top of page


Mindset Made Simple Tip #21

The year isn’t over yet and we are already looking ahead to how we can improve our play, our systems, our time management and, I HOPE, our MINDSET in 2021!

I know may of us are ready to bid 2020 adieu, but there is still time to finish strong in 2020, despite all the challenges it has brought with it.

One simple thing we and our players can start over the final few weeks of 2020 to help improve our performance…. and our lives…is to begin incorporating a breathing practice.

Deep breathing does wonders for our brains and our bodies alike.

Deep breathing reduces blood to the LIMBIC SYSTEM (or our ELEPHANT, if you read Jonathan Haidt or have attended any of my webinars) and allows the PREFRONTAL CORTEX (our RIDER) to take over!

This simple act can slow our heart rate, lower our blood pressure and decrease our stress. It is also proven to aid in digestion, change the chemicals in our brain and improve our immune system.


Now we just need to be intentional about it!

How do you start? You may want to look back at Mindset Made Simple Tip #16 on Change and you can begin by putting these steps into practice.

As a quick reminder –

1. Start small

2. Find an anchor (meaning, tie it to something you already to – habit stacking)

3. Celebrate!

So, start with a simple which what they call Vagus Nerve breathing with a simple 2 in -4 out cadence. The Vagus nerve signals the heart to lower its rate…amazing! (There is a little more to it than that, but the benefit is all that really matters!)

If you want to be a little more deliberate, start with a breath into a 6 count, suspend your breath for 2 and breathe out for 8.

To get all of the benefits of this, take DEEP BELLY BREATHS!

This may be the only time that increasing the space you take up horizontally is good for you! Breathing “up and down” does not allow your lower lungs to fill with air and this is where the greatest amount of blood flow occurs.

­Chest breathing is usually rapid and shallow, but BELLY BREATHING returns more blood to the heart which increases blood flow which allowing more oxygen to transfer to the muscles (important for athletes) and better delivery of nutrients to the body (also important for athletes).

Believe it or not, DEEP BELLY BREATHING can keep increase the flexibility in our core muscles as well. Any of you who have dealt with athletes suffering from intercostal muscle injuries understand this benefit!

You can find all kinds of options online or in the Insight Timer app, but the truth is that taking time to concentrate on your breathing as it fits your life will help you and your athletes in so many ways!

You will notice that your mind wanders A LOT as you begin your breathing practice. THIS IS NORMAL. Just acknowledge the thought and get right back to focusing on your breath…the way your body feels as you inhale and exhale, the way the air feels as it enters your nose and exits your mouth, your count, !the way your belly rises and falls…whatever you want to focus on!

Practicing these DEEP BELLY BREATHS now will help you build this in as you work on preperformance routines, mistake rituals, pre- and post-game visualization and other performance enhancing tools.

It is never too late to start a good new thing and there is never a better time than now!

Finish this year off by adding this simple practice to your team’s agenda and yours! Your brain, your muscles, your immune system and your performance will thank you!

Need something to do to keep your team moving forward over break? Call me to set up a team training session! We can design it to fit your team’s current needs. I assure you they will benefit from taking some time to think about their mental performance!

Fill those lungs and be well!


Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946



Be strong and courageous. Joshua 1:9


bottom of page