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Controlling Heart Rate

Q. After I play a long point, my heart is always beating like crazy. Do you know any tricks on how to control it down after the point?

A. Professional players cope with this same exact scenario, albeit they are supremely fit. Make sure to take some extra time before starting the next point. Take at least one, and maybe a few, deep breaths. Sometimes the heart races when we feel stress on the court. A deep breath tends to melt some of this anxiety. If you are serving, bounce the ball a few extra times before starting the point. If you are receiving serve, do not walk straight to the return position; instead, recover your breath near the back fence, and then get ready.

I do not advocate stalling, but taking a few extra seconds after a particularly long point, especially when you feel winded, is prudent.

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