By: Coach Chad Radecker
Intention: A determination to act in a certain way (Webster’s Dictionary).
Intention is one of the most important words we use when practicing a sport, especially golf. When we go to the driving range, putting green, or sand trap, we must have a plan or intention.
It’s common to see people at the driving range use every club in their bag to hit hundreds and hundreds of golf balls. Golfers are often told that to become better players, they must hit hundreds of balls on the range and practice their putting repeatedly. The secret to becoming a better golfer is not necessarily to practice more, but to practice smarter and more effectively. For example, if you want to build swing speed and strength, it is better to go to the gym than the golf course. Hitting hundreds of balls can cause repetitive use injuries and solidify bad habits built from changing proper form due to muscle fatigue (see www.bmihealthcare.co.uk).
How do we practice smarter? First, we must plan. We must decide what we need or want out of practice and then form an intention. If your intention is to learn how to hit a cut, then use a 7 iron and set up and practice a cut. If your intention is to learn how to hit a knock down shot, then you would practice the best tools to meet this end. Be very specific about what you want out of practice. Many people go to the driving range or chipping green and practice by aiming at the tee flag. A better use of time is to mark a spot on the green to practice aim. Intention is best used when we practice one skill at a time. If you are having a problem reading greens, then this is what you work on and is your intention. Understand how to read greens and work on that skill.
We should all remember that golf, or any other sport, is meant to be enjoyed and not suffered. Practice and intention help us focus, stay safe, and get the optimal benefits. Work smarter, be better, and get stronger.
Coach Chad Radecker