How to Succeed in Lacrosse at the Youth, College and Professional Levels

Tristan: Alright, welcome in everyone! We have with us on the line a very special guest. This guy, he is new to our world really because we're bringing in the lacrosse facet here, which we have never done on this podcast before. We got Coach Martin Bowes with us. He's hailing here from the Northeast. He's @MJBowes on Instagram and Twitter. That's B-O-W-E-S on the last name there. He's also an owner and a coach at Compete Lacrosse Academy just South of Boston. Coach, how are we doing tonight?

Martin: I'm doing great. Thanks so much for the intro. I appreciate you guys having me on.

Tristan: Absolutely. No, you deserve it. You've definitely paid your dues here in the sport of lacrosse in your experience. You've played a little bit professionally for a couple of teams there in the MLL. That's Major League Lacrosse. And definitely want to hear your story there. So let's kind of peel it back a little bit. Let's start from square one. You played in Quincy, Massachusetts, where you hail from. You played high school lacrosse there. Moved on to play at Hartford University where you played all four years, Division One lacrosse, and then moved on to professional. What really gave you that drive and what was really the domino effect, so to speak, of making you choose lacrosse as that professional sport you wanted to follow?

Martin: Sure. Yeah. I, you know, there's a lot we could say that I could attest to, but I always had a vision to play professional sports. You know, from, as long as I can remember. Literally I could remember watching Space Jam, actually, it was basketball that I really thought it was going to be. And, I don't know, I think I just wasn't innately a jock. You know, I always wanted to play sports growing up, but I wanted to play everything. And I think maybe that's one of the reasons why I was really drawn to lacrosse because it really is a combination of so many different sports. And, you know, coming through the middle school ranks, I started to transfer my attention from basketball to lacrosse as far as all the extra time that I would put in. You know, I didn't really realize at the time I was just having fun, but I was practicing like every single day. It was just innate. So, coming into the high school ranks, I didn't really know what high level lacrosse looked like. Growing up in Quincy, it's not a hotbed for lacrosse by any means. And so by the time I was a senior in high school, I started thinking about playing at the next level, which in my case ended up being University of Hartford. I really didn't have much expectation of what, you know, what that entailed and then what even the next level after that would look like.

But I had always had that vision in the back of my head to be a professional athlete. So I think a lot of it was innate. Some of it was definitely luck, you know, some good timing. You know, I met with the right people at the right time. And, by the time 2012 rolled around, which is when I graduated from Hartford, there was a coaching change on the Boston Cannons, so the pro team out of Boston here, and that was the same time that I had gotten drafted. So, I was actually the very, very last pick in the 2012 collegiate draft. So Mr. Irrelevant coming into the league. And I very much was irrelevant when I first joined the league because I didn't get playing time to start. But I think that's a big part of my story too, where I was always sort of working my way upwards. I didn't have high expectations from any of the coaches that I played for until I sort of earned it. So...

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Tristan: Real quick there, Martin. You said that it wasn't, Quincy wasn't necessarily a hotbed for lacrosse. Now, did you get any... I mean, we have some young lacrosse players out there, young athletes that are playing lacrosse in addition to other sports. Did you get any grief from folks once you really decided to commit to lacrosse for picking this sport that may not be as popular as your basketball or your football or...?

Martin: Yeah. No, that's an interesting question. I didn't get any grief, but I definitely got some side-eye. Like I think for more, it was more about like, what is that? You know, like, I didn't even know that they had that in college or whatever. Right? Like, people would come to lacrosse games in Quincy and it was always like, you know, a large percentage of the people watching, it was their first time seeing it. Right? And so, you know, I think when I said I was going to go on to play a college sport, you know, I don't think I caught any grief, but I definitely caught some confusion. We'll leave it at that.

Craig: Yeah. But, it turned into an opportunity to play in college. Can you tell us a little bit about the recruiting process for lacrosse players coming out of high school into D-1 programs?

Martin: Definitely. What I can say, I can speak on this a bit, but what I think is important to note here is the drastic amount that this has changed over the last decade. So when I was, I mean, I didn't get recruited. So technically part of my story is that I walked on at the University of Hartford. And, when you play lacrosse right now... So you know, for anyone who's listening, who either has a child or you know, is currently playing lacrosse at the youth or high school level, it's kind of a dog-eat-dog world right now for recruiting. So, you know, you gotta kind of put a mix tape together, you gotta be playing on a club team. You know, you got to go to these showcase tournaments and you really got to show out to garner the attention of a potential college coach. That just wasn't true when I was coming up. It's really drastically changed to this point. So in my case, there was a lot of recruiting that was going on, but it was not nearly as prevalent as it is now. And so I think a part of that is great timing for me, because if I was coming up with the skill level that I had, you know, as a high school player, I don't know that I would have gotten many looks, you know. I didn't when I was that age, but, you know, these kids that are coming up right now, it's very, very, very, very competitive, you know, to get the attention of a college coach.

