It may sound sometimes like we tell you that you should never ever mouth breath, but that isn’t the case at all!
You should be breathing through your nose 99% of the time, but there are key moments to open your mouth and get as much air in and out as possible!
To understand when mouth breathing is a good idea first think about why nasal breathing is so important. For most athletes we push them to nasal breathe because it helps to build their CO2 tolerance, increasing their overall endurance. When you exercise or play a sport you create high levels of CO2.
When you breathe through your mouth you are able to both bring in more Oxygen and, even more importantly, able to breath out a lot more Carbon Dioxide. This allows you to get rid of that excess CO2 causing you to feel out of breath.
Competing and Training
In a baseball game you take the weighted ring off the bat before you are up. The extra weight is great for training because it makes the bat feel lighter in the game.
Think of nasal breathing (dependent on the sport) just like that weight. During training you should be nasal breathing most of the time. In a game, however, you don’t want to keep doing something that holds you back. Fighting to continue nasal breathing in a field sport like soccer would quickly become a hindrance. Even though it is a good idea to return to breathing with your nose for recovery you will need to open your mouth for high intensity bursts. The great thing is if you have been doing your nasal breathing in training opening your mouth will feel like a rocket boost of energy.
The only times during training in which we would purposefully instruct to you use your mouth to breath is when we are specifically training those high intensity bursts. After-all, if you never ever open your mouth in training when you have to in competition it will feel totally foreign.