By Steve Guglielmo | 4/22/12 12:00 PM
MLL’s Steve Guglielmo recently caught up with Matt Bocklet, who is entering his fourth consecutive season with the Denver Outlaws (his fifth season with the league). He finished with 47 ground balls last year while adding 1 goal and 5 assists; he has picked up 196 career ground balls and tallied 21 points. Last year, Bocklet was named to his second MLL All-Star Team.
The Outlaws really shook things up this off-season with a new coach, new GM and a revamped roster. Tell me your thoughts about the restructuring of your team?
I’m definitely excited about the Denver Outlaws this summer. I know that we changed everything up. Every coach and even our GM. Obviously some of our best players like Max Seibald and Drew Westervelt is definitely going to hurt us. But obviously something wasn’t working for us these past three summers since I have been on the team. We always make it to Championship Weekend but we could never quite figure it out. So I’m hoping that this new shake-up is the best thing for us.
Have you had a chance to speak with Coach Stagnitta and get a sense about what he is planning on doing with the team?
I have. Coach Stagnitta and our new GM Tony Seaman have done a great job of coming out to Denver a few times over these past couple of months. So I have gotten a chance to sit down with both of them and speak with them about the team and about the summer and their overall big picture outlook. It definitely seems like a great fit. I think the new players on the team and the old players that have been around are going to enjoy the new staff for sure.
You guys have come so close to winning the Steinfeld Trophy but haven’t been able to get over the hump. What do you think will be the key to winning it all this season?
I think the biggest thing right now with the new team is everyone buying into the same system and playing at the same level and being a good team and having the right chemistry. I think we’ve had some great and very talented players that we have relied on heavily in the past. And if one guy doesn’t do well in the big game then it makes it very tough on the team. I think this year we’re going to rely more on the overall team effort, which I think is the best thing for us.
Your first game is April 28 against the Hounds. What do you think about the league’s expansion and the growth of the game?
I think it’s great. Obviously it’s the best thing for the sport of lacrosse to continue growing. And Charlotte and Ohio have done a great job of putting together a fantastic roster for their first summer seasons. I’m definitely very excited about this game against Charlotte. What a huge trade for them right off the bat to get Danowski and Steve Berger. You already have a top middie and a top attackman on the team. That was a great move by them. I’m definitely excited and I think that expansion and shaking up the rosters is definitely going to open the playing field a little bit this summer and makes MLL more exciting.
You have a really busy off-season schedule as the founder of your own company, lacrosse academies and coaching high school lacrosse. How does being around lacrosse all year long help you during the season?
I think it definitely helps me. I’m always coaching and around the game and around high school and youth players. It always keeps me interested and always keeps me wanting to get better myself. So I think this off-season the local Denver guys have done a great job of getting together once or twice per week and playing together and working out together and I think so many of us are involved, especially at the local level, whether it’s coaching or playing, and it definitely keeps you motivated year round which I think is a big plus.
What else do you do to stay sharp both mentally and physically?
One of the unique things about Denver is that we have unlimited access to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where we and the Broncos play, which is pretty unique in that they have a weight room in there and myself and a couple of other guys like to get together a couple of times per week and get some workouts in; run stadium stairs, some sprints and making sure that as we come into the season that we’re feeling 100 percent. I think in years past, maybe I have been a little more relaxed in the off-season. But this year it seems like a lot of the Outlaw players including myself have really been working hard to be ready to jump in at 100 percent once the season kicks off.
You also tweet about snowboarding a lot. Does that help you stay in shape during the off-season?
I’d like to tell myself that it helps me stay in shape. I was lucky enough this winter to be able to live up in the mountains. Living at 10,000 feet was definitely an adjustment and I think it helps me in some ways. I think the one thing that snowboarding does is it definitely builds leg muscle, especially on a powder day, which we didn’t have as many as I had hoped for this winter but I definitely feel like my legs are much stronger moving into this season.
What are your personal and team expectations for the season?
I was pretty disappointed in my season last summer. I felt like my first two seasons with the team I had played pretty well and then last summer I thought I took a step backwards. Personally, obviously I would like to do whatever it takes for our team to get back to championship weekend and have another shot at the cup. But as a team, I think that has to be your goal. For us, I think our biggest thing is making sure that we’re clicking at 100 percent when it comes time for Championship Weekend. I think in years past we have had great middle of the seasons and kind of slumped a little bit toward the end. I think, in the MLL especially, it’s really important to be playing at your best level when you get to Championship Weekend, so I think that should be our goal.
What is your favorite pump up song on your iPod?
Linger by the Cranberries
What do you think is the single most important exercise or drill a lacrosse player should do?
I think the speed ladder, getting your footwork down.
Tell me about how you string your head
I like a nice high pocket with a lot of holes. I use the original edge because it’s real wide, I think it helps with ground balls and picking off passes. So I definitely like a lot of holes in it since I’m not shooting as much as an offensive guy.
What is one thing that fans don’t know about you?
I like to think that I am going to turn professional in Ping Pong after my lacrosse career is over.
Facebook or Twitter?
What do you think about havingPeyton Manning in Denver?
I’m a Tebow fan, so it kind of hurt at first. But to get a chance to watch quite possibly the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL is going to be pretty special, so I’m excited for it.
*To see where the Outlaws stand in MLL Analyst Evan Washburn’s list of top contenders for the 2012 Steinfeld Trophy, click here.
MLL will host its marquee event in Palm Beach County, FL this year on Saturday, June 30! To buy your tickets now click here. To learn more about the 2012 MLL All-Star Game click here. The game will feature the best lacrosse players in the world, all one one field and will be aired live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.