The Inner Game of Lacrosse

Jan 31, 2019

BTB Lax coach Jesse Miller


These days I play “Master’s Lacrosse”... that’s for guys over 35.

Started playin’ a couple years ago (I’m about to turn 37…)

Bottom Line:  Stop playin’ and you’ll lose everything - I couldn’t let that happen.

I still coach and always have a stick in my hand constantly, but it’s just not the same as playin’.

(Heck, they have this big tourney down in South Florida every year for guys over 50!  I know that Coach Starsia still plays...)

So each year I play on a spring and summer team, and get about 10 games in...

That’s enough to keep the lax skills from fading.

Outside of that I still lift and run all the time… which makes my conditioning very strong. But you gotta play if you want to keep your skills.

Picking that ball up in traffic requires reps… I don’t care how strong and fast you are...

Anyway, my two other passions are golf and tennis.

I play TONS of both.

I’m actually on vacation now, and will be teeing off in a couple hours. Playin’ with my buddy Dave (a fellow Tufts laxer… we’re still buds over 15 years later!  Strong relationships are the true benefits of playin’ high school and college sports.)

(Playin' with these guys today... Stack is the other guy on far right.)

I think golf and tennis are EXTREMELY similar.

Both are mental mind games… giant puzzles that require skill… but also the ability to focus in the moment.

I’ve been coaching lacrosse since the day I graduated from Tufts in 2004.

All through my college playin’ days (and now coaching days) breaking down film is a HUGE component of team development.

So a few months back I got pissed at my “in-ability” to recognize situations on the tennis court.

I told Steve (my tennis coach) that it’s time to start filming my tennis.

I figured out how to do it… now Steve and I have film sessions.

It really helps with strategy, movement, some skill nuances… stuff like that.

The thing film DOESN’T address is the mental side of the game… that inner dialogue that can drown your brain during a match.  

...during that adversity that always occurs.

I kept hearing about the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis”...

People talk about it being a metaphor for life… not just tennis.

So I started it the other day (about a third of the way through it…)

You can bet that I’ll be relating stuff in this book to lacrosse… I’m a strong believer that sports are relatable.

I’m gonna start with this…

“The first skill to learn is the art of letting go the human inclination to judge ourselves and our performance as either good or bad. Letting go of the judging process is a basic key to the Inner Game… When we unlearn how to be judgmental, it is possible to achieve spontaneous, focused play.

Achieving spontaneous, focused play is what you want on the lacrosse field… especially with your stick skills.

Going through your stick skill routines in practice is essential (I recommend you do that 5 to 6 times per week)... but once you get on the field, you gotta narrow your focus on the ball…

...and not any mechanical nuance.

Focus on the ball and where you want it to go.

Allow your practice to that point carry you.  

I'm gonna call it the Inner Game of Lacrosse...

You can re-evaluate any skill deficiency after the game.

Then you can work on that in practice the next day...

We have two awesome stick skill workouts in BTB LX+.  Both are inside the Stick Magician video.

They take about 15 minutes each to finish.

Every lacrosse player has 15 minutes...

Talk soon,

Coach Miller