Golf, Part Six: Breathing & Tempo

The fifth in a series of articles about the golf swing. Familiarity with previous articles would be of benefit.

Tempo in golf has to do with the characteristic style of motion. Do all of the parts consistently move at the same rate of speed, or do the parts move irregularly? All of the parts should move at the same RPM. Tempo means that the clubhead moves as fast as the hands and there should be no effort to make it go faster than them. It also means the hands should not move faster than the lead shoulder. An out-of-tempo swing produces a condition known as “clubhead throw-away”.

Personal breathing patterns (there are three methods) affect fluidity of motion, stamina, and overall health. Correct breathing sends oxygen throughout the body, better breaks down foods, and more efficiently unlocks energy cells. It is important to understand the breathing process to appreciate the possibility of playing better golf by breathing correctly. Everyone breathed correctly at one time, but its process usually goes by the wayside as we come to terms with modern civilization.

We are all aware of the function of the lungs. One of them has three compartments, one on top of another. The other has two.

  1. Shallow breathing is accomplished by inhaling and exhaling through the mouth. Couch potatoes and smoker’s are usually shallow breathers, but this method is not limited, and all couch potatoes and smokers are not shallow breathers. Air reaches only the top lung compartments, but all of the air is not usually expelled before the next inhalation. The remaining compartments are left to stagnate. Quite obviously, this method affects energy and health.
  2. Diaphragm (belly) breathing is inhalation through the nose. It fills up to four of the compartments. People who exercise or sing are examples of this style. Diaphragm breathing supplies better oxygen levels and helps to purify the blood, but the lone lower chamber is left to stagnate.
  3. Chi (deep) breathing is exhalation through the nose. It brings air to the lower chamber: its circulation better touches kidneys, liver, heart, spleen as well. Better emotional control is assured. Only the trained, and babies, exemplify Chi breathing.

Checking the breathing process: Lie on a bed and place either intertwined hands or a book upon the chest. Breathe normally. If the book is rising, you are a shallow breather. If the belly is rising, you are a diaphragm breather. If neither is rising but moving ever so slightly upward, you are a Chi breather.

Here’s How: Changing the breathing pattern is not easy and takes some time for the proper breathing muscles have not done anything for years. But, there is more at stake than a better golf game. Initially, lie on a bed and place two fingers about two inches below the bellybutton. To revitalize the muscles, practice allowing breathing to push the fingers up and pull them back. When you feel comfortable with the newly activated muscles, move them upward to inhale and downward to exhale. You should practice the process when driving a car or walking about. Once you have committed don’t give up until the process is second nature. It will come.

Look for the next article: on the grip.

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