Mental Edge

Breathe to Win

Don’t let the title fool you. Although it’s a very poetic and philosophical way of saying you should always maintain a winning mentality, it’s not what this article is about. Instead, it’s about giving yourself as an eSport athlete, a very natural edge.


People take breathing for granted. It’s not something we ever think about, unless it suddenly becomes hard to do. But sometimes it’s the seemingly basic things that can make a very big difference, such as breathing. For centuries breathing techniques have been used to induce mental states and changes in the body. And if you ask any meditation or yoga instructor, they’ll ratify how important breathing is during the exercise.


But why is this important for eSport athletes?


Your main tool within a match-up is your brain. You depend on your quick reflexes, memory and decision making skills to win. Now, isn’t it cool that just by simply breathing correctly, you can boost all of them substantially?


The Study


Northwestern University recently did a study on how breathing affects the brain. How does breathing influence a person mentally and physically, apart from keeping us alive? That’s the question they wanted to answer, and the results wasn’t surprising.


They discovered that certain methods of breathing give your brain a split second reflex boost. In a CS:GO tournament, that split second can make the world of difference.


They did several other tests, of course, covering other questions like the difference between inhaling and exhaling, and breathing through the mouth or the nose. It seems the electrical activity that’s being created inside the brain while breathing, improves an array of mental abilities if the right rhythm is used.


Two Breathing Techniques for eSport Athletes


  • Breathe quickly

Just like therapists want their patients to breathe in slowly, you want to speed up your breathing a little while competing. It gets your brain to focus more and tweaks your reflexes. And try to do most if the breathing through your nose.


  • Crossed  Squat Breathing Technique

This method is very old, but effective. Just to prove it has some credibility, Dr. Ang, a neurologist at Yale, proved this technique synchronized the two hemispheres of the brain via EEG images. And when the hemispheres are synchronized, you walk away smarter and faster.


Stand up straight with a shoulder distance between your feet. Now, as strange as it sounds, hold both earlobes between your thumbs and index fingers (left hand on right ear, right hand on left ear – crossing your arms). Squat where you stand and go as far as possible. While you go down breathe in through your nose. As you come back up, breathe out.  Repeat.

This is a routine breathing exercise you can do between 1 and 3 minutes a day, and after a few days you’ll notice the change.


Yes, this sounds very deceptive, but just remember, that deceptive breathe you take involves a highly chemical reaction where oxygen is separated from carbon dioxide in how many seconds and without you even noticing?