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Performing Under Pressure: Gaining the Mental Edge in Business and Sport by Saul L Miller

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Chapter 8. CONTINUITY

Have you ever lost your focus during an important meeting or event? Continuity is about maintaining order and flow. One way to experience more continuity and consistency is to tune into your breathing.

As a rookie in the big leagues, Sid was a very talented young pitcher who was somewhat erratic and easily upset. He wanted something to enhance his concentration and consistency and help him feel more relaxed while he was on the mound. We began working with his breathing, especially continuity, and the idea that the breath is like waves in the ocean and the waves never stop. Whatever was happening, I wanted him to experience that the waves keep on flowing. When he threw a strike, there was the next wave. If he missed on a pitch, there was the next wave. Regardless of circumstance or outcome, whether he was up by a run or down by three, whether he had walked the last batter or struck him out, the waves just kept on rolling. It was wave after wave, breath after breath, and that flow was with him.

During a three-month period, we spent eight or nine hours working together. The coaching addressed power thinking, releasing tension, experiencing the breath as waves in the ocean, and relating this to his pitching. I encouraged him to tune into his breathing from time to time throughout the game. As someone who grew up near the ocean, he enjoyed the wave metaphor and found it useful. The more he tuned into the consistency of the waves, the more ease and consistency he seemed ...

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