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  • Writer's pictureJared

The Importance Of Intent In Training

One of the most common goals of the golfers I work with is to increase club head speed, ball speed and distance. There are a variety of options a golfer could go in their pursuit of more speed such as starting a training program at the gym, trying one of the weighted club speed training systems such as the Stack System or SuperSpeed Golf or maybe doing some lessons to improve their technique to create more speed. Any of these options could potentially be beneficial, however there is a common variable underlying each of these which can have significant impact on your results. That variable is your intent when training. You can have the best program or plan in the world, but if your intent doesn't align with the goal, then you are likely not going to get the maximal benefit out of your efforts. Keep reading for a couple of common examples of how your intent can impact the results of your training and practice.

What does training with max intent mean in the gym?

While there are several factors related to the ability to create club head speed, a golfer's body and physical capabilities are an important piece of this equation. Professional and amateur golfers have realized the importance of the body and that the gym can be a solution to achieving their desired speed and distance related goals among other benefits. Your body's ability to create speed and power is going to have a significant impact on your ability to produce club head speed. While each golfer's program will vary somewhat depending on their unique needs, many times speed and power based exercises are performed at some point in the training program of a golfer looking to add more speed to their game.

Common examples of speed and power exercises include Olympic lifting, rotational band exercises, jumping and medicine ball throws. Medicine ball throws are something that many golfers are familiar with. There are several exercises that can be done with a medicine ball such as various slams and rotational throws. In theory these exercises can have good transfer to the golf swing. However, you could have the best exercise and set and rep scheme, but it could be for not if you are not executing the exercises with correct intent.

To put it simply you should move the med ball or bar or band as fast as possible (with good form) to get your desired training effect. The video above highlights the example of a medicine ball rotational throw. Watch the first two reps he performs compared to the last two reps. The first two reps look like he is going through the motions at half speed while there is a clear increase in the intensity of the exercises in the next two reps. The first reps are essentially a waste of time and no where intense enough to make a change. This might seem like common sense, but is something that I observe on the gym fairly often.

Tips for training with max intent

1.Have some form of feedback: Much like having a launch monitor such as Trackman giving you feedback when hitting balls, there are several options to track different metrics in the gym such as med ball velocity or distance thrown, jump height/distance, bar speed, etc. Being able to track these numbers can set a baseline and then give you something to strive to beat when training and indicate if you are executing with the proper intent and not going through the motions. At my gym I have Proteus Motion and one of my favorite features of this technology is the ability to get immediate feedback on speed, power and acceleration on each rep. Below is a picture of an exercise on Proteus indicating power levels. You can see what your previous personal best was and how your reps compare to that. This might seem minor but it does help to make training more like a game and get a little more effort out of each rep.

2. Make it a competitive training environment: Similar to the point above, gamifying your training and making it a competition can be a great way to perform with max intent. This can be an internal competition with yourself such as the example of the Proteus exercise above or it can be with a teammate or training partner.

3. Avoid fatigue: fatigue will have a significant impact on your ability to produce maximum power. You ideally want to complete your speed and power exercises at times when you are recovered and fresh, such as at the beginning of a workout instead of the end. Also, monitoring for fatigue going into a workout. Sleep, stress, hydration and nutrition can all have a significant impact on your recovery going into a training session and indicate if your body is is in the right state to perform at it's best and benefit from this type of training.

How does this apply to the golf swing?

The same principles in the gym apply to swing training for speed.

Overspeed/Underspeed training:

Speed training systems such as SuperSpeed Golf and the Stack System have become very common in the programs of golfers looking to increase their speed. These systems involve swinging club (s) slightly lighter and heavier than a driver. When training with these clubs the goal is to swing for maximum effort and speed with each swing. It can be easier to swing with max intent with these systems as there is no ball to hit. When training with one of these systems you will need some form of feedback to track and monitor your speed to assess for progress. I am a little biased toward the Stack System as their app tracks all of your speed and progress from each training session. Knowing what your previous personal best speeds are can be a nice form of motivation to give max effort during your training sessions.

How do you then transfer this to hitting a ball on course?

Swinging the speed training systems mentioned above can make it easier to swing with max intent and no inhibitions as there is no ball to hit or any concern with trying to hit a ball to a target. These systems are great for getting you swinging faster than you normally would. In some cases the gains seen from this type of training translate really well to the golf course with golfers noticing an increase in speed and distance. However, sometimes golfers have trouble accessing this speed when hitting a ball and especially on course. This can even happen to professional golfers.

Padraig Harrington is a good example of this. As Harrington describes, "“When I’d go to the range and practice, I could get ball speeds into the 190s. But when I’d go play, I’d be about 174 ball speed or something,” he says. “So I keep doing my speed work. I still do gym work. But I actually hit the golf ball harder in practice. That’s really what I do when I go" (

For someone who can swing the weighted clubs proportionally faster than driver they will want to focus on swinging with max intent on ball. This would look something like what Bryson is doing in the video above hitting into a net or screen. If using something like Trackman, you would want to remove the shot tracer and range and only focus on maximal club and ball speed and trying to push those numbers as high as possible without worrying about where the ball is going. This is why a net or screen is preferrable. If doing this outside initially if you hit a couple offline your natural reaction will be to slow down in an attempt to gain control which will defeat the purpose of trying to push speed higher. As you get better with doing this in practice you would then want to get more comfortable with starting to swing with more intent on course as well.

A couple of points to clarify with this type of training:

  1. Some form of feedback is a must. You will need some form of radar or launch monitor to track your speeds and your progress. You cannot go on feel alone as this can be very misleading.

  2. These max speed swings only take up a portion of your practice. You can still absolutely do your normal on course swings and at the end of your session take 10-20 balls where you try to swing for max speed.

  3. The goal is not to get your maximum speed swings as your on course swing. As your maximum speed increases, this will also raise your 'crusing' speed on course so you can swing faster with less perceived effort.

  4. Do not overdo it with this type of training. Swinging with max intent is physically taxing and you need to gradually build up the volume of swings to help avoid injury. This is also why it's beneficial to work on your body alongside this swing training to help avoid injury and make the body more resilient to this over time.

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