So. One thing that I like to stress, you know, to the players and the parents that I work with is there's a lot of different ways that you can get there. You know, it's not like you have to get this scholarship by the time you're a sophomore, junior in high school, you know, and that's the only option because some kids do get that sort of attention, and you know, they are receiving the attention of a college coach at that age, and they're committing to these schools at that age. But there's so many stories of kids that are not getting recruited until their senior year of high school or they go to some showcase after they've graduated from high school and they get a look, or in a lot of cases, they get an opportunity to try out in a college program and you know, they walk on and they end up making a name for themselves.

So I was definitely lucky in a lot of regards. In that I got the opportunity to walk on for a team that it was the right size program. You know, they weren't like top 20 at the time. And so the coach got to take a chance on me and it obviously ended up working out pretty well.

Craig: Yeah. You talk about in the pros being the last draft pick and then being a walk-on. I feel like that takes a lot of grit, a lot of opportunities where you need to prove yourself. Is that kinda your experience as a walk-on?

Martin: Absolutely. Yeah. I think it's actually like one of the staples of my story for sure. As you're kind of seeing with those two big scenarios, one being, you know, not getting recruited, and two, being the very last pick in the draft. But, I think it was an advantage. Like, you know, one of the things that I try to impart on the clients that I work with is, you know, like seeking out adverse situations. Right? You know, I can't tell you how many, obviously I won't name names, but how many of these players that there's all this hype like, "Oh, this guy's going to be that good". And like, "he's coming into this next level" and you know, "he's going to be this star". And in some cases they come in and they do okay, but there's not always a lot of longevity, right?

And I think there's dozens and dozens and dozens of stories, you know, that I have personal relationships with these people that they were doubted. And, you know, obviously I would be in that boat as well, where there was no expectation for me. And so I took that as an opportunity to put a chip on my shoulder and I just continued to work. I had a vision for myself to play at this level. And the lack of expectation that others had in me ended up being a bit more fuel to the fire.

Tristan: Sure, that's immediate. You definitely need that, like Craig said, that grit to really get to that next level, but also when you've got that mindset, there's nothing that can beat it. Now you go on from University of Hartford to play professionally. You played for a few teams there. Do you have any favorite memories from playing professionally?

Martin: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think... I do a lot of reflecting on it, and more than anything, it turns out to be like the relationships that I've built, right? Like there's other players that, you know, I've spent time with, you know, for years and years and years. It's, you know, I get on a plane every single weekend to go play in a different city and, you know, so are my 19 other teammates.

And so there's this different level of comraderie at the professional level that comes with the lifestyle because, you know, when you're playing college lacrosse, you're with these guys six days a week, you know, it turns into seven days a week. You know, you're practicing those six days a week and it's quote-unquote, easier to build these very, very deep and strong bonds with these people that you're spending so much time with. But when you get to the professional level, at least in this sport, you really only get about 36 hours together. And so when you play on a Saturday night, we probably all flew to that city on Friday afternoon and we had a little practice on Friday night, maybe a walk through on Saturday morning, play Saturday night, fly home Sunday morning.

When you start doing that week after week after week, you start to understand how crucial those hours are together. And it turns into this intense brotherhood of those, you know, moments that you have together because it's so few and far between that you need to kind of squeeze the life out of the time that you have. And so, yeah, I guess, there's maybe one or two games that I could probably look back to and be like, "Oh, like, you know, this was one of the more fun." Like, for example, there was a game in Denver where I get to play in front of like 30,000 people because it was like a July 4th game. And that was one of the profound, like, "Wow, like, you know, this is, this is pro sports. This is pretty cool." But, you know, when I reflect on it, it's always the people that I think about most.

Tristan: So you say that you would meet together on Friday afternoon for a Saturday game. Does that mean that each person individually was responsible for their own training during the season?

Martin: That's correct. Yep. So we would, a lot of times, you know, honestly a majority of the time, the guy is like, say, I played for Boston, I live in Boston. I'm one of the few. There's more of the league... You know, you live in Toronto. You live in, you know, maybe out west. You live in New York and you could play for Florida. There's two years I played in Florida. I didn't move there. You know, I stayed in Boston. And, yeah, that's exactly correct. So you're responsible for your own training throughout the week, you know, and that's a big change from college to pro,

Tristan: What was your kind of strategy in keeping in shape? Did you, you know, join any kind of workout group? Did you have a lacrosse crew that you're working with there? Is that where your lacrosse coaching really started?

