Irish Lacrosse Foundation Spreading the Game Shannonside

On Feb. 16 and 17, Tom Prior (West Nyack, N.Y.) and Dick Pepper (Camillus, N.Y.) of the Irish Lacrosse Foundation travelled to the University of Limerick (UL). The goal of the trip was to help prepare future physical education teachers to teach lacrosse.

Tom Prior and Dick Pepper had the opportunity to collaborate with Ms. AnnMarie Ralph and Ms. Ursula McCarthy, who are faculty members in the Physical Education and Sport Science Department at University of Limerick.

Approximately 75 students, most of them undergraduate physical education majors, were taught in three different classes. A few graduate level students participated as well. The students experienced “skill & drill” activities from scooping to shooting. Students were given visual aids to help assist them in the future with teaching lacrosse in their physical education classrooms. Many of these students will enter their student teaching experiences shortly. The UL students were also provided with a lacrosse curriculum for grades 4-12.

During the lesson, students were also presented with teaching cues and sequences of skills to foster successful skill development. For example, tossing the ball with one hand on the stick was utilized to help students toss the ball with the top hand. This helps in the skill development of passing the lacrosse ball properly. Students were also given “wall ball” drills to help foster muscle memory of the tossing and catching skill.

The students at Limerick were also furnished with different relays to assist in teaching at the elementary & middle school level. Warm-up exercises incorporated agilities (i.e. carioca) while cradling a lacrosse stick. Thus, the cradling skill is reinforced and foot speed is also practiced.

The students at UL were very enthusiastic about learning how to teach lacrosse. Many of the students at Limerick were experienced hurling players and camogie players. Lacrosse and hurling skills have a positive transfer to the skills required for Lacrosse. We were impressed with how quickly the students seemed to pick some of the lacrosse skills like scooping, catching, and cradling. It is our hope that these students will not only be confident in teaching lacrosse skills but also take an interest in playing club lacrosse, coaching, or being a referee.

Many of the students were inquiring about various rules as we covered different skills. The nice part of team teaching with Pepper, a lacrosse official, is that he helped clarify rules as we were demonstrating skills.

McCarthy and Ralph went on to teach lacrosse later in the month.

In Prior’s Words:

This teaching situation was an awesome experience for me. I explained to the students that I was in their shoes over 20 years ago as a Physical Education major at Springfield College. I knew that I wanted to coach and teach lacrosse but, I never knew that I would have the opportunity to do it at such a highly-respected teacher-prep program like UL. I explained that as an educator, you will be guaranteed success if you are relentless about sharing your passion and knowledge for something you love & you are willing to help someone else. Not many other jobs will provide you with reward of improving someone else but, teaching will provide that.

The success of this trip was tremendous and would not be possible without the support of Dick Pepper and several others. Richie Moran (Cornell) was essential in networking with US Lacrosse & providing educational materials for the UL students. James McAleavey (Fairfield, CT) of MACWEAR was able to procure lacrosse sticks for the students at Limerick. Mike Kennedy (Dublin, Ireland) also assisted in providing lacrosse sticks. Steve Trombley (PennYann, NY) made a donation which allowed the Irish Lacrosse Foundation to bring 2 regulation lacrosse goals and 4 nets to the University of Limerick.

Limerick University will now be teaching lacrosse in their teacher prep program and their teachers will be well prepared with the mentorship of Ms. Ralph & Ms. McCarthy. We will continue to provide support to the student-teachers at UL and we plan on visiting UL again next semester.

We’d especially like to thank Steve Trombley of Hotbed Lacrosse with assisting us with the goals and nets.

Original Article Published at:

Many thanks to Inside Lacrosse for their coverage of this event!

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