Building Mental Toughness by Playing Multiple Sports

Mar 23, 2021

BTB Lax coach Jesse Miller

In 2019 I went to the Tufts lacrosse Alumni Game.

The game was on a Saturday, but I went up early to golf with my buddy, Mal.

(Mal lives south of Boston… the town next door to my other buddy, Chris.)  

Chris loves to workout.

(Whenever I travel, I make sure to organize my workouts.  It’s a must to get 'em in!) 

Chris had a great itinerary for us...

He picked me up and took me to his boxing gym.

I went twice.  

(Rich was the instructor.  Young guy and VERY energetic!)

It was intense, and I was a big fan!

(Side note:  Holding my hands up the entire time really hit a part of my shoulder that I never felt before.)

On that trip I got three workouts in… two boxing workouts and then a 6 mile run with Rich and Chris.

(Rich and Chris had a routine for each Saturday am where they run 6 miles at 5:30 am.  Rain or shine.  Warm or cold.  Didn’t matter… Absolute animals!)

Here’s the funny thing…

When Chris picked me up each morning, he was always listening to Jocko’s podcast.

Chris loves Jocko.  

(Chris basically lives the “Jocko” life.  Rises early and gets after it.  Then goes to work.  Then back home at night with his family.  It’s impressive and very inspiring!)

. . .

I’m a Jocko fan as well, and I’ve read his books (including his kids books).

Jocko talks a lot about Jiu Jitsu… and how it’s great for mental toughness

In the Way of the Warrior Kid, Uncle Jack gets his nephew signed up for Jiu Jitsu.  

(This was the most recent Jocko book I read.)

This got me thinking back to my workouts with Chris and Rich.

I was already doing lots of things to stay conditioned... 

But I wanted to try Jiu Jitsu and boxing.

I did some research and found a gym in the DC area.

I signed up for my first boxing class…



It’s a high intensity hour.

I started back in early December, and now I'm hooked.

I don't plan on stopping...

It sounds obvious, but there’s a TON of core work involved.

It makes sense as boxers need to have strong cores to absorb punches and to move quickly.

My core is getting a lot stronger.

. . .

During the week, I go to the 6 am class.

It’s only 2 miles from my place, so I can bike there.

After class, I stretch.  

I still lift in the afternoons.   

It's a great routine.

The gym I joined is called Urban Boxing.  It’s not cheap, but I made it work with my budget.

There are three locations in the DC area.  

In the first week I made it to every location… tried classes with a bunch of different coaches. 

I love being coached... I love talking to coaches... I love talking about training... I like watching other coaching styles…

So it’s all been really fun.

I Want To Take my Overall Fitness to the Next Level

I talked about Cal Newport and time-blocking last week.

I time-block, and just add an extra block for boxing class.

I bring this up for a couple reasons...

First, is to reiterate the power of time-blocking. 

Just look at your blocks... then EXECUTE.

For boxing that means riding my bike to the gym.

Take the class.


(Jiu Jitsu will start up again after the virus restrictions get lifted.  At that time, I adjust my schedule accordingly.)

High school and college lacrosse players should time-block.  As Cal say’s, “it’s like having a superpower!”

Second, is the importance of playing multiple sports.

Engaging in multiple activities makes you more athletic and more mentally tough.

I want to improve at golf and tennis.  

Both those games have a HUGE mental component...

(All sports do for that matter...)

Remember what Coach Starsia said about building confidence…

“Live, compete and succeed in a challenging environment.”

Going to this class each morning is a challenge…

When I walk out the door, I see that as a success.

It’s a mental edge that will help me with tennis and golf.  And even if it doesn’t, my boxing classes are not wasted time.

It's still a great workout.

You want to be loose when throwing punches... that same concept applies to hitting a tennis ball AND a golf ball.

So boxing helps me with those sports.  

It will help you improve at lacrosse.

I highly recommend all athletes play multiple sports.  It will only help you!

Try a boxing workout!

There are different levels to physical and mental shape.

I'm convinced there is no ceiling for personal goals… at any age.

I’m 38 and tryin’ to dunk and get in better shape.  

You can always find something...

Athletes need to constantly be coached.  

Students need to constantly be coached.

People need to constantly be coached.

I write these articles to clarify my thoughts, but to also give you information to become a better lacrosse player.

Start time-blocking...

Get after it!