Editor’s note: Welcome back Paul Rabil to LaxAllStars.com! Paul, a passionate lacrosse enthusiast who needs no introduction from us, recently launched PaulRabilExperience.com (“PRE” for short) to offer young aspiring players a direct connection to the advice and inspiration that’s made him the player he is today. Paul will continue sharing stories from his journey to professional lacrosse stardom. We hope you enjoy!
I never played club lacrosse. There you go.
I hope that didn’t come off as arrogant. The world was different when I grew up playing youth sports. In fact, what I said above is *technically inaccurate. Allow me to explain.
When I was a kid…
Nowadays, club lacrosse is very different than the club programs in the early 2000’s. Yes, clubs like the Baltimore Crabs, Dukes Lacrosse, Long Island Express, and Crossroads all existed. However, these programs were in-place to serve as “all-star” teams that aggregated a selection of local high school players to compete in Summer tournaments. No weekly practices were held. And tournaments were confined to the more traditional “Champ Camp” and “Vail Lacrosse Shootout” – or at least those were the two I played in.
More common were the actual high school programs registering their teams to participate in these tournaments. I played in more Summer and Fall tournaments with DeMatha High School, than I ever did with said club programs. I played in one Vail Lacrosse Shootout with the Baltimore Crabs, and one Champ Camp with Team Crossroads. We lost both.
Great, Paul…what’s your point?
My point is directed to those who can’t play club lacrosse year-round, either because they can’t afford to, or they’re playing multiple sports throughout the year that conflict. If you’re one of those kids — heck, even if you’re a kid who plays club lacrosse year-round — how far you go in this game is dictated by your internal passion and dedication to improve on your own. Just wearing a recognizable jersey, just signing up for an online program, just watching highlight videos, or just attending practice, will not get you a scholarship to your college of choice. You have to get outside and work on your craft. Better…you have to want to get outside and work on your craft, all the time.
A message I often tell kids is that I experienced the largest level of improvement in my game when I wanted to play all the time, rather than being told by my coaches and parents to practice. I don’t think my time against the wall changed. My mindset did.
I don’t dislike club organizations. In fact, I think they’re great. They promote lacrosse, they provide quality instruction, and more opportunities to play our game — where general resources are limited. I want that to be clear. I also want you to know that I cut my teeth playing in the backyard every day, watched VHS tapes of old college and MLL games at night, and doodled our team’s offensive sets with pen and paper, non-stop. I was obsessed with lacrosse. I was dedicated to getting better. Because I enjoyed it.
That’s my secret sauce. These are the type of videos, moves, messages and practices I pass along to you, at The Paul Rabil Experience.