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2014 MLL Championship Game Denver Outlaws vs. Rochester Rattlers 2015 Major League Lacrosse

Chris Bocklet on Success, Motivation & Setting Goals

We sat down with pro lacrosse player Chris Bocklet to talk about his career which has been built on conscious hard work and constant preparation.

Editor’s Note: Let’s welcome Cory Ames from One Stop Lacrosse to the site! Cory has been collecting some pretty in-depth interviews with the game’s biggest names and now we’re sharing them with you! Let it rip, Cory!

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What’s going on guys? With this interview, and with interviews like these to follow, my number one goal is to breakdown what success looks like in the sport of lacrosse.

Who better to help us break it down, then a professional right?

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All these questions are asked with the purpose of giving you actionable take aways to go out and apply immediately, in-game or in training.

Let’s kick things off by learning a bit about the professional dishin’ out the golden nuggets this time around, Chris Bocklet, of the Denver Outlaws.

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Chris Bocklet Denver Outlaws

Chris Bocklet

Position: Attack
Height: 6’0’’
Weight: 182 lbs.
Birth Date: 8/6/1989

Chris Bocklet was born in South Salem, New York. After an awesome career at John Jay High School in Cross River, New York, Chris earned the rating as the No. 7 recruit in the country. Chris captured All-American honors two times in high school, and was selected four times for an all-league spot. Chris not only played lacrosse, but became an accomplished football player as well, earning third-team All-State honors as a safety playing football.

Chris took his lacrosse skills to the University of Virginia, and ended his career as the fifth-leading scorer in school history. In 2012, the Charlotte Hounds drafted Chris in the 2012 MLL Draft but soon traded him to Denver. As a member of the Outlaws, Chris has continued to shine.

In 2013, Chris earned his first MLL All-Star selection, and was runner-up to the league’s Offensive Player of the Year Award, as he led the league in goals with 42, and tied for the lead in points with 55. Chris’ older brother Matt is also a member for the Outlaws and plays defense.

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Q&A with Chris Bocklet

Ames: As you have matured your skills and approach to playing the attack position, what specific figures have influenced you the most in your particular style and mentality?

Bocklet: I have been influenced by many figures throughout my years playing. But the people I first looked up to when I started playing lacrosse were my two brothers.

I loved watching the creativity of my oldest brother Mike who never feared throwing the ball behind his back or diving across the cage with wreckless abandon. Matt has inspired me to play as hard as I can each and every play, and shows me through play of his, the power of determination.

Now, I watch my younger sister play at Virginia and hope to play half as hard as she does and with anything close to her speed.

Do you set any lacrosse specific goals, especially with season approaching? If, so how do those usually look? Are they formal, written out onto a page, or informal, kept more so in your head?

I do believe in setting goals for yourself. I truly believe there is something about writing down your goals that helps accomplish them.

My goal is very simple each and every year, so at this point I feel that I have it engraved. My goal is to help my team win and I prepare each day with the fear that I am not good enough to do so.

Who do you consider to be one of the most unorthodox coaches/trainers you have come across? What makes their style of training so different?

I have been very blessed with my coaches and trainers over the years. To be honest they have been very similar in that they are all player/coaches and do a great job of lifting you up instead of bringing you down.

As a high school coach in Allen, Texas that is the coaching philosophy that I have taken for my teams.

Say you have a game at 5 p.m., what does your pre-game preparation look like? Does it extend to the night before? Do you have any rituals or processes that you have to follow?

I like to make sure I eat a healthy meal 2-3 hours before game time. I am very particular about two things. My sticks and my socks. I leave a ball with a pen stabilizing my pocket after the pre-game practice so that my pocket is where I like it.

I also love wearing brand new, right out of the bag game socks. I have been doing that since college.

I personally am a firm believer to the 80/20 rule, 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. If you had to apply the 80/20 rule to drills (as specific to players who consider themselves “goal-scorers” like yourself), which specific few drills would give you the most rapid and noticeable improvement?

First thing I always tell players, is that if they want to be a great shooter, they need their own bag of balls. Becoming better at shooting requires tons of repetition which turns into mental memory. As for a specific drill, one that I love is the “3 Shot Drill.”

“3 Shot Drill” As Explained by Chris:

Starts with a split and on-the-run shot. You then curl up for a step down feed from a friend up top. The last shot is a backdoor cut for an inside finish. You need a partner for this drill but I like it a lot because you’re getting reps, your feet are moving the whole time, and you’re getting three different types of shots (On-the-run, step-down, inside finish).

Chris, you have led the MLL in goals, you have scored multiple six-goal games, and recorded an awesome 137 goals during your college career at UVA. That HAS to take an elite level of composure and level of mental comfort around the net.

