It’s been quite the year for Attackman Rob Pannell. He won silver at the FIL World Lacrosse Championship with Team USA and led the New York Lizards of the MLL in both goals and assists before suffering a heartbreaking 14-13 semi-final loss to eventual champion Denver Outlaws. Rob also joined the world’s first lacrosse-only social networking site, TheLocker, as a sponsored athlete and adviser.
Recently Rob instructed players from the Patriot Lacrosse Club of New Jersey during a clinic they won through a sweepstakes sponsored by TheLocker and Brine. That’s where we caught up with Rob to ask him a bunch of questions about gear, locker room experiences, and the one routine every lacrosse player needs to master.
What was the first piece of lacrosse equipment you remember getting?
“I am going to have to go with my Warrior Barracuda stick, which was a red shaft and a black Barracuda head purchased from Lacrosse Unlimited. This was the first lacrosse stick that I bought, and it was something special. I remember distinctly the red shaft with yellow writing on it. It was a great stick and definitely got me going in the right direction.”
What is your favorite memory from the Cornell locker room?
“I would say one of my favorite memories from the Cornell locker room was in 2009 when we played Princeton. They were number one in the country and after we beat them coach Tambroni gave a speech in the locker room and we as a team were so excited and so jacked up. It was for the Ivy League championship as we were heading into the playoffs and it was just unlike anything I had experienced up to that point as far as a locker room setting”
Who’s the most vocal player in the Lizards locker room and what is the atmosphere like in there?
“I think the atmosphere in the Lizards locker room is probably a lot more comfortable than it was in college. We are also an extremely close and comfortable team and everyone gets along and has a lot of fun with each other. When it comes to the most vocal player in the locker room, it depends on before the game or after the game but Greg Gurenlian who’s always yapping it up. The Unterstein twins are a real duo, they are always good for a laugh and everyone gets along with them.”
Who’s the biggest clown in the locker room?
“The biggest clown would have to be Matt Gibson. He is certainly a character and everyone who knows him definitely would agree.”
What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
“My stick is definitely the one piece of equipment I cannot live without, when it comes to playing and playing the exact way I want to play I need the exact stick that’s going to make me feel the most comfortable on the field. I think that’s my stick exactly. The RP3, its what Brine and I developed together. It’s light, it’s strong and it allows me to string a pocket that enables me to put the ball where I want it. I mean, I can wear any gear in the world but my stick is the piece of equipment that’s going to give me the confidence to go out there and do what I want to do.”
What’s your favorite brand to wear off the field?
“I’m a man of many styles, but off the lacrosse field I love to wear a suit when I can. One of my favorite companies is Suit Supply; it’s a cool store in Manhattan where I bought something the other day. They have some sharp looking suits and amazing style, I am really into the whole fashion thing especially when I’m rocking a suit. I don’t rock them often but when I do they are usually from Suit Supply and a few other small companies.”
What about shoes?
“Well I always rock a lot of New Balance kicks, but I have a pretty great collection of Vans, I often get some compliments on some of the big colorful ones I rock.”
What are a few favorite songs on the iPod?
“’Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit is definitely a favorite right now, along with some techno and the usual stuff people listen to. I am not a big guy who finds a lot of music, but I’ll hear one or two songs then kill them by listening to them over and over again.”
What’s one skill or routine any young player should master first?
“Skill or routine, hmm let’s go with routine. A wall ball routine is crucial, if a young player can master a wall ball routine, and do it four or five times a week for ten minutes that’s all it needs to be. If they can master that it’s going to transfer over to the field, and that’s where they will see the biggest change in their game.”
What advice would you give a young lacrosse player who’s trying to pursue a professional career?
“You can never be satisfied, that’s my saying. You can never settle for the player that you are today, I think many young players may fall into a trap of thinking they’re the best player on the field and they take it easy at that point. I have seen some of the best players in youth and high school that fade away after thinking they can’t get any better. I was kind of the opposite, where I was never really the best and always had this ‘never satisfied’ attitude which led me to keep working, keep reevaluating my skills, and eventually you have a game that is tough to guard no matter how good the defenseman is. So never be satisfied, evaluate yourself constantly, and make sure to improve your game everyday.”
Why did you decide to join as an ambassador to TheLocker?
“I think growing up as a player I always wanted to know what some of the best players in the game were using. For me to find that out I had to watch them on TV and try and pause, I couldn’t pause TV back then, but look and see as closely as possible what they were using when they showed a close up of that player, or if I was lucky enough to see that player on the field. For a player to go on a website and really see exactly what the top players in the game are using, I think is amazing and makes that experience awesome. And allows those players also access to those players as well if they want to communicate with them, ask questions, whatever it may be, and that’s something I couldn’t have dreamed of having when I was growing up.”
Talk about your particular locker, what makes your locker room in the real world to the digital world, how do you combine those two and what makes it so unique for you and how you express yourself?
“I think everyone’s locker is unique. My locker on TheLocker is very neat, very organized and my locker in the real world is very neat and very organized as well and it’s got everything I would need in it to be a successful lacrosse player. If you look on TheLocker.com it has my stick, my arm pads, shoulder pads I would use, elbow pads, helmet, cleats etc. and that’s what I need to be successful on the field and then when I walk into the locker room everything I need is right there as well. It’s organized, in the place I know it’s going to be, and it’s there. That’s what makes it similar, and what makes both TheLocker.com and my locker unique.”
Who was the first locker you checked out?
“I probably went right to Max Seibald. I think we were a few of the first ones, so I looked at mine and then looked at his to see what he had, and probably changed around some things in mine or added some things, thought that’s a good idea. I think we kind of discovered it at the same time, so right when I logged on he was the person that came up so I checked it out and saw what he had in his. He was also one of the first lockers I ever checked out at Cornell, since I was right next to him.”
What about the team rooms with Cornell and the Lizards makes you most excited?
“Everything is there. They have their own pages on TheLocker.com and everything about those teams is there as well so TheLocker.com delivers a ton of content when it comes to not only you but also the teams you’re involved with. For Cornell, if it were around when I was there, certainly would have helped add to that. As for the New York Lizards now, every young player can see what those teams are using, also see what they’re up to, what their record is, what’s the news, what was your latest game. I think that’s what is very unique about a website like TheLocker, that brings everything to one place.”
When you used to search around for your gear, how difficult was it to then tie back to buying the product? How simple is it on TheLocker?
“There’s certain websites that have certain things, and others have other things. You’re looking for a certain stick or you’re searching all over the place to find the product you want. If you’re on TheLocker and you know a certain player has that product or is using that product, you know where it is. It’s got every product in the lacrosse world. So for someone to be able to go onto my locker and say I want the brine RP3 shaft, they click it and buy it. I don’t see how it can get any easier for a player. And for TheLocker.com to provide that efficient process right to the young player and to his parents, especially, it becomes the parent’s problem when they’re younger. For a player to say hey look this is what I want, boom, boom, boom right here and to say the players are using it. What’s better than that?”
What about the community aspect makes TheLocker so unique?
“I think you can go on all these social media sites right now, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you’re looking for your lacrosse players, you’re looking to see what they’re up to, how they did in their last game. A lot of kids come on social media because we post pictures of the products that we’re using. For a website like TheLocker.com to come to one place and you know every lacrosse player will be there, from a professional player to a kid starting out in first or second grade, you’ll be able to see what they’re using, what they’re up to, updates, pictures of them playing, whatever it may be, TheLocker brings all that content together in one great place for all lacrosse players to hang out.”
To check out the video of the full interview with Rob, visit TheLocker’s YouTube channel.