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Ryan Powell MLL MVP trophy

Ryan Powell: Play Hard, Work Harder

6 - Published March 29, 2011 by in Pro Lacrosse, Training

What’s up LAS followers!

How important is work ethic in lacrosse? Personally, I believe that it’s everything!

This week was a bad weekend for my Boston Blazers squad. We went 0-2, losing to both Washington and Colorado by a goal. When you are a competitor and someone who loves to win, this is very hard to swallow. It will be on my mind all week. Something else that will be on my mind this week is something that our assistant coach said to us in the locker room after the game.

“Are you doing everything that you possibly can to be the best lacrosse player that you can be?”

This is a great question and I felt as though I should pass this along to the lax players that read this blog. So many times I have kids come up to me and tell me that they want to play lacrosse at Syracuse, or they want to play Division 1, or they just want to play college lacrosse. If you are one of these young lacrosse players you should take a minute and ask yourself the question that my assistant coach asked after our game in Colorado.

If you are a high school player that wants to play at the next level, you need to realize that there are a lot of kids all across North America that also want to play lacrosse in college. How can you achieve your goal of playing at the next level? Be the hardest working guy! No, not just at games and practices, but with the work that you put in on your own time.

My work ethic comes from my dad, Larry. He worked at a paper-mill for 30+ years in upstate NY. He was out the door at 5am every morning and maybe home at 6pm if he wasn’t working overtime. This was everyday Monday- Friday and often weekends when he was putting in more time at work to support our family. I think the guy had as many overtime hours on a weekly basis as he had regular hours. This was his schedule from the time I was a newborn until I was in college, when he finally retired. I tell people all the time that my dad taught me the most important lesson in my life: my work ethic.

Larry Powell

Larry Powell (Ryan's father)

With him being at work all the time and supporting our family, it gave my brothers and I the opportunity to do the things that we love to do – play sports. From the time that I was in 1st grade my bros and I would always be out in the yard playing games. We mostly played lacrosse. We would be out in the street playing under the street light until late into the night, and we would be up early in the morning playing wall ball. Never once at that age do you think about playing the game of lacrosse being work, it’s just fun.

I look at my lacrosse career as my dad did with his job. I always try to be the hardest working guy on and off the lacrosse field. I told you about my dad getting just as many overtime hours as regular hours on a weekly basis working at the mill. I have been the same way; I put in more hours on my own than I do at practice or in games. This is the time that lacrosse players can separate themselves from the rest.

Think about it – all players go to practice and all players go to games, but not all players get done with practice or games and then go home and hit the wall for a few hours. Those players that do hit the wall for two hours after their game are getting better than the players that don’t.

Kobe Bryant; Why is he the best (my opinion) NBA player? Well, if you watch a game on TV, you will often hear the announcers say, “Kobe was the first player to arrive at shoot around this morning and the last one to leave, and he was also the first to the arena for the game tonight.” Control what you can control! You can’t do anything about a call that a ref makes in a game and you can’t do anything about a teammate dropping a pass, but the one thing that you can do is prepare yourself for your experiences by working hard.

Ryan Powell MLL MVP trophy

Ryan with one of his MLL MVP trophies

If you see me play in person you would quickly notice that I’m not the biggest guy playing lacrosse, I’m not the quickest, I’m not the fastest; but I have been fortunate enough to win the MLL MVP trophy two times. I have the knowledge and understanding of the game, and I have good stick skills. Combining those two lacrosse traits with my strong work ethic has allowed me to excel in lacrosse.

I work my Rhino Lacrosse camps over the summer and have some of the top players in the world coach each camp that I conduct. One common point that I always hear each player talk about is how much time they spent playing wall ball. If I was a young player and heard Brodie Merrill, Casey Powell, Brett Queener and more talking about how much wall ball they played then I would be taking that to heart and hitting the wall every day.

Yeah guys, I’m 33 years old and still go out and play wall ball 3 or 4 times a week. In fact, here’s a download link for the wall ball routine that I have been doing for years.

Whether it be on the lacrosse field or in anything else that I do in life, I try to live with this kind of mindset: Never Get Outworked.

Thanks for asking the question in the locker room, Coach Fraser! I think it is something that all competitive lacrosse players should ask themselves. I know that your question has made me look in the mirror this week. I have been working out harder each day and I plan to play wall ball everyday this week before I get on the plane on Friday for our Saturday night game against Rochester.

Again, control what you can control – your work ethic. Okay players, stop reading and go do something to make yourself a better lacrosse player today!

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