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Paul Rabil with Parents High School DeMatha

The Little Things: Paul Rabil’s Secret to Success

By mastering the little things on and off of the lacrosse field, a player can be rocketed to greatness by following Paul Rabil’s formula to success!

Editor’s note: Special thanks to lacrosse icon Paul Rabil for joining through May to drop some serious knowledge on the young minds of the lax world! Paul, a passionate lacrosse enthusiast who needs no introduction from us, recently launched (“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. We were grateful to have Paul guest write for us through May and we look forward to having him back soon!

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The question I’m asked the most from young players is… “how do I make varsity?”

If you’re younger, older, or already on varsity, don’t tune out. There’s a deeper root to the cause.

What Coaches Want

Today, I want to talk about what coaches want in a player. Whether you’re fighting for the final roster spot, challenging teammates for a starting position, or you’re the best player on your team competing against the other best players in the league for top recognition. I want you to focus on something very simple, yet so difficult to be consistent in: the little things.

Why are the little things so attractive to coaches, yet so unattractive to players?

It’s simple. They don’t show up as goals, assists, saves, ground balls or takeaways.

Turning Little Things Into Big Things

The little things are hustling in and out of substitutions, winning a team sprint during practice, grabbing the balls out of the cage and lining them up for the next shooting drill, being the first in line, making eye contact with your coach in huddles, never walking in practice or games, wearing the right colored pinnie… stuff like that.

For coaches, not only do these little things show up in a big way during tryouts, but they also set the right tone for your teammates. It’s contagious.

However, sometimes these little things can be called, being a “suck up”, or a “coaches pet” – and that’s why most people don’t get them done on a consistent basis.

I want to tell you it’s not cool to jog off the field and give up reverse transition, it’s not cool to come in last during sprints, and it’s not cool to walk in between practice drills and make the rookies shag balls. You know who else is going to think you’re not cool? Your teammates.

Winning the Day

Whether you’re at a recruiting event, a club team tryout or an instructional camp, you want to know the best way to get spotted? First, allow me to paint the picture…

  • You’re about to play in an exhibition in front of 50+ college coaches
  • Your club team or randomly selected group of players are on the field, with a staffed coach that’s getting paid to monitor and sub you in and out
  • Everyone is nervous, because every college coach in America is watching you
  • There are no organized warm-ups
  • Faceoff is in 10 minutes

Here’s what you should do (and it takes cojones)!

  1. Call everyone on your team into a huddle.
  2. Tell them this:

“Hey guys. We’re all here for the same reason. That’s clear. But at the end of the day, what really matters are wins vs. losses. We’ll all make good plays. We’ll all make bad plays. But the coaches want to see who can work together when there are a million distractions. Which group can be cohesive? Who can win?

We’re not only going to win, but we’re going to set the tone by getting a team stretch in, team line drills, followed by free shooting and d-work. We’re going to be a team. Now who wants to lead stretching, and who wants to organize line drills?”

I’m telling you, you’ll rarely see this at an event. But if you do, take a look around at the coaches’ onsite. They’ll be fixated on your group, taking down plenty of notes.

The little things get you on varsity.

Stay humble and hungry!

Paul Rabil

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Check out all of Paul’s life lessons that he shared with us through the month of May before checking out the Paul Rabil Experience to see if it’s right for you!

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