The excitement of the Ryder Cup is in the air as the United States looks to stop the bleeding from the dominance of the European teams over the last decade. The crowds are out in full force and will only get louder as the week goes on. The athletes on both teams will feel tremendous pressure as the individual sport we all know and love becomes one where one shot (good or bad) can affect not only their playing partner, but the vibe of the entire team. The best players in the world are used to playing in front of crowds and controlling their emotions while doing so, but there is something different about this tournament. The energy around the property is electric and the roars from the grandstands can be heard across the course. In order for players on both teams to control their emotions and execute to the best of their abilities under this pressure, it is critical they are aware of and able to control their heart rates and breathing rates.
When preparing for competition, whether in the Ryder Cup or in your local competitive tournaments, it is important to prepare for all variables that you can control (proper equipment, adequate nutrition, pre-round warm up, etc.). Elevated heart rates and breathing rates are normal for competition, and managing these factors could be the difference in the match. The next time you feel your heart rate creeping up and your breaths getting shorter, stop. Take the time. Close your eyes, inhale through your nose, hold your breath for 2-3 seconds, and slowly exhale over the next 5-8 seconds out of your mouth. Do this until you feel your heart rate settle and your breaths become more normalized. It isn’t until then that you should begin your pre-shot routine and envision that tee shot piped down the middle of the fairway.
Happy Ryder Cup Week everyone! Enjoy the excitement at Whistling Straits!