Martin: Yeah, actually, in a way it is. I had a relationship with a trainer by the name of Joe Drain when I was in college. So I saw him out. He ended up just being like a local, you know, strength conditioning coach that I had met through actually my father. But I spent one summer with him training in college, and I was going into my junior year and I had my breakout season, you know, and so I really built some momentum working with him. And so after college, as I mentioned, I didn't get playing time when I first joined the pros. And so I sought him back out and said, "Hey, I want to take this more seriously. Can you help me?" And of course he could. And that was the start of our relationship, which has now grown into, you know, multifaceted and it's a dynamic relationship that we have for both a trainer, athlete, friend, and, and business partner. And I was really, really fortunate to have someone like that because he's a specialist in strength conditioning, but he really focuses on speed and agility. And so as a lacrosse player, you know, that was my edge. When I came into the pros. I was able to be in really, really good shape and be, you know, incredibly fast and be able to cut and move really well. And also prevent injury. You know, like that's I think a big part to the longevity that I've been able to have is staying healthy.

Craig: So let's talk a little bit about Compete Lacrosse Academy. When did you decide, "Hey, I'm going to start this business," or, "Hey, I can do this. I'm ready for this." Tell us a little bit about that process.

Martin: Yeah. That it was pretty organic. Just because I, you know, if you're going to play professional lacrosse, you have kind of a tough decision to make because if you're going to work a real quote-unquote real job, you're going to really have to do some early mornings and late nights, you know, after work or before work to get your workouts in. Well I saw this opportunity to coach which allowed me to essentially be my own boss and formulate my own schedule around my training for professional lacrosse. So my priority coming out of school was to maximize my playing career. And I'm really, really fortunate and blessed to have, you know, the parents that I have and they supported me in many different ways and told me to pursue this dream. And that allowed me to, I guess, form my schedule the way that I wanted to, in order to prioritize my training and preparation for professional lacrosse. So the coaching business really was stemmed from, Hey, like, how many kids do I need to coach per week to pay my bills so that I can allocate X amount of hours to training and live the lifestyle of a professional athlete.

And that's really how it started, but it spiraled into a real business model that has become my full time job. So it started off as, you know, lessons going to people's backyards and coaching their kids and stuff like that. And it spiraled into, you know, having my own facility in Norwood here, and being able to add value to a lot of different coaches now as well. So it spiraled into not only coaching athletes, but coaching coaches.

Craig: That's great. I love the entrepreneurial spirit and hearing how people's businesses grow. So you start in people's backyard. I mean, how do you get new clients to grow to the level where you're at today?

Martin: Yeah. It's honestly, I mean, this is going to sound ridiculous, but like, it's been just, it's been a hundred percent word of mouth. There's, for some reason, I really do enjoy coaching, like thoroughly and authentically. Like I just, those moments where I see an athlete start to get a little bit better. I just really, really enjoy that. And I think that authenticity shows, like if the parent is watching me coach the kid, they know that it's authentic. I'm not there to grab a couple of bucks and never talk to you again. You know, I really want to see that kid grow. So I think the authenticity of my coaching style and the ability to be patient, I think those two pillars have allowed me to have some real organic growth where it was actually pretty funny. Where like at first, when I first started this business, there was a lot of scenarios where a parent would have their athlete work with me. And they would kind of get that like, "Oh, like I don't want to tell people about you" because I want, I only want you to work with my kid. You know? And that's how it kind of started. Yeah, exactly. But that quickly transitioned to them, you know, telling other parents that this is the training that's happening.

And so it really has been a complete word of mouth growth. And, you know, for what I understand about business, that's the best way to do it. And it's gotten to the point now where I've got opportunities to be more of a coach's coach and I'm trying to allocate my time accordingly to develop my business in a couple of different arenas.

And I've kind of stopped marketing in some cases. Like, I don't, you know, I don't post and be like, Hey, like, you know, email me, I got these open time slots. So like it's more just like, Hey, like if I've got a client that I feel like maybe, you know, they could be pushed a little bit more if I could, you know, get one of their friends to join. Or if I could get someone with a similar skill level, that's going to make them better. And that's when I start to look to get more clients. But, I really am focusing more on developing my business as a consultant and a coach's coach right now than more of a private instructor.

Tristan: Nobody ever really talks about that hurdle when starting up a business that people want to be keeping you as your secret weapon. But hey, I guess that's something that goes by the wayside at times. But, Martin, let's get into some of the meat and potatoes here. We want to talk about some of your favorite drills that you like to do, either with new clients, experienced clients, whatever the level is. But I want to know in the sport of lacrosse, do you have an expertise that people really seek you out for?

Martin: That's a good question. You know, I think it's, if I were to pick something, it would probably be the individual attention. Like if I were to pick the expertise, it would be like the individual skill set that it will take to compete at a high level. But I'm also very, very broad in that I coach all positions. So one of the core philosophies is like, you know, obviously a defender and a goalie and an attack are going to need some positional training and very different, you know, not only skill sets but mindsets, but there's also a certain threshold of skill that every single lacrosse player needs to be able to do.

