Golf Psychology - Breathing Technique
In today’s installment of the GLT golf psychology series, The Mental Game of Golf, we’ll examine the role of breathing in the Mind Body Connection.
Much as our tension article provided a technique to combat hand and jaw tension, today’s article will provide a drill to help keep breathing under control.
Furthermore, we’ll post (and link, for those that prefer audio) a podcast with Euro Tour player, Chris Hanson, in which GLT’s Matthew Cooke and Iain Highfield discuss breathing, among other things, and how to deal with adversity, which features the technique at the end.
Click here to listen to the whole podcast, where Iain Highfield & Matthew Cooke talk with European Tour player Chris Hanson about dealing with adversity.
Remember, because of the Mind Body Connection, the mind moves the body, the body moves the club and the club moves the ball. If the mind is senses a stress, and a stress response is triggered in the body, club and ball movement will undoubtedly be affected.
This breathing technique, referred to as GLT’s Speed Golf game, is inspired by the suicide wind sprints, or baseline to baseline sprints, typically used in training for basketball and other sports.
By making golfers run, they are being forced out of their optimum state, and their heart levels and physiological state begins to mimic that of the stress response.
The stress response, sometimes known as the fight or flight response, is triggered by higher levels of stress. During the response, the body is provided with a short burst of energy in order to respond to perceived dangers, and releases cortisol, a hormone that can inhibit high-level performance.
Students are encouraged to inoculate the stress response by practicing diaphragmatic breathing, during which air enters the lungs and the belly expands. This has been scientifically proven to counter the stress response.
Again, the mind controls the body, the body controls the club and the club controls the ball. By keeping breathing under control by controlling the fight or flight response, golfers can have more control over the movements of the club and ball.
The student starts a number of paces behind the ball. The golf bag or a club is placed on the ground (where it would be in a competition) and a few balls are placed in a line.
Next, the student runs to their bag, picks a club, approaches the ball and hits. Then, the student runs to their bag, picks a club, approaches the ball and hits. Next, they run back to the start point, touch the floor, run again to the bag, pick a club, approach the ball and hit. This is repeated numerous times.
We can build the intensity of this challenge by working through the following levels:
Level 1= no target
Level 2= a single target
Level 3= random targets
Level 4= random targets, random lie
Level 5= speed golf on the course with outcome targets for total shots, number of holes and times.
Any learnings should be recorded and transitioned into a student’s process goals for use in competitive play.
Next in the Mind Body Connection portion of GLT'S golf psychology series, we'll examine the role of Motor Pattern Impedence in the mental game of golf.