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![mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
I’m a visual learner. There’s a reason for this.
I grew up with a learning difference, called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Basically, this difference ensured that I had to read and re-read material (often 2-3x over) in order to absorb the content. Because of APD, I was granted note takers, extra time on exams, and access to my school’s tutoring programs – all we’re incredibly beneficial.
However, by virtue of my challenges in the classroom, I would resort to other creative and visual ways to learn.
My short and long-term memory was sharp; I was strong with numbers, and excelled in art class. I also found I absorbed MUCH more information when I watched, rather than read.
Emulating My Heroes
It’s no wonder why every single night I would have a TV and VHS player setup next to my bed to watch lacrosse until I passed out. Back in 2000-2004 (my high school years) there wasn’t YouTube…hardly DVDs. There were so few games on TV that I ended up watching the same 4 games on repeat, over and over.
There were 3 players that stood out to me in these 4 games: Jay Jalbert (UVA), Josh Sims (Princeton), and AJ Haugen (Johns Hopkins). I like to think there are skills that each possessed that I practiced in the backyard, envisioning what it would be like to be a combination of the 3.
- Jay Jalbert stood for agility, toughness and creativity to the midfield position. He was shifty and strong. He took nose-dives down the teeth of the defense. He was great off the ground, and loved scrapping on defense. He could pass and shoot behind-the-back.
- Josh Sims ran like a deer. He created the “downhill dodge.” It was fast. And looked easy. He switched hands. And his shot came overhand, sidearm or underhand.
- AJ Haugen’s shooting on the run. Wow. Everything was so compact. It always came overhand, right off his ear. He hid it from the goalie. And he always put it off hip. I literally would watch him shoot, then practice it in my backyard.
Know the True You
These days, there’s SO much content out there. Heck, me alone; I’ve got Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and a YouTube channel. There are thousands of other feeds in lacrosse on the web today. There are hundreds of videos highlighting plays from games, instruction, and demonstrations. It’s great.
My message to you, however, is that streamlining your instruction will be more beneficial – it was for me. Meaning, while I only had 4 games in rotation on the tube, I was able to zero in on the same play, from every angle — good or bad– apply and learn. Sometimes, too much content, too much exposure to different technique can cause forgetfulness and a lack of true identity.
Make sure you know your abilities first. What position do you play? Are you a dodger, scorer, feeder, off-ball player, a combination of two or several? What type of player do you want to become?
After you figure that out, hone in on the best way to get there. Watch video of players that you aspire to be like. Write down the drills that will help you improve. Apply yourself. That’s what I did – and it ended every night reviewing film before bed.
Find out more about my favorite video tips, backyard drills, and more, at the Paul Rabil Experience. May is FREE, using code: MAY99
Talk to you next week,