There are many ways to tackle a challenge. You can think about similar situations from the past, how your skill set matches the task, or manage your body through breathing.
Let's learn how to use two different breathing tools to control your energy level.
We're all familiar with the gas pedal and brake pedal in a car. When the gas pedal is pushed, the car gains energy and starts to speed up. When the brake pedal is pushed the car slows down. Those two pedals are used to control the energy of the car by speeding up and slowing down the car.
I want you to think of the breathing tools we learn as the pedals you use to energize yourself or slow yourself down, keeping your energy level in your optimal performance range.
When you need to energize and get the extra boost, breath in through your nose and exhale out your mouth in rapid succession. Then follow up the rapid breathing by telling yourself what you're about to do.
An example is the last twenty minutes of practice, and fatigue is starting to set in. That is a perfect time to recognize your energy level is dropping and you need to use the rapid succession breathing tool followed by saying... "there are twenty minutes left, and I'm going to finish with high energy and focus."
What separates one player or team from another is the quality of work they put in. If you're able to recognize when your energy and focus start to decrease, and immediately energize yourself, then you will be able to finish the practice or games at a higher level leading to improved performance.
The same holds for when you need to slow down or control your anxiety level.
There are times when the game speeds up, your anxiety levels increase or you may be too excited. When that happens, your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes shallower (so you get less oxygen), your field of vision narrows and your decision-making suffers.
That is when we need to "hit the brakes" and slow things down. In those situations, I want you to do the 4x2x4 Breathing and think about releasing the anxiety, slowing your heart rate, refocusing on your immediate task, or whatever you need to tell yourself to slow down. Just like hitting the brakes, you may have to take two, three, or even four breaths to lower your energy level to your optimal performance range.
1. Recognize where your body and mind are
2. Use the 4x2x4 breathing to energize or slow down your body and mind
3. Accomplish your task