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Breathing to Stay Cool on Court

Australian Trainee Yoga Sports Coach™ Wendy Mortimer shares her thoughts on performing under pressure in extreme heat.

As a current Trainee Yoga Sports Coach™ in the UK I will be returning to Australia in a few weeks to start working with my case study athlete. As the Australian Open is currently being played, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the pressures that these top-level tennis players may be facing and where a Yoga Sports CoachTM could add value to their training leading up to such an event.

One of the biggest pressures at this tournament is the heat. Temperatures in Australia have been sweltering and US legend John McEnroe warned on Monday that the heat in Melbourne could affect Roger Federer’s bid for a fifth Australian Open crown against his two younger rivals Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

According to the Australian Open website, the organizers of the Tournament have a ruling called the Extreme Heat Policy, which comes into play when daytime temperatures hit 35 degrees Celsius and the heat stress level reaches 28. Some of what this policy rules is that no new matches can start on outside courts for at least an hour after the policy has been implemented, all matches in progress must be completed and provision is made for breaks between games and for sets to be made longer than usual during the heat-affected matches.

Besides the physical stress of the heat itself, this disruption to matches could have an added mental stress to players. This is where knowledge of the Yoga Sport Science Performance Breathing Techniques could be very beneficial. The aim of these techniques is to improve performance by accessing the Parasympathetic Nervous System through using the lower lobes of the lungs. This places less strain on the body’s overall physiology therefore becoming more energy efficient – wonderful news in the energy sapping heat!

Another of these techniques, Victorious Breathing, would also be a valuable tool to use during the mental stress caused by matches being rearranged as it helps to conquer the distractions and negative thoughts of the mind.

While the world’s top tennis players may not be enjoying Australia’s extreme heat, I, for one, am looking forward to briefly leaving the cold of London behind me to enjoy some sunny weather in Sydney!

To see more about Wendy, go to her profile page.

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