Breath Control is very important in any sport played that involves aerobic activity. Those playing aggressive tennis will have to deal with breathing patterns changing violently, destroying pulse and synchronization which causes fatigue. It is crucial to practice, learn, and refine techniques to control breathing. Respiration is controlled by the lower brain regions.

Some tips to learn these techniques include:

■ Match breathing with hitting the ball accurately. Breathe in through the nose when the ball comes and breathe out from the mouth until the ball is touched. It will come more naturally with practice.

■ Maintain this breathing method under all circumstances. There is a tendency to hold the breath under pressure but through practice, it is possible to oppose this urge. You have to pay attention to your respiration quality.

■ Inhaling must be soft and regular as this maximizes the amount of oxygen and prevents rapid breathing.

■ Exhaling must be powerful and conscious. To hit correct shots, use exhalations as a signal.

■ Your breath should be permanent, sluggish, and smooth. Before a difficult match or when you are nervous, focus on your breathing.

■ To moderate breathing, take slow deep breaths for four to six seconds and exhale for six to eight seconds.

Practice these breathing techniques to improve your game.

Art of Confidence

Confidence can be described as feelings, thoughts, and actions reflecting expectations of success. Fortunately, not only the greatest athletes have access to the magical confidence brought on by success. We all can increase our level of confidence and perform better. Self-assurance is a key factor to good performance in athletes. Here are some tips to boost your confidence:

■ Make a list of your strengths and remind yourself how great you are.

■ When negative thoughts or images cloud your thoughts, eliminate them and replace them with positive self-statements. i.e. “I perform well under pressure”

■ Have a general strategy when approaching any competition as having a plan will grow confidence.

■ Challenge players slightly below your level to win. Being over-matched will never allow you to develop confidence or learn to win.

■ Watch successful performances often.

■ Increase your level of physical fitness as this will enhance your self-image simultaneously.

■ Maintain a positive body language and attitude throughout the game irrespective of the score. Act confidently and keep your head up!

■ Practice makes perfect, so improve on areas that you are weak in to be able to believe in yourself during a competition. The belief that you can achieve will allow you to be confident and you will succeed.

Believe in yourself and you will thrive. Time invested in your confidence will help you reach your goals. Self-belief is not only for the divine, it is a tool for success.

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