Intention -> Attention -> Novel Ideas

Have you ever gone to the range with an intention?

Just one, singularly focused goal? How did that go? Were you able to stick to it? If so, what did you learn?


I was with my friend Matt on the beach at Antonio’s – a somewhat well-known surf spot in Rincón Puerto Rico. We had just driven from aptly named “surfer’s beach” in Aguadilla (where we totally scored). On the 30 minute coastal trek in Matt’s black Tacoma we discussed surfing, life, and happiness. At the end of the road and in the parking lot at “parking lots” we shifted focus to the rolling sets of glassy 4-6’ waves, feathering off a mist of spray as they broke due to the slightly off-shore breeze. “This is an ‘air-wind’!, I exclaimed.” Boards waxed, we walked up the beach. There I proposed, “have any intentions for this session?”.


Matt looked out to sea, then down at the sand, then finally back at me and said “yeah, I’d like to work on doing a good top turn with a full compression and balance as I come back down”. I mentioned I would intend that too as I had been really trying to get better at snapping off the lip. 


The waves were slow and rolling at first and then stacking up and pitching as they hit the reef. Perfect conditions to paddle in, gather speed, and have a little time to set up for a good top-turn. For the first few waves we both had some good attempts and then, from my view out the back, over the crest of a wave I caught Matt making a super solid top turn with full compression as he disappeared below the spray. I knew he nailed it. 


When he came back out he had this look on his face. The look of novelty – of a novel idea coming to light.


Matt opined profoundly, “having the intention of doing a good top turn really made me aware of what it would take to get in position in the set-up – leading up to the turn.” He went on, “This made me aware of the bottom turn I needed to make and the positioning as I dropped in…”. 


One singularly focused intention allowed Matt’s intuitive mind to build the entire chain of events necessary to complete the goal. Pretty cool. 


In golf, I’ve witnessed countless players with the intention of a compressed, center-contact strike, having everything they need to lead them to novel ideas about how to get there. The swings they produce intentionally and intuitively look natural, powerful, and graceful.


Next time you’re on the range try this: go there with just a 9-iron. Zoom the lens of your focus to the impact position. Lock in on the visual and the kinesthetic sensations. Then allow your mind to fill in the gaps of the take-away, the transition, and the forceful approach of the club on its way to a center strike on the ball. 

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment here and share your thoughts. 

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