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KEY POINTS:

1. Stress and anxiety are the biggest threats to your Zone.

2. Deep, controlled breathing to calm anxiety or stress is called Combat Breathing. You can do it anytime you feel that you are out of your Zone.

3. If you practice combat breathing every day, this exercise will become automatic on the day of your race, game, or performance.

Today’s Exercise: Practice Combat Breathing

1) Get into good posture by aligning your spine and stretching yourself upward. You can be lying down, sitting in a chair or standing. Then relax your muscles.

2) Do a scan for tension in your body and then focus on that area while you take a slow deep breath. Think about “letting go” of the tension as you exhale. (It might take a few breaths to get an area like your shoulders or forehead to release and relax).

3) When you feel you have addressed the tense areas, start taking controlled breaths. (inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 6 seconds).

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More on Combat Breathing

Now that you have a sense of what your Zone is, you need to learn how to return to your ideal performance state when going gets tough. When tension creeps into your relaxed, high-energy, high-output state, your effort increases but your performance drops.

You can use a technique called Combat Breathing when stress or tension prevent you from being in your Zone.

The key is to realize you are stressed and take slow deep breaths when you are trying to get in the Zone for a performance or competition.

The reason breathing is so effective is that the centres of your brain that control breathing are closely linked to the area that controls stress. If you can calm the electrical activity in the breathing centre, then you have a good chance of calming the stress. That’s why yoga and meditation work.

Take a moment to practice relaxation breathing at least once per day, ideally during a moment when you're feeling tense or stressed. If you practice it enough the relaxation response will become almost automatic whenever you're feeling anxious.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.