And so I really just started by going extremely deep into that threshold. And, you know, you could think of that as just the fundamentals of playing lacrosse but it's more about like going as deep as I can in that realm, as opposed to trying to say that I'm an expert in everything which is just obviously not true. But it's, you know, those core fundamental skills that every single lacrosse player needs to be able to do. I would say that's my expertise, but where I think I've been able to develop as a coach and a person is the ability to relay that information to a wide variety of ages, skill types, genders, you know, personalities and individual ambitions, right? Where if I've got a group of athletes working together, you know, they're all gonna have different goals in mind. Some of them are there because they want to have fun and their friends are there. Some of them are there because they want to go play college lacrosse one day. And I got to try to maximize that 60 minutes we have together.

And so that's, you know, doing that for hours and hours and hours a day for years and years and years now has given me a bit of insight as to how to approach creating an environment as a coach to maximize what the athletes get out of it.

Tristan: Right. You got to gauge that middle ground sometimes. Well, we certainly love the fundamentals over here. And I know you mentioned that and I think that's, you know, if we could call it an expertise, that's certainly where yours starts. Let's say you have a new client, new to the sport, he's an athlete, plays a couple of different sports, but want to try out this thing called lacrosse. Can you give us some drills, maybe your top three drills or so that you really like to train them with?

Martin: Yeah, absolutely. For sure. For sure. Before I hop into the drill, you know, what I need to know as the coach, first and foremost is, you know, why do you want it? To get better. Right? So like I mentioned before is like, why are you here? Not a lot of times they'll say, Oh, I want to get better. And then you know why? Right? So are we just looking to make the team this year and spend time with your friends? Or are we trying to be an all star? Or are we trying to go play the next level? So sometimes they haven't thought about that and that's fine, but that also gives me a gauge and then sometimes they have, right? So I have the same age kids, and sometimes one kid puts hours of thought into his longterm goals, and the other kid hasn't thought about it once. So I like to get a gauge on that first. But, you know, as far as like the nitty gritty of the drills and stuff like that, it's going to be all predicated upon wall ball.

Because when you play wall ball as a lacrosse player for two reasons, it's the most effective way to practice for two reasons. One is that you can get the most amount of repetitions in the least amount of time, so you're able to be more efficient with your practice. And two is that you can, you can actually practice any of the different skills that we could work on, whether it be, you know, different types of shooting techniques, different types of insights, finishing, passing techniques. You know, footwork is kind of a different story, but when it comes to the skill of a lacrosse player and being able to control the ball and the stick, wall ball, AKA just throwing the ball from the wall. But with particular focus points in mind is going to be the most effective way to practice and get the most out of your time.

So I know it's kind of a vague answer, but we can get into more specific ways that you can use the wall to get better at specific skills, but it's all going to be in that environment.

Tristan: I mean, when you strip it back, it's fundamental. You throw the ball at the wall. You know, either it's going to bounce off a different way, maybe using a different shot technique every time. That is, that's truly fundamental.

Craig: Everybody loves wall ball. I played baseball growing up. You play wall ball. Like tennis growing up, you play wall ball.


Tristan: So you mentioned it works on every sort of aspect of, you know, maybe your shooting technique or several shooting techniques, not quite on the footwork drills though. Is there some drills that you can talk to us about there that you really like to instill with your clients?

Martin: Yeah, absolutely. We can incorporate, obviously footwork with the wall ball where, you know, we're adding movement to what we're doing. So if you're gonna work on a shooting on the run technique, you could do it, but you'd be running alongside the wall. Or you could be running at the wall and practicing, you know, running at different angles while throwing in different directions. Like what I want, you know, at its core, what I want with the athlete is I want them to feel confident that in any situation, you know, they've got a couple different options. And so by introducing different movement patterns in relation to the target, whether it be a wall or the net, you could start to get more specific on the footwork of, okay, in this situation, how do we want to alter our momentum to maximize our success rate?

So a lot of the times what I'll focus on is, you know, having the athlete focus from like the bird's eye view. If you were to look down at yourself as you move around in space here, what's the best way to go about this? And, you know, as a rule, what I can speak on, I guess in this environment where hopefully people can sort of envision this would be if you're running straight ahead and your target is to your left, when you throw that pass or take that shot, the most common mistake is to continue running straight. You know, like say you're turning your body to throw that ball or shoot that ball, but your momentum carries you in the direction that you started. And so one of the big things I really try to focus on for boys, girls, you know, all positions is when you're running in any direction, you know, a lot of times in lacrosse, the target actually isn't in the direction you're running. You're running to some space, but the target is somewhere else. And so as you release that ball, having the ability to control your body and control your momentum, as you release it so that your momentum is being altered towards your target, ends up being one of the biggest footwork things that I focus on with my athletes.

