rebounding_line1I began rebounding about 9 years ago and became such a fan that I bought one for my apartment, for my parents home in Colorado, for my then boyfriend  (now husband), for my office and for my siblings’ places because I couldn’t miss a morning and felt that everyone could benefit from using one.

Urban Rebounding was invented by JB Berns and years ago I was lucky enough to take a few classes taught by him at Equinox. This is an aerobic and cardio workout without the stress on your joints but I used it not only as a workout but also as my morning meditation or a time to zone out and watch the news. I spend between 20-30 minutes daily (usually in the morning) on the urban rebounder sometimes simply bounding, sometimes a jog and sometimes creating my own workouts. I find not only did it lengthen my legs and tighten by glutes but also increased the stability in my abdominal muscles, made me stand taller and helped with my digestion as well as setting me up for a mindful day.

What is also great about this workout is that you can store it easily under your bed and its quiet enough that you can jump while watching the news or setting your daily intentions while others are sleeping in rooms next to you. (I don’t know if my roommates would have agreed, but they are still my friends so it couldn’t be that bad!)

I also have used it with my clients and athletes as a mindfulness and meditative activity (in the morning, after school before starting homework or at night to decompress) and also as a great hand-eye coordination assister. To help with this (for all sports and also to create a mind-body connection) see steps and activities below.

  1. I often have the athlete or client face a wall and have a tennis ball in their hand.
  2. Begin bouncing (or rebounding as JB Berns calls it) for about 5 minutes
  3. For 100 tosses, toss tennis ball up and down with your dominant hand keeping your eye on the ball
  4. Now, do 100 trying to look ahead (not at the ball)
  5. Switch hands and repeat
  6. Now try switching from one hand to the other for 100 tosses
  7. Now repeat the drills above but do it throwing the ball against the wall

8) Create your own exercises maybe rebounding on one leg doing the same thing. What else can you come up with?

These exercises will not only improve eye-hand coordination but will also increase your focus, mindfulness and ability to block out what is going on around you to be able to focus on the task at hand. I have found that some people are able to find solace in stillness and find that a great way to be meditative but others really need to move. This is a moving meditation that many people LOVE and are so grateful for as they know the benefits of taking time to be quiet and meditative but truly need the movement in their lives! As you probably have read but took me time to understand as I always wanted to do everything “right” meditation is different for everyone. Finding something that works for YOU and that you will stick with is better than doing what works for someone else and dreading it or not getting anything out of it. Give this a try if the stillness aspect has been giving you nightmares.

Benefits of Rebounding:

  1. Pushes muscles to fatigue without putting stress on your joints
  2. Increases blood flow and lymphatic-fluid circulation
  3. Strengthens abdomens
  4. Strengthens and lengthens legs
  5. Helps with weightless
  6. Increases bone density
  7. Decreases celulite
  8. improves posture and balance
  9. Helps with digestion (I love to do it in the morning!)

Remember, you can do this on your own while meditating or setting up daily intentions, you can do it while watching the news, talking on the phone or purchasing a video that can walk you through exercises.

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

During our initial stages of work, there are many approaches to take. Depending on the sport, level, where they are in the season and length of time they will be able to work with me, we create a program that will get the most out of the sessions. But, one aspect we always focus on is breathing.  How much experience children have with mindful exploration, can carve  our work on breathing, mindfulness and eventually visualization. I have found that if kids learn aspects of this type of skill while they are young, and can actually breathe regularly and deeply for at least 5 minutes, they are able to focus and not feel “awkward” when practicing it in high school and beyond and can see and feel the benefits on the field, court, ice, water and classroom. Also, mindfulness/visualization/meditation takes practice, baby steps and takes individuals being comfortable in their own skin.In a way, its a confidence building exercise as well.

Initially, the first step is breathing. I often work with my athletes on breathing before we even try to do visualization or mindfulness exercises. Our bodies have been so programed (especially for women) to hold in our stomachs (hence we all want flat stomachs, six packs, abs of steel) that we sometimes forget how to get a full, deep breath in and how just 5 or 6 full breathes can really change your state of mind.

Here, I will cover a simple  breathing exercise that can be done in the morning, after school, before practice, homework, or before bed to relax you and get you ready for slumber. (Adults, don’t be shy to practice with your kids!) This is best done at least an hour after a meal so your belly isn’t full.

Set an alarm for 5 minutes. Lie down or sit up in a cross legged position or with your legs stretched out; whichever is most comfortable for you. Slowly allow your eyes to close. Take a deep breath in and feel your entire belly fill up with air all the way to your chest. You can feel your chest take up more and more air as it expands. When you feel as if you cant take up any more air, hold it for a count of 5 (count in your head) then slowly let the air out trying to take as much time as it took to fill your lungs up as it does to let the air out. At the bottom of the breath, hold the breath out for a count of five. At this point, you might be able to feel the beating of your heart in your head. (This is a cue that you are sending more blood to your head than you usually do and blood pumping around your body is a good thing! It makes you think clearer and less reactionary!)

