Last week we had a chance to pick the mind of one of the best lacrosse players of all-time, Paul Rabil. Below you can see our questions and his answers:
Will Walker: Do you remember who gave you your first stick, and what kind it was?
Paul Rabil: My neighbor, Bruce Nechanicky, who went on to play at the Naval Academy, gave me my first stick at age 12. It was an Edge!
WW: With so many recruiting showcases, select teams and other organized lacrosse events, do you feel it helps or hurts players when they focus solely on lacrosse versus playing other sports? Did you play any other sports and do you think it helped your game progress to the level it is today?
PR: This is such a hot point of contention in our sport at the moment. My feeling is that it's really up to the player and his parents, coaches or mentors. I played basketball, soccer and ran track all throughout my young adulthood. Yes, there were things that I've taken from each sport that have helped me excel in lacrosse, but there's also a ton of value in leveraging your technical ability if you're playing year-round. Take European soccer players for example - all soccer, all day, every day. Their technical skill is incredible. However, the challenge then becomes not to burnout and not to lose your creative instinct and love for the game.
WW: What do you think is the one most important element to growing the game right now?
PR: Coaching. This is a delicate topic as my intent isn't to say our current youth coaches aren't great leaders, motivators or mentors - they are. I think because the sport is still relatively new, there hasn't been a generational runoff yet to where our Dads (who make up many of the youth coaches) know how to technically teach the game effectively. As we continue to absorb the boom in youth participation, we need to supplement it with a boom in youth coaching. Trust me, my Dad will be the first to tell you that he taught me lacrosse via his experience in basketball - and still does. We need lacrosse to be taught from experience in lacrosse.
WW: If you had to change one thing about the game of lacrosse what would it be?
PR: Shot clock. Crease dive. At all levels!
WW: What was the last thing you laughed really hard at?
PR: Probably something a moment ago. Laughing is incredibly important for mental focus and confidence. I laugh even when I'm not engaged!
WW: You're stuck on a desert island. You get one of the following to eat forever: meat, vegetables or fruits. What are you going with?
PR: Difficult question. I'm going with meat.
WW: After that, what are 3 items you couldn't live without on that island (minus food)?
PR: My babe, a house and a fire.
WW: Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
PR: I'll take both on.