On the other side of the ball, defensively, the footwork, you know, and you could just, you could take the sick out of the equation altogether for this. The ability to run in a straight line, slow down, and then backpedal, and then open up your hips. Like if you think about a cornerback in football, when that wide receiver takes off, you know, they backpedal, right? They're maintaining gap control, and then they're opening up their hips and they're swiveling, and then they're sprinting. You know, that's very similar to defense in lacrosse, but you don't start in that position like they do in football. You have to get yourself in that position. So there's this, all these mechanics, when you know that you're approaching the ball and where you are in the field is going to affect how you should approach the ball. So there's a lot of IQ and situational awareness that comes into it, but the ability to sprint, decelerate, and then backpedal is one of the core footwork techniques that I would want my athletes to learn.

Craig: Nice. Yeah. I appreciate you walking us through some of those drills. I know our listeners always like it when we get technical here in these podcasts, so that's really helpful. And so, you know, switching gears a little bit, you know, we talked about the growth that you're seeing at Compete Lacrosse Academy and you know, kind of the growth in the sport. That's what we're always hearing about as well. Where do you see the future of lacrosse going?

Martin: Sure. The growth, I mean, I can speak to the growth for sure, just from a volume standpoint. Like, there's a lot of data behind the number of athletes playing the sport altogether. And I think where you see the most growth is at the high school and the college level, actually, where there's just more high school programs now. And now there's more and more sanctioned college programs where, you know, they see opportunity to get more, you know, kids to their school and things like that. But, when it comes to the future of the sport. I mean, it's in a really interesting spot right now. So anyone who's like really followed professional lacrosse knows that there's two pro leagues now. There's the PLL and there's the MLL. And they're very different models where one is a traveling showcase essentially, where, you know, all the teams in that league will be in the same city every single week, but they'll only be in that city once, right? Whereas in the MLL, you know, there's Boston, there's Chesapeake, there's, you know, there used to be Dallas, now it's going to be Connecticut, you know, there's Denver. And in each of those cities, you know, they've got their home games, they've got their away games, like any other pro league that we know about. It's the same format as that. But the growth of the sport at the professional level is in a really interesting spot right now. For the avid fan or an aspiring pro, I'd be pretty curious as to how these next two, three years play out.

Because when people ask me all the time, you know, do you think that the leagues are gonna merge? You know. Which league's going to fail, which leads going to succeed, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, I mean, I don't know. You know, it's, but I'm sure curious to find out, you know. I don't have access to look under the hood of both leagues at the same time, but I think there's potentially a place for both of them, but who knows, maybe one will turn into more elite than the other, but, it's really up in the air right now.

But what I can say on the growth of the sport is that you have seen an increase of volume of kids playing at the youth level. And more programs sprouting out at youth high school and college. But there's, I think there's a little bit of a plateau happening right now to where, I mean, you know, this day and age, these kids just have so many options of how they could spend their time after school. And so, I think that the growth has had happened. I don't think it's going to stop all together, but I think the main growth of the volume has kind of already peaked and now it's becoming more, it's becoming more serious, right? Like the skill level of middle school and high school kids right now is, in my opinion, like lightyears ahead of where it was a decade ago. Like when I, you know, even three, four, five years ago, I would watch a middle school game and be like, yeah, these kids, you know, they'll be good in a couple of years. I watch middle school games now and I'm like, these kids have better stick skills than I did in college.

Like, and I'm not kidding you. Like it's very real. Like, you know, I as an individual didn't have great stick skills in college, but I had pretty good. You know, I did, I played offense, you know, I scored a lot of goals. Like it's just not the same. Like these kids are, they are becoming obsessed with it. So I see, you know, the volume growth has happened, but now the growth is becoming, like the sport is taken more seriously. And the talent level is showing for that.

Tristan: Sure. The good thing is you see that evolution in pretty much every sport. I mean, you look at a training camp for football years ago, guys actually use that time to get in shape and now they're in shape all year round. No doubt. So it's a good thing that we're seeing that in the sport of lacrosse. Now we're talking about these two different leagues. You know whether one might be more elite than the other, whether they might both keep going strong. Any chance we're going to see you back out on that field at any point there, Martin?

Martin: I would say it is about a hundred percent chance that you will. Yes. So...

Craig: That's great. Love it.

Martin: Yeah, no, for sure, for sure. This is, it's obviously important to me. You know, that's my future. But, you know, for anyone who doesn't really know my story, I took a step back last summer because of multiple head injuries.