Now, we are going to continue doing this breathing for 5 minutes. Not worrying about counting the the number of breathes, only focusing on this train of thought: Breathing in through your belly, chest, throat, nose, as you feel them expand- hold your breath for 3 counts. Then out (exhale) through your nose, throat, chest, belly as you feel them compress or deflate – hold it for 3 counts.Then repeat. Over and over again.

When the timer goes off, try to take one more deep breathe in and slowly let the air out. Lie still for a minute before slowly rolling to one side, sitting up and continuing on with your day/night or falling fast asleep.. Remember, at the beginning you might fall asleep. That is ok and sometimes when you finally start breathing, you can finally start relaxing and that is when you can take your game to another level.

Reaction Crazy BallGetting CRAZY!!!!

As a mother, father, coach, private sports coach, teacher or family member, we are often looking for fun activities to do with our kids  that takes up relatively little space, is not only entertaining  and fun but can also sneak in something beneficial, educational and/or improves something they need to work on.

For those of us with kids that like (and NEED) to move, are gifted athletically/striving toward athletic prowess, there is a little secret toy that many coaches and experts often pull out of their secret skill arsenal.

Enter, the Crazy Ball This ball has been around for decades and has helped turn lazy kids into active ones, quiet times into giggling and laughing times, random afternoons into crazy competitions, and, mediocre athletes with little ability to react and little coordination into movement and agility machines.

With its 6 sides it can bounce, leap, and pop in a million different directions and its your job to catch the ball on a given number of bounces. For example, “Hey, Charlie, let it bounce twice then catch it… Now, three times and then catch it..” Continually try to build up and catch on the given number of bounces and create competitions with your kids or among your kids friends.

So, the next time you need an easy activity (also great to pack on vacation as it is small and compact and fun for adults too (I promise its a workout if you play with your kids and the laughter and bonding is contagious) bring along the crazy ball.

Directions and benefits below!


  1. Helps improve reaction time (great for tennis, baseball, soccer and squash, ice hockey)
  2. Supports hand-eye coordination and development (great for football, tennis, baseball, soccer, squash, lacrosse,
  3. Increases overall agility and footwork (obvious, no?)
  4. Improves concentration (focussing on the ball and on improvement in situations where there is no predicability of what will happen!


  1. As many players can participate
  2. Each round a different player can be the leader
  3. Decide on the number of bounces (each person can get a chance, or you can all go for the same ball or challenge each other and see how far up you can go as a team)
  4. Get in “ready position” which is usually very similar throughout sports
  5. Focus your eyes on the ball and/or eyes of the challenger
  6. The leader drops the ball usually from shoulder height and decide whose turn it is to “go for” the ball

For additional and advanced crazy ball games and products please do not hesitate to reach out!

Drink up!

drinkingwater Your aspiring athlete is on a roll. He has been taking the initiative and working on his own, focussing on his wall exercises, practicing with his coach and friends and is even getting enough sleep. He is taking time to watch his opponents, study their strengths and weaknesses, watch the pros play and has even started some visualization to give him a leg up for the mental side of the game. But, he seems to be lacking energy halfway through his lesson or match —even when practicing his wall ball activities.

So, lets talk about hydration. When our athletes get tired, the first thing that comes to mind is, “he or she isn’t eating enough.” That might be very well be the case, however we can’t forget about hydration; especially with the extreme activity levels that these athletes endure.

The recommended daily water intake for kids ages 5-8 is one liter, which is about 5 glasses of water; for 9-12 year olds, 1.5 liters and for 12 years and older, 2 liters, which is about 8-10 glasses. It does not seem like a lot but if we don’t get the water consumed early in the day, it is often too late to aid in hydration or help with energy levels, and unless we are really focused, we might totally forget!

So, just how do we get our kids to drink more water? Below are some suggestions for your athlete to help get water consumed early in the day and throughout. When children are away from caregivers, these suggestions can empower children to remain motivated in their hydration challenge.

