Thinking About Teaching Your Kids How to Ski?

REI Coop has an expert advise blog and here is what they have to share with you about the ski gear you will need for your kids:

  1.  Make sure they are warm, and proper gear includes:
  • jacket
  • ski pants
  • long underwear
  • insulating layer
  • neck gaiter
  • socks
  • goggles
  • mittens
  • warmers

2.  Think about buying or renting, whichever you decide, you will need:

  • helmet
  • skis
  • bindings
  • boots
  • poles

For details on the right gear, please check out:  How to Teach Kids to Ski



Breath Control is Important for All of Us

Although, this breath control exercise was written for actors and singers – we can all benefit from learning how to get the most of out of our breaths.  It’s the holiday season, there are a lot of exciting events to plan and participate in but there can be some stress factors that you are dealing with as well.  Taking deep breaths and getting more oxygen to your brain can calm your nerves, and help you to alleviate your stress.  Theater Folk shares this simple breathing control exercise:

1.  Stand with your feet flat on the floor and keep your shoulders back and relaxed. Imagine a string coming out of the top of your head that keeps you standing straight and tall.
2.  Place your hands on your stomach. Practice taking a breath from your diaphragm. Imagine your lungs and diaphragm filling up with air like a balloon. Feel your stomach expand and contract as you inhale and exhale. Make sure not to hunch up your shoulders around your ears or gasp. Keep your inhale controlled!
3.  Breathe in for a count of four, and then exhale though your teeth with a “ssssss” sound for a count of four. When you come to four, stop the exhale crisply. You’ll probably have lots of air left, but the exercise is going to become more challenging!
4.  Breathe in for a count of four, and repeat the exhale for a count of eight. Repeat the exercise exhaling for longer counts (ten, twelve, fourteen). The more you practice this exercise, the longer you will be able to hold the sound.

The goal is to incorporate good breathing techniques into your daily living practices, whether or not you are a singer or an actor.

For more details and even a PDF Practice log, check out:  A Simple Breath Control Exercise for Actors & Singers

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

Highlights of 2017 US Women’s Lax FIL Rathbones World Cup Victory

As shared by US Lax Magazine:
“The skies opened up and a downpour was inevitable. The rain only got stronger as Team USA trudged forward through the mud to the pitch at Surrey Sports Park.”

“The storm hit on Saturday, but what we didn’t realize was that storm was inside of us, emotionally,” Carey continued. “We made history.”

The significance of that moment also struck U.S. assistant Amy Bokker. She described it as a “whirlwind,” the journey leading to Team USA’s climactic 10-5 victory over Canada to secure its third straight World Cup gold medal.

“The World Cup ended in that rainstorm,” Bokker said. “While all that was going on, I never felt tired. I felt energized by what was happening around our game and our sport.”

And that is not the whole story find out more: How the U.S. Women Helped Bring Lacrosse to the World


Parents, Are You Motivating Your Athletes Aptly!

More often, parents do praise and motivate their children whenever a situation presents itself.  CoachUp Nation shares how we can cheer our children on in a preferred direction by recognizing what we should actually be encouraging.  The thought is that in place of  emphasis on talent and outcomes, we should draw attention to effort, work, engagement in the process and failing even with effort.

Rearranging what we highlight, from the uncontrollable variables to controllable variables actually empowers your athlete.  CoachUp Nation shares that “Athletes with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens, and that they have to prove their talent each time they play or compete.”  Kids who are focused more on these uncontrollable variables tend to be prone to anxiety, extra added stress, and less positive attitudes around competition.

However, when athletes are more focused on things that they can control like effort, work, etc., they are imbued with a growth mindset.  “The growth mindset is associated with having the fundamental belief that their abilities and outcomes are due to hard work (as opposed to mere talent).”

Your opinions as a parent really do count.  When you rethink how you can praise your child, consider encouraging a growth mindset where your child can be incentivized to improve themselves with hard work and concentrated effort.  This is not to say that praising your child for their talent and accomplishments have to cease but rather think of a balance where both types of praising will enhance your child’s motivation to accomplish their goals.

Read more:  Parenting Self-Motivated Athletes

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps Photos


Keep your Golf Game in Swing Despite the Winter

Practical Golf shares 5 ways to keep up with golf despite the long winter months.  Your golf game can suffer if you don’t stay in the swing of things  especially, if you live in areas where your golf is interrupted by wintry weather.  Here are a few things that you can do to keep you in shape for when the golf-friendly weather returns:

  1. Keep on putting – work on your putting consistently over the cold months
  2. Work on your full swing –  if you have the space, working on your full swing can only improve your game
  3. Use this time to learn more about golf – there are lots of articles to read and videos that you should be watching to learn more about the game
  4. Improve your golf fitness – staying fit in general is a great idea, and there are fitness workout videos specifically for golfers
  5. Check your equipment – winter months are a good time to look over your equipment and if you decide you want change have a professional club fitter help you out before you spend unnecessarily

Staying in shape throughout the year can only help your game.  Don’t let the winter blues keep you from practicing and staying on top of your swings.

For more information and product suggestions:  5 Ways to Prevent Your Golf Game From Hibernating this Winter

Image Credit:  FS Camps Photos


Still Searching for a Holiday Gift for Your Equestrian?

