Great article in the NY Times on relaxation and athletic performance.
In a sense, relaxation goes against most athletes’ instincts. Mr. Hart likes to point out the way elementary and middle school children run. “The kids throw their heads back,” Mr. Hart said. “They think that the harder they go, the faster they run.” That sort of body tension is the first thing Mr. Hart tries to correct. “The quickest way to improve a kid is to teach him to relax,” Mr. Hart said.
But it’s also important for athletes to realize that relaxing does not mean slowing down. “A lot of athletes don’t know the difference between relaxing and not running,” Mr. Hart said. With runners, he said, the upper body must relax but, he added, “the lower body is going to run.”