on almost every shot. The last action during my pre-shot routine is to take a slightly larger breath and exhaling the moment before I walk to my ball to set up my shot.

Standing behind the ball I focus on my aim point, visual success and finally commit to the shot. Once I have made my decision, I take a calming or focusing breath and move to the ball. This technique works very well for my game. Using this breathing technique when I am not stressed helps ensure that when the pressure is elevated, I have a tool to keep my equilibrium. I do not play golf well when I mentally cannot control my thoughts. Breathing definitely helps in this area.

I am continually amazed at the number of golf topics that do not have anything to do with the actual mechanics of a golf swing. As an athlete, I understand the value of breathing because it is something I have used since I started playing sports. Yet, I never really focused on the value of breathing during normal shots until I decided to ingrain coping techniques before I needed them. Now, controlling my breathing is second nature and definitely worth developing if you not done so already. For me, it helps me stay mentally focused which has direct impact on my golf scores.

Do you control your breathing when playing golf?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Controlling Your Breathing During Golf

  1. I focus on my mental/emotional state first (pre-game) to observe tension and expectations so that I can clear them out of the way in preparation for a fun game of golf. I’ve usually got a bit going on! Life is hectic. So once that’s done and I’ve set myself up for a good day no matter what shots I hit.
    That having been said, I do use breathing to focus my mind for each shot. I am already set on a calm and happy mode so I’m not getting in my own way. I use breath to bring me closer to the moment of commitment to the shot and then I use a fuller in breath on takeaway and an out breath on strike.
    My goal is to own my time and space and really deeply enjoy playing golf. All of this prep work and checking in helps me immensely. I always enjoy my golf no matter the result. And the better I do these things the better I score.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I learned breath control as a young man in the church choir from professional artists. Breath from the diaphragm.

    It’s a crucial tool for me at home too. I take two or three deep breaths (in through the mouth then let it all out through the nose) every night at bed time to help me turn off the world and transition into sleep. The amount of time I lay awake went down dramatically since starting that. I always had a hard time turning my mind off, but that process more or less fixed that issue.

    Pump the brain and in fact the entire body full of oxygen and it’s surprisingly calming. And I love the point about doing it unobtrusively so your competitors get no tell tells about your emotional condition.

    I squeezed in a round this evening before sunset. I didn’t light up the course, but I managed to shoot par. The last three holes though were a bit more challenging because the sprinkler systems kicked on just as I got on the tee box. I almost stopped and gave up, but decided to play the holes a little differently. I aimed to come up short on all three so I wouldn’t create craters in the wet greens. I parred the first two and birdied the drive-able par 4 final hole. I’d say the only real mistake I made aside from one pushed tee shot was chipping with my 8 iron. I had direction almost perfect on a chip for eagle. It missed by less than a balls width. But it missed, and was far too fast and I ended up two putting in. It was one of those shots that have kept me from using that club in the past. Hit dead center, they sometimes take off like a rocket like this one did. What do you do to counter that with your 7?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Your breathing technique is something I used for as long as I can remember. Calming myself before sleep definitely speeds up the transition and shuts off my mind.

      I always try to hit the ball flush with my 7 iron. I plan for it and as such have a softer, putter like grip pressure. I try to hit with the same force as a putter and more often than not, I end up few close. I do not chip in many, but do have a tap in.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

      • I’m thinking you may have hit on the real issue. I think I’ve trained myself to hit the bottom groove or two instead of center face when “putting” with the 8 iron. When I do that, I get a more putter like distance for the swing speed. But when I “screw up” and hit center face, the ball shoots off much faster than I’m expecting. Maybe a little retraining is in order.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is possible, I looked at it today and hit the bottom 1 or 2 grooves of my 7 iron. This works well for me as well. Touch of a forward press causes me to hit above the bottom grooves and that is never a good thing.

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