US Lacrosse Pacific Southwest Regional Manager Gabe Fowler showing hands-on teaching with the US Lacrosse PE curriculum during the recent virtual LaxCon.

In its continuing effort to help grow the sport by utilizing the resources offered by schools, US Lacrosse held a free five-session professional development workshop for physical education instructors as part of this year’s US Lacrosse Convention.

The sessions covered the US Lacrosse athlete development framework, the curriculum in the US Lacrosse PE program and contemporary issues like adaptive instruction, cultural awareness and teaching in a virtual environment.

“The main goal was to create the connection from US Lacrosse to PE educators,” said Lauren Davenport, manager of athlete development for US Lacrosse. “We’ve had the curriculum since 2006, we’ve had the grant programs, and this was a chance to provide a professional development opportunity for PE educators and learn what they need from our curriculum.”

The results were positive with nearly 200 people registering for the program, which was made free to eliminate any barriers to participating and also scheduled in the second half of the day to help facilitate teachers from the West Coast.

The participants ended up stretching beyond the U.S. borders with participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom and beyond just PE teachers. With the sessions included as part of the main convention track, other coaches and program leaders joined in.

“A positive development was having the coaches and program leaders that were in the sessions because they wanted to learn how to help get lacrosse into their schools,” Davenport said. “Now we need to keep the momentum building.”

Davenport is leading the effort to refresh the curriculum, building on the US Lacrosse principles for athlete development. The curriculum allows PE teachers from grades K-12 to introduce the sport to their students. The curriculum provides age specific units plans, lesson plans, drills, games, educational handouts, cross-curricular activities and more. Aligns with national standards and was developed in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).

Despite budget limitations due to the pandemic, US Lacrosse also aims to provide another round of PE grants later this year. The grants include the actual curriculum and also the necessary starter sticks and balls to teach the sport in class.

There’s a market for it and for the engaging way the content was presented. After the virtual session one of the attendees told Davenport, “I have to teach in 45 minutes and I’m going to use this.”