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Breathing properly can improve your pickleball game


By Daniel J Howard

on Feb 22, 2024

Using proper breathing techniques can improve your pickleball game.

Focusing on your breath is a common concept in many athletic pursuits, such as yoga or weightlifting. 

Although many athletes recognize the importance of breathwork off the pickleball court, they forget about it while in a game. But the truth is, breathing properly can help you perform better on the pickleball court. 

In this new Selkirk TV course, pickleball professional coach and mental game instructor Daniel J Howard shares tips and tactics that can help give you an edge in the game. 

In the first episode, Daniel discusses how to breathe properly to improve your gameplay. 

How to breathe properly while playing pickleball

The often-heard phrase is “whistle while you work,” meaning you exhale as you exert the most force and inhale as you rest. In weightlifting, this would mean you exhale as you lift a weight and inhale as you lower it back down.

It’s no different for pickleball. 

For example, when dinking at the kitchen line, you should aim to exhale as you make contact with the ball. Inhale as the ball travels over the net. 

This ensures that you are breathing throughout the point, which improves your respiratory health long-term. Many players may feel out of breath after a point, and it’s not because they’re out of shape, but because they were holding their breath too long. 

Breathing on exertion lessens your oxygen deficit, which means you can play longer points and more points in a row. 

How to practice proper breathing techniques

Practicing this technique is simple — just head to the court and start dinking. Exhale every time you hit the ball. 

Once you’re warmed up, you can start playing a real game. But as you do, take note of your breath after each point. 

Are you out of breath? If so, were you holding your breath during a rally? If you need an extra reminder to exhale, you can try doing as the tennis pros do, and grunt on each hit.

Although it may feel abnormal at first, as you put this idea into practice, it will become second nature. Gradually, you will see your respiratory health improve and the subsequent benefits on your game. 

Download the Selkirk TV app HERE to watch the complete episode and many other Selkirk TV original shows, podcasts, lesson series from the pros, and much more. 

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