Stacy Westfall of Westfall Horsemanship shares her top 5 holiday gift suggestions for your horseback rider:

  1. Hands on Gloves – $24.99 – Stacy says, “They are amazing!” and the horses really love them too.
  2. Stacy Westfall Catch Halter – $28.99 – Stacy says, “Yes, thats my name…which makes it a bit awkward but if you lead a horse in and out as often as I do, or better yet multiple horses…you’ll fall in love.”
  3. Home made bridle rack – free – Check out Stacy’s blog for directions on making your own.
  4. Espana SILK All Natural Antiseptic Topical Spray,– $16.99 – Stacys says, “First off it smells AMAZING, second, I can use it with my bare hand, which makes me feel better about scrubbing it onto my horse and BEST OF ALL…IT WORKED! Girth fungus cured while making my horse smell amazing.”
  5. Shake’n Fork,– $199.00 – Stacy says, “I thought it was kind of gimmicky when I first saw it, but when I used it, I fell in love with it. I actually searched out the Shake’n Fork to use it.”

For details:  Horse Holiday Shopping 2018

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps


Interested in Joining a Magic Club?

Aaron Fisher, magician and coach shared his thoughts about magicians joining a magic club.  “The short answer is: Yes. Magic clubs – and what the good ones offer their members – ARE essential to every magician’s performance development. They may not be something you rely on at all times during your career but at some point, if you stay in magic for more than just a little while, you will need, and want, a community to help you develop further.”

Magic clubs have been around much longer than the first official magic club, Society of American Magicians, which was founded in 1902.  Secrecy and magic often come hand-in-hand, however, even historically magicians gathered together to share their craft and improve it.  Magical traditions were also passed on down through the generations and some in undisclosed ways.

In this era, the veil of secrecy has somewhat been lifted and learning magic no longer requires apprenticeship or meeting face to face with a master magician.  Today, you can learn magic by reading books on-line or enrolling in on-line magic classes/workshops.  Although, magic clubs that meet monthly are experiencing a decline in attendance, popularity of on-line magic communities are increasing yearly.  Albeit a vast change in how magic traditions are taught and shared, it seems like magicians still want to get together and share their artistry.

If magic, tugs your creativity. you may want to consider joining a magic club.  Read more:  Magic Clubs: Is Joining One Right For You?

Image Credit: Future Stars Camps

Cody Miller, Olympian Swimmer Shares His Warm-up

People are drawn to sports for varying reasons, for Cody Miller it was medical.  Cody has a medical condition known as Pectus Excavatum (which means his chest is sunk-in).  In his childhood, Cody started swimming to help him to monitor his heart and his breathing. Fortunately, for Cody he took to swimming like a fish in water.

Miller had numerous successes in high school and at the collegiate level at Indiana University.  More recently, in the summer 2016 Olympics, he earned a bronze medal in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke and a gold medal in the men’s 4 × 100 meter medley relay, in which he swam the breaststroke leg.

See what Cody has to share about how he warms-up.


Win Vs Lose on green two-way road or street signs to illustrate a turning point where you must choose a direction or path that will lead to winning or losing a game, competition, job or career

Losing can be Rough

There may come a time when when some kids see winning as the only reason for playing.  Are you concerned that your child doesn’t know how to lose well?   NAYS.org shares an interview with licensed psychologist, Dr. Jason Youngman on how to help young athletes cope with losing.  If you can relate to these questions you should read what Dr. Youngman has to say:

  • How can losing at sports actually help young athletes become better?
  • How should parents and coaches of young athletes handle their kids losing?
  • Is there anything a coach can do to stop the downward losing spiral before it gets out of control?
  • How can a coach motivate a player that hates to lose who is on a losing team?
  • Should young athletes on a losing team focus on making themselves a better player, or helping their team win?
  • Should parents remove their child from a losing team?

Find out more:  Does your young athlete hate losing?


Pre-Stage Jitters?

No matter how well prepared a performer is, pre-stage jitters are very common and befall beginners and veteran actors alike.  If your child is having a hard time coping with performance anxiety, Kerry Hishon of Theatrefolk shares some pointers:

  1. Apply yourself during and outside of rehearsals.  Practice your lines, cues, blocking, and dance routines; work on your voice and get the right amount of rest.  The more prepared you are, the more confident and comfortable you will be in your role.
  2. If you are really worried about something going wrong, play it out in your head or with other cast members, and come up with solutions to solve the concern.
  3. Perform breathing exercises, slowly inhale and fill up your abdominal cavity, then slowly exhale while contracting your abdomen.  Repeat this exercise as many times as you can till you feel calmer.
  4. Sometimes writing down what is causing you anxiety can also be calming.  Writing grants you the opportunity to express your feelings; now allow yourself to let it go.
  5. Remind yourself that the audience wants you to succeed and they are all there to root for you and have a great time.

Most audiences especially for youth performances are more than delighted to be there and are in awe of all the work that goes into the production.  They are proud of you even before you get on the stage and show them how hard you have worked on stage and behind the scenes.  Be in the moment and enjoy the show!

Read more:  Dealing with Nerves