So, that's obviously a pretty hot topic these days, which is, you know, concussions and what that means. But, this is, you know, I feel that I haven't hit my peak yet as a player. And so, you know, that could... I could have just lied to you guys. I don't know. I mean, a year could go by and I could say, you know what, I'm just going to focus on my business and I don't want to play.

But, I don't see that realistically happening. I would say in about a year or two's time, the itch is going to be a little bit too real for me to avoid.

Tristan: You can take the stick from the man. You can't take the man from the stick though. I don't know if that actually works, but it's something along those same lines.

Martin: I know what you mean.

Tristan: Alright. Alright, well Martin, definitely appreciate the time here tonight. Before we let you go, we want to ask you a question that we ask all of our guests here. At Hustle, we are all about the use of technology in your sports training. You, yourself, run Compete Lacrosse Academy. Do you utilize any tech in your training today? And where do you see the future of tech and lacrosse training going?

Martin: Yeah, I use a good amount. So I didn't at first, but then I quickly realized that one of the most important things for me, as a coach, is teaching the athletes how to self audit. So, one of the most, you know, helpful tools is while I'm coaching, I'll record a video of them performing whatever skill and then I'll show it back to them right away, right? Like, we, in sports, we know the value of watching film, right? Watching a game, and breaking that down and seeing, you know, developing your lacrosse IQ or whatever sport you play, in situational awareness. But when you're trying to improve a technique, what you need to understand is what you've looked like on the rep before.

If you're going to make an adjustment to your mechanics, you know, if a coach tells you, "Hey, you know, raise your right elbow a little bit on the next rep.' Well, if you don't know where your right elbow is on the last rep, how are you supposed to make that adjustment? Right? So that's been really, really helpful for me to just use video feedback for these athletes. But it's in real time, right? So, you know, that's what I'm, you know, in the flesh working with these guys and girls. But it spirals into a couple of different other opportunities where, I've developed, one or two different like course-type models where I did a trial system this past fall of a subscription model where every single week I would send out a drill video to my students. And they would then perform that drill, but record themselves performing it.

So part of what I would send them would be, like a drill video that I would edit and have coaching cues on, and here's what I'm looking for, you know, maybe a couple of different angles, and put some time into the edit. But then there'd be another video that would just be like a selfie video. Like, Hey, when you do this drill, you know, here's where I want you to put your phone so you can see this view. And then I would just do it. So that would be like a raw video that didn't need much editing. And that would give them context of how they should record themselves. And then they'd send that content to me for evaluation. So it turned into my version of online coaching, which in that case would be, I guess more of like my premium model, right? Because that's gonna require, you know, my attention to then go in and provide their feedback and, you know, log that time of actually watching the content that they create for me. But really what I'm after is, you know, teaching these athletes how to get more effective practice on their own time.

You know, that's one of the core pillars of my business model. You know, these kids come to work with me. And they, you know, they get better. They have fun while they're there, but then what? Right? I want to be able to give them enough context to continue to develop it on their own time. And so through the use of technology in this case, you know, just video feedback, that's something that I'm really passionate about pursuing and continuing to pursue and try to perfect a couple of different versions of that. You know, to give these athletes more context as to how to have more purposeful practice on their own time.

So then just one other thing that, that I've been experimenting with. There's this app called Switched On Training. So, they don't, you know, I don't have a sponsorship deal with them, so I'm not getting paid to talk about it per se. But, it's been extremely helpful to implement both in my in-person trainings, but also give them something to try to mess around with when they're on their own.

And it's basically an app where you get to choose different types of stimuli. Maybe it's colors, maybe it's numbers, maybe it's arrows. And then you also get to choose how long that stimuli is going to display on the screen, and then how long of a delay before the next stimuli pops up. So, as an example, what I've used that for is, let's say I have numbers written on the wall and I've got a one over to the left and I'm going to two over to the right. And then I've got a cone on the ground that's a green cone. And if I choose one, two and green as the stimuli, and then I set it at, let's say it's going to display for a second, and then there's going to be a second delay before the next one pops up. Now they've got this neurological, you know, variable here that it's not just about can you do this, you know, throw it to the left and can you do this, throw to the right?

Can you react in real time to this stimuli with good form, right? And now I get to take a step back as a coach and not only look at technique, but look at their, you know, their literal neurological response time. And then I can change the settings, you know, to try to challenge them accordingly. And it's been really, really helpful.

Tristan: Wow. That's something that we haven't come across yet, but that's very innovative. No doubt. Going back to the online training you were talking about. I see that that is a tab on your website there, And of course, I know you're also helping us out a little bit on the Hustle app so people can definitely find you there and track down your videos there in order to get that one-on-one type of type of training from anywhere in the country.