  1. Drink water the moment you open your eyes. Have a glass, maybe even two by your athlete’s bed. Before they even get out of bed have them “chug” that water! Make it fun by selecting a cool Nalgene, sippy-cup or Bkr bottle which is so fun and colorful. Let them choose (online) which one fits them best!
  2. Before breakfast, have another glass. Children often model behavior so have a glass of water with them! This can be a great way to be a role model and you might not be getting enough either! That is already 3 glasses down before the day has started!
  3. Try to get in the majority of the water early in the day, before you are thirsty. Some specialists stress that if you become “parched” it is a little too late.
  4. Before practice, usually when you are on your way, make sure to drink another 8 oz glass or water bottle.
  5. During your match or practice see if you can be challenged by drinking at every side change or every ball pickup. Ask yourself mindful questions that make you in charge of your water consumption, such as, “ Do I feel like I had more energy than when I didn’t drink much? Could I have played longer if I had had to?”
  6. Use an app. There are many applications out there to remind kids to drink water! If kids do not have a phone, parents should set it on their phones and when the reminder goes off it’s water party time!
  7. Investing in a cool water bottle is another great idea. Going online or to a sports shop and finding one you’ll love and won’t mind taking with you is a great way to promote hydration and putting the water control in their power and is also a bit more eco-friendly than using plastic bottles.

What about the children that don’t like it, complain, and you feel like its worse than pulling teeth to get the water down? Empower them. Ask them about solutions. Could you cut the water with a little pure orange, cherry or apple juice? Or a sports drink? Too much sugar is not really beneficial, but adding a little flavor is no problem at all and with all of their activity, it can actually be helpful. After they get in the habit of it and see how their game responds when they are hydrated, less and less juice will be needed.

When kids head back to school, there is no reason to halt water intake. Continue with the morning routine and find a cool water bottle (that they pick! Again, check out Bkr, super cool!) and have them head off to school with it. Have them try to fill it up after every class, or have the younger ones see if they can drink 1 bottle before recess, another before lunch, and another before dismissal. Of course, it depends on the size of the bottle but there are some great kid-friendly and teenage friendly options.

Oh, and just a reminder: In the beginning, drinking water throughout the day might seem like a hassle, one more thing to think about. But like every routine, once you get into the swing of it, it will become second nature. And, just like you brush your teeth every morning, you will start to reach for that important (and refreshing!) glass of water!

athleticnutritionThe athlete’s diet has a huge effect on performance. In fact, the nutritional choices our athletes are using to fuel their bodies can make or break a practice, match or workout session. However, it is important to empower our athlete so he makes the right choice on his own. Placing the power of success or failure in his hands is a great tactic; having him make optimal choices for their bodies, minds, and athletic endeavors can have a positive effect on performance on the athletic field and also in the classroom. And, lets not forget that teaching him how to fuel his body also teaches him athlete how to fuel his mind. A clear, sharp mind can help with strategizing in addition to focussing. In a critical match, a well fueled brain can be a determining factor in their success.

Educating our athletes by providing good examples and communication, and by being a sound role model can be a great way to put them in charge of their nutrition. We have to come to terms with the fact that we are not around our children all day. They are most definitely eating lunch at school, as well as snack and, with many after school and sports schedules, sometimes dinner or breakfast is eaten “on the road.” So, we have to trust that we have given them enough information to make healthy choices. By giving them proper knowledge and tools in order to make these choices we are empowering them.

Below is a list of “things we should know,” followed by questions and conversation starters to put our kids in control of their diets. Remember, we are not around them at all mealtimes and snack times. We can give them the tools to reach for the fueling foods but they eventually have to make the choice. We want to encourage them to realize the impact that they have on their own success. When our athletes are competing they are ultimately on their own. We want to empower so they understand that they are the key to their own success.

Things to stress:

1. Water Water Water. We want them to be drinking water throughout the day. Maybe, parents or caregivers should even be joining in on the fun. Set an example by drinking two big glasses of water with your athlete when you wake up.  Don’t forget to have them download a water app on their phones to remind to drink up every hour. (See the previous post about water consumption)

2. Read the ingredients on all packaging: If you can not pronounce the ingredient, try not

to eat it. Less is more: the least number of ingredients in an item, the better.

3  Balanced meals. We need to have protein, fat and carbohydrates at all (or most) meals.

4 Snack before, during and after intense practices and matches.

5. Mind over matter: Thoughtful rather than compulsive consumption. Our athletes are movers and shakers. We don’t want what their eating to consume their thoughts. We want them to remain mindful without it overcoming their thoughts. So, make it fun. Having a REAL, wholesome treat make with all natural ingredients. Try wholesome ice cream, homemade banana bread or fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. They are allowed and our hard working athletes deserve it!

Conversations with our Athletes:

1.We know we are hydrating and have enough water in our system if our urine is clear or a faint yellow. So, if it looks different, we need more! How do you think we can increase our water consumption? Maybe having two glasses in morning, when we get up, and two in the late morning? How do you think we can get more water into our systems? Sometimes its really hard to drink enough; lets try mixing the water with a little pure fruit juice or some lemons. Sometimes that makes it a little tastier.

