Diaphragm Breathing Athletic PerformanceCategoriesPodcast Sports Psychologists and Dietitians

Episode 154 – Samantha McLeod

In the world of sports, every edge counts. Athletes tirelessly train their bodies, seeking that extra ounce of performance that can make all the difference. One often overlooked aspect that can be a game-changer is mastering Diaphragm Breathing Athletic Performance techniques. Integrating diaphragm breathing into your training regimen can lead to remarkable improvements in focus, coordination, and overall performance on the field. Diaphragm Breathing Athletic Performance techniques have been shown to enhance endurance and power output, allowing athletes to push their limits further. This technique empowers athletes to tap into their full potential, giving them an invaluable advantage in competitive scenarios. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting on your athletic journey, understanding and incorporating Diaphragm Breathing Athletic Performance into your routine can elevate your game to a whole new level.

Samantha is the Managing Director of The SAM Centre. She is a Clinical Health Psychologist and a Sport and Exercise Psychologist. Samantha has 30 years of experience in private practice in well-established multidisciplinary clinics and as a consultant to private businesses, peak and sporting bodies, tertiary lecturer, and clinical leader in corporate and public health organizations.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Importance of getting out of your comfort zone
  • Getting experience in elite sport as a sports psychologist
  • What it takes to develop a champion’s mindset
  • How to improve your recovery and performance with diaphragmatic breathing
  • Mental skills athletes can start practicing now to become elite

Why Diaphragm Breathing Matters

Diaphragm breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a fundamental technique that engages the diaphragm muscle to draw in deeper breaths. This technique is pivotal for athletes as it maximizes the intake of oxygen, the crucial fuel for muscles during strenuous activity. By incorporating diaphragm breathing into your routine, you can enhance your endurance levels, allowing you to push boundaries and excel in your sport.

The Physiology Behind Diaphragm Breathing

Understanding the science behind diaphragm breathing is key to unlocking its potential. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. When it contracts, it creates a vacuum effect, drawing air into the lungs. This deep inhalation optimizes oxygen exchange, ensuring that muscles receive the necessary oxygen for optimal function.

Reducing Performance Anxiety with Diaphragm Breathing

In high-pressure moments, athletes often experience performance anxiety, leading to tension and decreased coordination. Diaphragm breathing acts as a powerful tool to counteract this response. By engaging the diaphragm, you activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing the fight-or-flight response. This allows for smoother, more controlled movements, particularly critical during critical game moments.

Incorporating Diaphragm Breathing into Training

To reap the benefits of diaphragm breathing, it’s essential to integrate it seamlessly into your training routine. Start with focused breathing exercises during warm-ups, gradually incorporating them into skill drills and game simulations. Coaches can play a pivotal role in emphasizing the importance of diaphragm breathing, ensuring that athletes adopt this technique as a natural part of their performance enhancement toolkit.

Enhancing Mind-Body Connection

Diaphragm breathing extends beyond physical benefits; it fosters a deeper mind-body connection. Athletes who master this technique find themselves more attuned to their body’s signals, allowing for quicker adjustments and a heightened sense of control during play. This increased awareness can be the key differentiator in critical moments, enabling split-second decisions that lead to victory.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Game with Diaphragm Breathing

Incorporating diaphragm breathing techniques into your training arsenal is a transformative step toward unlocking your full athletic potential. By optimizing oxygen intake, reducing performance anxiety, and enhancing the mind-body connection, you can take your performance to new heights. Embrace diaphragm breathing as a core element of your training routine, and watch as it propels you toward success on the field. Elevate your game, starting today.

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Optimize Athlete Recovery PerformanceCategoriesAFL Players Podcast

Episode 153 – Harry Sheezel

In the competitive world of Australian Rules Football, every player understands the crucial role recovery plays in maintaining top-notch performance. Optimize Athlete Recovery Performance Harry Sheezel, a Medium Defender at North Melbourne knows this better than most. With years of experience under his belt, he has honed a set of recovery methods that have proven instrumental in keeping him at the peak of his game. Optimize Athlete Recovery Performance.

Harry is one of the most recognized upcoming AFL players in the 2022 draft. Not only an elite football player, he loves hanging out with his family and friends and playing golf.

  • Local Club: Ajax FC
  • Nab League Club: Sandringham Dragons
  • Team He Barracks for Hawthorn

Highlights of the episode:

  • Harry’s fave recovery methods
  • The key areas Harry focuses on when playing as a speed forward
  • Why focusing on your strengths as a player is so critical
  • Why Harry values training smart and quality of training over volume
  • Tips for footballers to boost their confidence and the ability to reset during games

Infrared Sauna: A Game-Changer

One of Sheezel’s go-to recovery tools is the infrared sauna, a practice he swears by for its transformative effects on his body. Multiple times a week, he steps into his own at-home sauna, letting the deep-penetrating heat work its magic. This powerful therapy aids in flushing out toxins, promoting blood circulation, and alleviating muscle soreness – all key components in a successful recovery routine.

Post-Game Massages: The Ultimate Reset

After the final whistle blows, Sheezel doesn’t waste any time in prioritizing his body’s recuperation. Post-game massages have become a non-negotiable in his regimen. This targeted therapy targets specific muscle groups, ensuring they receive the attention and care they need to bounce back quickly. It’s this level of commitment to recovery that enables Sheezel to hit the training ground with renewed vigor, week after week.

Agility, Decision-Making, and Gym Work

When asked about his remarkable agility and decision-making skills on the field, Sheezel attributes them to years of dedication and practice. These are talents that he began honing in his Junior career, recognizing their immense value in his role as a Medium Defender. Additionally, he emphasizes the impact of gym work, with a special focus on agility and power training. This comprehensive approach has fortified his performance and made him a standout player in the league.

Playing to Strengths: A Lesson from the Dragons

Joining the Dragons taught Sheezel a crucial lesson: the power of playing to one’s strengths. Instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, he discovered that exceptional strengths are what set players apart from the rest of the cohort. This revelation has informed his approach to training and has undoubtedly been a contributing factor to his success on the field.

The Smart Training Philosophy

Sheezel’s journey has not been without its challenges, one of the most significant being stress fractures. In overcoming this obstacle, he learned the importance of training with intelligence. Quality triumphs over quantity, and he advises against the temptation of multiple sessions a day. Instead, he advocates for meticulous planning, adequate recovery time, and supplementary activities like Pilates to maintain strength and consistency.

In conclusion, Harry Sheezel’s approach to athlete recovery is a masterclass in balance and strategy. His reliance on the infrared sauna, targeted massages, and intelligent training methods provides a blueprint for athletes looking to elevate their performance and extend their careers. By focusing on strengths and prioritizing quality over quantity, Sheezel’s methods have not only propelled him to success but also served as an inspiration for aspiring athletes everywhere.

People mentioned:

  • David Buttifant 
  • Jackson Kornberg
  • Lance Franklin
  • David Francis
  • Jack Scrimshaw

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