Editor’s note: Please join me in welcoming 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. Over the next few weeks, Paul will be sharing stories from his journey to professional lacrosse stardom. We hope you enjoy![mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
We’re living amidst the proliferation of youth sports. I can talk about it every which way. However, instead of focusing on why, how or who started the dialogue and event takeover in lacrosse specifically, I want to share with you a familiar story of mine – a lacrosse camp I’ll never forget.
It was called the Gettysburg Shooting Camp. I was 14 years old, and on the fringe of becoming a high school freshman, playing basketball, soccer and lacrosse (in order of favorites).
My dad was, and still is, the hardest worker I know. He’s loyal, passionate, humble and always striving for improvement.
He was very selective over the camps he spent money on for me to attend, focusing on several points of emphasis:
- Quality and background of instructors
- Coach to camper ratio
- Cost, culture and transportation
Allow me to start with #3 and work my way up to the top.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
Cost, Culture and Transportation
My dad wanted any camp, clinic or tournament I attended to be enjoyable, engaging and centered on technical improvement. He knew I’d get my scrimmage and exhibition fix with my older brother, Mike, in the backyard – or with friends in the street.
I remember him always drawing the parallel to Billy Packer teaching him how to shoot a free throw properly. This is culture; the makeup of the event, the setting, location, campers in attendance and guidelines.
I know he’d shoot for the stars, too, but the reality was he had 3 children, all of which played sports, all of which are costly in the summer time. Hence the emphasis on affordable events.
Finally, we needed a ride to and from the camp. It seems obvious, but realistically, this is a logistic that all parents have to think through ahead of time.
How can I get my son or daughter to and from this event? If there’s no affordable option, it’s a pass.
Coach to Camper Ratio
This Gettysburg Shooting Camp had a 50 camper cap, with 10 coaches to work with. I grew up in the traditional hotbed of Maryland – crab cakes and lacrosse are in our blood.
There were always options to be seen by the crowd from Hopkins, Maryland, Georgetown, Towson, Loyola… you name it, but my Dad sent me to this 2-day Gettysburg, PA, camp. The event focused on shooting, with a great ratio of coaches to campers, ensuring that the message was well-received.
Sometimes we can get lost in trying to learn too much at one camp, and in the process, lose sight of everything. Meaning, 2-days of high repetition in shooting, unique drills and auto-correction was WAY more valuable to me, than 2-days of shooting, dodging, ground balls, defense, transition, man-up, man-down and so on.
I remember talking to one of our coaches and asking if I could stick around after a session because I had a couple of questions. Those questions turned into 30 minutes of ‘coach tossing ball to player.’ I’ll never forget it.
Quality and Background of Instructors
For privacy, I won’t get into which coaches were there, and who specifically taught me X, Y and Z. It’s not about that. Rather, it was the takeaway packet handed out by the staff that allowed me (as a young 14 year old) to remember the points of emphasis on shooting, the unique drills we practiced, and how often I should be doing each.
We often forget that these campers are kids. They’re constantly absorbing new intel and their exposure to the world often comes through new technologies that we never had. With this rapid influx of information, their minds must be running a million miles an hour… all of the time! A simple take-home packet paid for the price of admission by itself and was such an easy way to leave a lasting impression on a young lacrosse player.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”2″]
I’m not endorsing the Gettysburg Shooting Camp. I’m not even sure if it’s still around. I’ll even one up to say I don’t intend on directly selling you on the Paul Rabil Experience.
Instead, by telling a written series of impactful moments in my young career as a lacrosse player, I hope to illustrate why I’ve built my online platform, and where I hope to take you and your ambition, if you elect to join me with your subscription.
Stay tuned for my next topic: “My First Club Team”