One of the techniques of breathing disciplines for pitchers, is to control your intake (amount) and rate of release –breath.
In competitive situations it’s not unusual to have an increase in heart rate, rates of breathing and perspiration. All of which come into play when pitching – in varying degrees.
With respect to breathing, it’s very important to maintain a consistent pulse of breathing,more that just the causal observer with notice. Without going into too much detail here, one of the simplest examples of one breathing discipline – exhaling, or grunting as RIstart would call it, is to release air gradually from the midsection of the body. In particular the lower portion of the body cavity that is just below the lungs. By releasing this air you allow your body to be far more flexible and fluid in, through, and after your delivery.
One of the most basic platforms of pitching that compliments the protocols of sound mechanics are breathing techniques. Unfortunately, for most … and I so stress the word most, not all … pitchers under the age of fifteen (15) do not have the attention span and focus to maintain this training. Hence, it’s not covered very well , if at all, until the first year of college. However, there are exceptions.
Specifically, try this exercise:
Take a deep breath and hold it. Then, try and bend over and touch the bottom of your kneecaps. Kind of uncomfortable isn’t it. Now take another deep breath – hold it, but this time exhale about half of it and then try and touch your shins. Not so bad now, is it?
For those of you interested in the initial steps of breathing disciplines for pitchers – try this simple exercise.
for one minute in duration only
for the first five seconds control your intake breathing – try to regulate a smooth easy inhale
for the next five seconds control you exhale – try to regulate a smooth easy exhale.
for the next five second control your intake breathing – try to regulate a smooth easy inhale.
……continue this inhale and exhale in five second intervals for one (1) minute.
If you’ve never done this kind of breath control before, I suggest sitting down first, just incase you lightheaded.
As another suggestion, the next time you’re at the park or playing catch, try taking a deep breath and then throw (pitch). Note your performance. Now, take a deep breath then release half of it and throw (pitch) and note the performance. The second time around you should see a noticeable
ease in your delivery and overall performance. Also, if you’re a power guy looking for better than average velocity numbers, it’s essential that you command your breathing techniques.
I should note however, some pitches find it awfully difficult breaking the habit taking in a breath then holding it while they give it that final HUMPH ! I strongly recommend getting away from that.
Good observation RIstar.