Learning to control your breathing is one of the most fundamental skills of doing any activity that requires you to perform under pressure.
Controlling your breathing will enhance your focus and allow you to achieve a calm state of arousal, widely considered to be the ideal performance state…
Self awareness is the first step. Make a mental note of your breathing the next time you slide open the aircraft door and prepare to exit. Are you breathing normally? Has the pace of your breathing increased or are you holding your breath? What about during the jump?
A key to becoming more conscious of your breathing is to breathe in through your nose instead of your mouth. Breathing in deeply through your nose will allow your diaphragm (the muscle located between your lungs and stomach) to expand, forcing air into your lungs and increasing blood flow to and from the heart.
Exhale on Exit
The ride to altitude is an excellent time to practice deliberate breathing control and is just as important as visualizing the jump. During climb-out, I like to take a few deep breaths as I get into exit position. As the exit count is given, I take a deep breath so that I exhale as we step off the plane. This helps me remain calm and focused during the first few critical moments when the formation is on the hill.
Plan your Breathing
I also plan on taking a deep breath at a few different points throughout the jump. To remind myself of this, I’ll use mental triggers such as when I key a formation or when I’m in an outfacing position. You’ll find that gratification comes instantly after you take a deep breath during the jump. You’ll relax, your field of vision will expand and your focus will become sharper.
Experiment with these techniques, find out what works best for you and put them into practice. Making controlled breathing a habitual part of your preparation process on the ground and on the way to altitude will have a noticeable and positive effect on your performance in the air.
This is the second in a series of five articles about 8-way, by multiple World Champion Matt Davidson.
Next article: On the Hill
Previous article: Working with your Clone & Piece Partner
- Competition Headspace - 30th July 2016
- Controlling your Breathing - 30th July 2016
- Grip Management - 11th August 2015
- 8-Way On the Hill - 9th June 2015
- Working with your Clone & Piece Partner - 9th June 2015
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