“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn
The above quote shows up on the front of the Tufts University men’s lacrosse coaching packet. When Coach Daly gives a talk on coaching, he hands out the packet, and the above Jim Rohn quote is usually what he leads with, and it informs everything that the Jumbos do, in practice and in games.
When you watch Tufts, and how they play, the above sentiments are pretty obvious. Their middies push the ball, and they are practiced at it. Their defense is aggressive, but they know what they are doing. There isn’t a ton of flash, but the goals come for the Jumbos, and usually stop for the opposition. Tufts throws overhand, maintains space, and communicates, while always giving an honest effort. They are the epitome of consistently applying the basic fundamentals, and even when they are missing players, they compete with top level teams.
But what happens when we look at someone a little higher on the totem pole of lacrosse deities, like Paul Rabil, Cody Jamieson, Sam Bradman, or Kyle Harrison? At first glance, it seems like these “basics” begin to disappear… or do they?
Rabil, Jammer, Bradman, K18, and a host of other elite players do some things that most would consider “non-fundamental”. Rabil will shoot from 16 yards, and use alligator arms at times. Jammer is mostly left, and dangles with the best of them. He does things no one would consider fundamental, but it works. Bradman shocks people with his unconventional moves. K18 shoots side arm when he gets a time and room shot, and takes a lot of jump shots, sometimes unnecessarily.
But for these players, can we truly consider any of the above to be NON-fundamental? Have they not consistently applied themselves to working on these skills, while mastering the more basic skills? Can they not deliver with these skills time and time again? The games they have played say that they can deliver, and with gusto.
The Jim Rohn quote at the top is not limiting, at it may seem at first. It is empowering because it provides a concrete staircase to climb. It means that players need to learn the basics, and master those skills through consistent commitment. Once that level has been reached, long rage shooting, jump shots, sidearm, and all the fancy stuff in the world can be worked on, and it too will become fundamental.
These guys didn’t just “get good”, they worked at it, and made the “tough stuff” seem easy through lots of reps, and doing it right. If you want to be on their level, the path has been laid out. The question is, will you walk it?