Proper breathing is often a neglected element at amateur level sport, and sometimes even professionals breathe incorrectly, although nowadays with the influence of good coaches and technology this is very rare.
I definitely struggled with improper breathing myself. My biggest issue was holding my breath during padel while playing shots or while lifting weights at the gym. Improving this facet of my game has made a real difference in my performance both on and off-court.
Here are some possible reasons why one might hold their breath when hitting shots:
- experiencing some level of anxiety when the ball is approaching, especially if it’s fast (anxiety affects breathing),
- tensing up in expectation of a “collision” with the ball – even though the ball weighs just 59 grams, and
- wanting to hit the ball very hard or wanting to be “very strong” while hitting the ball – therefore tensing up and holding your breath.
Let’s go through a few common padel breathing mistakes, then some tips, and further tricks you can use to fix your breathing technique.
Common Breathing Mistakes in Padel
Holding your breath right before you hit the ball
Most people hold their breath right before they take a swing. Whenever you hold your breath your body tenses up so as result your swing will not be as smooth as it can be.
Breathing shallowly after a point
After a point is played the emotional response either negative or positive tends to change our breathing patterns.
Holding your breath while you size up your opponent or match
This is an unconscious behavior, but becoming conscious of it can change it. Holding your breath causes you to run out of oxygen quicker resulting in shortness of breath.
So now that we’ve covered the bad habits to break; let’s learn some new ones.
How to Breathe Properly During a Padel Match
Inhale right before you hit the ball
Inhale right before you swing, and exhale as you’re hitting the ball. Your swing will be smoother if you can remember to breathe as opposed to holding your breath.
Keep a regular breathing pattern throughout the game
In padel as with many sports players tend to have moments of accelerated breathing. This leads to shallow breathing and results in a feeling of shortness of breath which can weaken stamina. Maintaining a steady pace of breathing throughout the match will keep your energy levels higher throughout the game and help lower fatigue.
Take time to breathe/relax after each point
After each point you need a moment to recover. Take a few deep inhales and exhales to get your heart rate back down. This will also refuel your lungs and muscles with more oxygen which translates to more energy for the rest of your game.
Even when you’re not in the game you should spend a little time analyzing the way you breathe so you can better apply it in practice. Strengthening your respiratory muscles, for example, can greatly improve your endurance.
Breathing tips off the court
Learn to breathe from your diaphragm
Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing is how we should be breathing all the time. However, as we age we develop bad posture and bad habits. We tend to breathe from our chest know as shallow breathing. Pay attention to your posture. Try not to hunch over; instead keep a long spine, inhale from the diaphragm and exhale.
Train your respiratory muscles
Use a breathing resistance exerciser like PowerBreathe to strengthen your respiratory muscles. This will allow you to breathe easier on the court and off the court. It will also improve your endurance.
Practicing conscious breathing will help clear your mind. It relieves anxiety and helps you think more clearly which can help your padel game as well as your daily routine.