Martin: Yeah. Yeah. Just to speak on the Hustle app too, where like, I actually got involved with you guys through Instagram, right? Matt, the owner of Hustle actually reached out to me via Instagram DM and started talking to me a little bit about what he's working on with Hustle Training and it's obviously right up my alley with my passion to try to learn about, you know, how can I help kids get better if I'm not physically there? And this seemed like a really good opportunity to work with a company that's putting that at the forefront of their mission. And, so I'm really interested to continue to work with you guys and create some premium content that, you know, will really help people get better. And so I'm a big proponent of, you know, kind of like "Jab, jab, jab, right hook" as a businessman where... I stole that quote from Gary V but, I want to not only provide value for free, but I want to build trust, right, with all my clientele so that when I do put out something that's a paid product, you know, I've already established that relationship with them. So that they know that, you know, I have their best interests in mind. This isn't just a money grab. I want to help you get better. And that's something that I think Hustle has taken to heart as well. And so I'm excited to continue to work with you guys.

Tristan: Well, that feeling is certainly mutual. Appreciate all the help you're doing with the app on the lacrosse training. I also appreciate your time here tonight speaking to us. A little bit of an extended interview, but that's all right. You know, we don't get to talk to lacrosse coaches, lacrosse trainers too often, so I think it was definitely a good opportunity. Before we let you go though, we got to get into something we do with all of our coaches. It's a little rapid fire round. We're just going to throw some questions at you. You're the lacrosse goalie right now. We're taking some shots. You just gotta save them all. Sound good?

Martin: Alright, I'll do my best

Tristan: All right, well, I'm going to start here where I always start. What is your favorite sports movie of all time?

Martin: Space Jam.

Craig: I knew it. I knew that was the answer.

Martin: Yeah. It already came up so it was on the forefront.

Craig: So my question is, who are...

Martin: Can I take a second one...

Craig: Yeah. Go for it.

Martin: ...before your next question? Coach Carter.

Craig: Okay, good one.

Martin: Coach Carter. Yup.

Tristan: I got an aunt named Linda, or I forget the name.

Martin: You gotta build character with these guys. Got to build some character, it can't just be Bugs Bunny all day.

Craig: Alright. My question is who are maybe your top three lacrosse heroes of all time?

Martin: That's a great question. Jim Brown, I would have to say. Brody Merrill, I was able to be teammates with him. And let's see, this is going to sound ridiculous, but it's actually a player who's younger than me. His name's Lucas Buckley. He plays for Ohio state right now. He's a senior captain for them. But he's one of the only guys that I like, I get like so fanboy when I watch him, I'm like, "Oh, I can't wait til he gets the ball". Like I get so excited. And I think he's a little bit of a hero to me in a way because he kind of embodies that, like, you know, the wholesome, like college lacrosse, like he's an outstanding student. You know, and I was an okay student and I was okay in college and, you know, I've made an okay name for myself in the professional ranks and things like that, but I really look up to him in a lot of different ways. So, yeah, I gotta give him a shout.

Tristan: That's okay. And I think he definitely appreciates that too. I know he's listening out there. Okay...

Martin: Oh, well, I'll make him listen now.

Tristan: Yeah, we'll shoot him that DM. I want to know you just finished up a game at the professional level. What is the best postgame meal to recharge?

Martin: Best post-game meal. That's a good question. I would say it's gotta be, you know, I made the mistake earlier on in my career of thinking that I needed to get like a ton of calories right away. And I ended up having, not necessarily issues from that, but I just think I wasn't super in tune with my own body, at least at a level that I am now. One of the things that I would say, you know, to give context to people out there is what helped me is understand the difference between being in a parasympathetic and sympathetic state, right? When you're playing a sport at a high level, a lot of times you enter that sympathetic state or you know, some people call it fight or flight mode. And, it's also widely understood you don't want to be digesting food in fight or flight mode, you know? Same reason you don't want to eat while you're walking to work or, you know, you want to be sitting down and you want to take some deep breaths and you want to let your body and enter that digestive, parasympathetic rest-and-relaxation state before you eat. So one of the things that helped me, you know, post game is really letting everything, like, let the adrenaline come down, you know, like enter the locker room and just focus on replenishing fluids first. And once I would enter, you know, more of a parasympathetic state, it's not nothing new. It's healthy whole food. You know, some vegetables, maybe a lean protein source and maybe some fast digesting carbs, like some rice, but maybe just some slower carbs, like a sweet potato or quinoa or something like that.

But I think, you know, what's really helped me get better at recovering as a whole, and nutrition as a whole is understanding that like, you know, I get a lot of kids are like, Oh, what's like the best pregame meal? And like, you know, you guys the post game, like, it's important, but like, if you're, if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, you shouldn't need to change your diet on game day. It really shouldn't change by much. Maybe there's a little bit of a higher volume of work that you just put in and it's at a higher intensity, right? You can't replicate game speed at practice. You try to, but it's just not the same. So maybe, you know, there's a little bit more of a delay before you really end up relaxing. But, ideally, you know, as an athlete that's trying to take their nutrition game extremely seriously, you know, you should be eating like it's game day every day.

