Paul Rabil is choosing ONE player from the Pitt Panthers MCLA lacrosse team to work with over the next year, and we just had to find out more about this whole set up. Why work with an MCLA player? Where did this idea come from? What can actually come from it?
To get right to the root of the issue, we got in touch with Paul Rabil, and shot some questions over to him. He responded quickly, and intelligently, and now it’s all starting to make a lot more sense! Let’s get into the Q&A:
Why the MCLA? What is more attractive about that league than say a NCAA Division 3 or high school player?
I’m a firm believer in the longevity of a certain attitude and work ethic of the player, rather than what school he attended. While certain institutions and Final Fours may help prepare an athlete for certain scenarios, nothing is more unpredictable than what an athlete will dedicate his life to after college.
Obviously, a friend of mine, Connor Martin, has been successful jumping from an MCLA school to the MLL, and I’m anxious to see more talent in Pittsburgh.
What kind of growth can a player really see in just one year?
There are a lot of scenarios here, but the straight forward answer is whatever they dream they want to accomplish, they can. If someone’s goal is to become a first team All American in a matter of 12 months, then that is certainly achievable, if the prep work is done properly. Who’s stopping you?
When I talk about scenarios, I mean the age of the athlete, the type of coaching he’s getting, the amount of hours he’s conditioning, etc. I do believe the biggest jump in skill level – technically speaking – is seen at the high school level. After you have grown into your body, the measurements of improvement become smaller and smaller, and as the level of competition gets higher, you fight for inches.
If you had to look back and call one year your “big jump”, which would it be? and why?
My junior year in high school, and my second year in the pros. In high school, I made a big jump my senior year from a technical standpoint. I was athletic and tall, but really put in a ton of work that offseason to improve my passing and shooting. This was also the year I began to develop my shot on the run. From there, it was constant hard work and improvement.
When I entered my second season for the Cannons I feel like it was the first time where I began utilizing different parts of my game that I hadn’t tapped into before. I began to see the entire field offensively, understand when to pick certain spots to attack, and how to utilize my abilities based on my defender’s strengths and weaknesses.
Do you think it’s possible for one of these Pitt guys to make it in the MLL someday? Is that even part of the goal here?
Absolutely. When I do an event like this, I don’t want to set anyone else’s goals but my own. We’ll talk about expectations and motivational moments among other things, and I’ll find out if any of the Pitt players want to really take that step. If so, let’s get to work.
What are you looking for in Pitt’s “top performer”? How will that be decided?
This one is simple: desire. I think I’m a decent judge of talent, and a pretty good judge of character. That said, I always know when someone is absolutely passionate about what they want. I can see it in their eyes, in their “wantingness” (a Petro-ism) to learn. That’s what I’ll look for.
How much time do you think you will spend overall with this one lucky player?
As much as we see fit. The future of our communications will depend on how well we connect, how well we set our goals for the future, and every other step along the way. It’s always a very fun project to be a part of something like this, especially working with Red Bull.