2. Ok, so you have been getting tired during the match. What have our meals been lately? Do we have carbs, fats and protein at meals? What are your favorite foods in these categories? Lets discuss and I will be sure to have them in the house! Also, if we make a list of the foods that are most performance enhancing maybe we can make sure we are getting a balanced, fuel efficient meal in at school. What are your favorite carbohydrates? Proteins? Vegetables? Lets make sure you are eating what you enjoy!

3. We need an easy on the go snack before practice. What do you like? If you’re big into pretzels, lets add some almond butter to it. If you love peanut butter, lets add some carrots (yes, carrots with nut butters can be delicious) or an apple if the carrot snack ‘weirds you out!’. And, lets remember we don’t want to be too full-we want just enough so we can have “happy feet” around the field and court. During games, do you think you need a pick me up? Should we try a few different energy bars (there are a lot of preservative free options out there)? Or how about an energy drink? (Again, there are some new options with great electrolytes available or fruit juice in water can be a nice pick- me-up!)

Also, keep in mind after one too many times ‘hitting a wall’ or feeling extremely sluggish after chowing down on a grilled cheese or burger with fries before hitting the court, or drinking a milkshake before practice, our athletes will quickly (and quietly) learn a good lesson on fueling the body!!!


“Did you win?”

Oftentimes, that is the first question from a parent, caregiver or friend after a match or even a practice scrimmage. Although always with the best of intentions, these words can often cause our athletes to become anxious and sometimes exhibit hostility, anger or perhaps even fear. If it was practice, does winning or losing really matter? If it was a close match that your athlete played the game of  his or her life in, that question can make the loss that much more disgracing and also diminish self confidence and resiliency.

Instead of starting the conversation with a focus on defeat or victory, try to encourage athletes to reflect on the match or practice in a more mindful way. Your guidance will allow them to examine the match or the practice points in addition to creating a trustworthy relationship where they believe you are on their side and allow them to evaluate their performance practically without too many emotions. Questions like, “What did you do well today”  “What was the best part of your game?”  “How did you feel halfway through the match?”  “Do you think maybe you need a jolt of energy halfway through? What about bringing a power bar in your bag?” These contemplative questions allow the players to study their game in a productive way and where they feel in control.  This will create competitors (not only in athletics, but in what they chose to do off the court as well) who are able to be introspective about their game, thoughtful in their growth and improvement and able to overcome minor setbacks and losses.

Constructive communication also creates a partnership between you and the athlete. The athlete is no longer anxious that they are judged solely on the win or loss, but more in the more measurable aspects that they can control. Did I have quick feet? Did I transfer my weight well? Was I coming to the net enough? These more specific questions can aid in helping athletes understand WHY they were successful (or not) in a more precise manner. Hopefully once they have reflected on this, the changes can be made so they’re more successful in the future.


Many parents question why their sons or daughters appear to be lacking coordination, “…my son cannot skip! He should be able to do that by now.” I respond by saying we can usually fix that by increasing balance/coordination and suggesting that parents not fret! Fretting only exacerbates the problems! I also usually mention that children develop at different times (just like reading; it takes some children more time) but everyone usually catch up! An additional response involves a series of questions about their children’s background. I have found that just as soon as children begin to crawl or walk, their coordination and balance needs to be developed. This can be done with physical activity at home. Playgroups and activities outside of the home are also a great way to start to develop these skills. Living in New York City, I have had the opportunity to witness a variety of classes that are amazing for building these coordination skills, especially for parents who might have less experience with developing these skills themselves and for parents who might have forgotten how they first learned to skip, catch a ball or sink a basket. One class I want to spotlight is Kids in Sports. Kids in Sports is an amazing way to get kids moving and working as a TEAM, starting as early as 12 months. There are many amazing aspects of this program. Besides the dedicated and educated staff and founders, one of the best parts of this program is that parents and caregivers can participate in the early years. I like this program because it gives parents the opportunity to begin to understand how their kids work, what can make them frustrated, what they celebrate, how they concentrate, how important parental approval is to them, how they work with other children and also how to be proud of their children’s accomplishments and progress. Although the class is called, “Kids in Sports,” it’s not just for the “athletic” child. It is for all children, creating confidence, problem solving and building self-awareness at an early age. The equipment used and the colorful contraptions built are astonishing and can lure even the most timid children. From multi-sport to specific sport classes (most of these specialized classes start after the children turn four) the kids learn not only how to work as individuals, but also together. From team warm-ups and stretching to team cheers and end of the year trophies (for everyone!) there are many benefits. The kids range from Tiny Athletes, to Little Athletes all the way up to Minors and Major Athletes, and their T-shirt colors change just as quickly as their ability to move from crawling, to walking, galloping, hopping, skipping and THEN dribbling and skipping at the same time. Starting young in a setting like this is bound to not only improve your little ones’ balance, coordination and flexibility but ALSO confidence, sportsmanship and self-awareness.