Craig: Yeah. I can tell you take it seriously. Good stuff.

Tristan: I eat like it's game day regardless so...

Craig: That's right. Year round.

Martin: Keep in mind. I mean, like a lot of this stuff too, like I didn't learn, you know, the deeper techniques of like all these different recovery strategies of how to, you know, use breathing techniques to enter a parasympathetic state and you know, how to maximize and really focus on what are the best nutrients you should be having, yada, yada.

Like I was, it was in my later twenties that I was like, "Oh, you know, this is, you know, this is what I'm supposed to be doing." And it's interesting man, because you know, most people, if you play college sports, you're already in a minority, right? And like, you know, these kids are 18 to 21, 22 years old, supposed to be in their prime and like, it's just not the case. You know, like there's just so many things that there is to learn. And, yeah, while I'm on this topic, I don't want to go on a soap box or anything like that. But like, you know, as from a coaching standpoint, you hear this phrase like, "Only worry about what you can control," right? And so a lot of times that comes from coaches in regards to, you know, an athlete that gets too down on himself over making a mistake. Or you know, he gets upset with the referees or, you know, focusing on things that you don't have control over. Right? But what I think isn't talked about enough is there's so many things that these athletes can control, that they're just unaware of right now, right? Whether it's a nutrition strategy, whether it's breathing techniques, you know, these different stretches and deep tissue massages you can be giving yourself. You don't need to be paying hundreds of dollars a week to go see a massage therapist. You can just lie on a lacrosse ball and learn how to utilize gravity to give yourself a massage. And there's a lot that goes into how well are you going to perform on any given day? And, I think athletes need to be, you know, I think woken up to the fact that there's so many things they can be doing that they just don't know about yet. And so now the game becomes, you know, what's your learning curve? How quickly can you learn all these different strategies because they help.

Craig: Yeah. And these are the things that set elite players out from really, really great players. One question that I have is what company makes the best lacrosse stick in your opinion?

Martin: Well, in this case, I am biased and it's String King. So I've been a sponsored athlete. I've been very, very lucky to work with them for a couple of years now. But, given that bias, take this with a grain of salt, I truly do believe that it's the best product on the market and the best bang for your buck. They have products that are a hundred dollars that are, you know, I could pick that up and play with it in a pro game and it would be fantastic. You know, they've got products that are close to the $250 where you know that some of the other, you know, top of the line sticks from other companies you might see. But it's interesting, you know, at the same time, like just to throw my other 2 cents in here, like yeah, I get asked all the time like, "Oh, what type of gloves do you use? What type of..." Like at this, you know, at this day and age, like everything is good. Like everything works. You know, like it doesn't matter what stick you use. But, it really does matter what mesh style you actually have in your stick because if you like tie a certain string too tightly, your stick will not throw well. That's a fact. So you do have to be in tune with that, but that comes down to less about the stick you use and more about you as a lacrosse player. You becoming in tune with how you can make little adjustments to your stick as the season goes on and as your pocket starts to bag out. You're going to need to adjust that to make sure that, you know, it doesn't start throwing into the ground on you, so that's important.

Tristan: All right. Last one for me here, coach. If you weren't playing lacrosse, what support would you be playing?

Martin: It would either be, I mean, oh man, I freaking love sports. Like I always told myself, I like, I love volleyball. And like, people don't really know this about me, but volleyball was the same sport, same season, rather as lacrosse. I loved volleyball growing up, but I really liked beach volleyball. Like, you know, if I were to play six on six volleyball in the little mini court, like maybe I wouldn't like it as much. But that was up there for me. I mean, basketball was my first love, like hands down. I fell in love with basketball real early and it actually really translated well for me as a lacrosse player. I do think that basketball is the most similar sport to lacrosse in the movement patterns and team strategy concepts. People usually say that it's hockey, but I disagree. I think it's more like basketball than anything. But, I would also say tennis. Tennis is really hard, but like the agility that comes with it. I'm fascinated by and really impressed with, with tennis athletes. So I'd like to like to be able to do that. That'd be cool.

Tristan: Interesting. Well, yeah, I definitely agree with you there. Beach volleyball, very underrated. Well coach, appreciate your time here again tonight. Again, this was Martin Bowes. You can check them out on Instagram and Twitter, @MJBowes. That's B-O-W-E-S on the last name there. Also check out his website, Coach, appreciate your time. I know we'll be checking in with you down the line, but until then, take care. All right?

Martin: Guys, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate being on the show and hopefully I was able to add some value to your listeners and yeah, I'm sure I'll talk to you guys soon.