Would you mind speaking to your mental approach to the game? How do you prep yourself for the required speed and pace to your thinking during play? Do you have any specific “mental drills/practices” you have cemented into your overall training?

I just try to play loose out there and have fun. You can’t always expect to play your best all the time. I try to let the game come to me instead of trying to make the plays happen.

I find when I do this I have my best games. I also tend to play for people in my life and people I know are watching. My freshmen year at UVA I rode the bench the entire year.

Even though I only got in the games for maybe a couple minutes when we were ahead, my dad would still make the 7 hour drive from N.Y. to Virginia to see me play for that single minute. That really spoke values to me. My dad as well as my mom are people who have inspired me to enjoy every moment.

For younger/novice lacrosse (attacking-minded) players, what sorts of training or drills would you consider to be the biggest waste of time?

I think the biggest waste of time would be going out to shoot with a couple balls. If you only have one ball make use of it and hit the wall. Also you can never not watch enough lacrosse.

Watch players and teams you like and adopt some of their styles into your own game.

Do you prescribe to any sort of daily (or near daily) bodily maintenance (i.e. yoga, flexibility training, cold baths/showers)?

My training is probably a little different than most. I follow beach body workout DVD’s to stay in shape. The current one I am following is Insanity Max 30, a 30 minute workout that incorporates lifting all body weight, and non-stop cardio.

If I can’t get to the turf to run sprints, I run outside. Lacrosse is a game of stop and go sprints, especially on the attack end, so what I do is sprint, then jog between telephone poles.

If you had 30 days to train a novice at the attack position, and at the end of the 30 days your trainee had to do their best to “fill your shoes” in a highly competitive, let’s say professional game, and score a goal, what would their training look like?

That would be a lot of fun to do. I could use a workout partner to follow the DVDs with, shoot with, watch film with, etc. But to be completely honest I would tell the person to sit on the crease with their stick up in the air and once they feel the ball in the back of their stick, shoot.

Then, I would let John Grant Jr. do his thing. I think that strategy might get the novice level player at least a couple goals.

For younger developing attack minded players, looking to consume quality resources on improving their skill at the position, upgrade their goal scoring potential, what resources would you direct them towards (online or offline)?

I would tell them to not worry about which travel team they are on and just focus on working to becoming a better player. There is no secret to becoming a great player, there is only preparation and hard work

When you decided to become an attackman, it is not because you don’t like to run, it is because you are saying you have the best stick skills on the team. If you have the stick in your hand all the time and focus on having the best stick skills, every time you walk on the field there will always be a team and spot for you.

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Brief Recap

Play Hard

Clearly, this point is very important to Chris. He grew up modeling the fearless play of his brothers, and now holds huge respect for his sister, playing college ball, who he claims plays harder than he does.

Chris’s understanding of the game is that nothing comes to you easy. Like he said,

There is no secret to becoming a great player, there is only preparation and hard work.

Spend time working on your game, YOU WILL GET BETTER, it’s that simple.

Set Goals

As we saw, Chris enters into every season with a clear state of mind. He will do what he needs to, to help his team win. Of course that seems like a no-brainer, but honestly it can be something we forget. Ingrain a goal into your head, for how you approach each season, each practice, and each game.

Define Who/What You Play For

Chris is a player who simply loves the game. He cherishes his every minute, because his parents first cherished every one of the few minutes he got his freshman year at Virginia.

Chris plays for the love of the game, and for the people who love watching him play. You have to assume that pushes him to excel.

Get Your Own Bag of Balls

This was a very important point Chris made. Going out and doing some shooting anytime is great, but you are wasting your time if you don’t come with a good amount of balls. It’s all about repetition!

Follow a Workout Plan

Chris’ workout plan certainly is not one that you will find tons of other pros doing. But that’s awesome, because it works for him, and he sticks with it!

Following a decent workout plan that you follow, is much better than the “perfect workout plan,” that you can’t make a habit.

Run Sprints

This is very important to note. Lacrosse is a game of stop-and-go sprints. The best way to prepare for this style of play, is to run sprints! There are tons of benefits for choosing to run sprints, and Chris has certainly taken note of that.

Focus on Improvement

A good final point to end on, don’t concern yourself with where you are “right now,” focus your efforts on getting better each time you step onto the field.

From the looks of it, Chris’ career has been made off of conscious hard work, and preparation. He has no ‘secret sauce.’ Simply put, he has focused on getting better, little by little.

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I hope you took some value out of this conversation I got to have with Chris, he really put some hard thought and consideration into every question.

If there any questions you would like asked for the next group of players whose brains I get to pick, send us an email, or better yet, hit us up on Twitter!

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