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Archive for October, 2011

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow Sports Mom, Tricia, who was kind enough to share her daughter’s perspective on her first season of middle school cross country with us.

When my husband and I had kids, we had a pretty good idea that they wouldn’t be very “athletic.” We’re kind of a nerdy couple who do not play any sports ourselves and tend to focus on activities like computers and theater. Yet over the last several years I knew that we needed to create some healthier habits in our house, so I took up running. After running two half marathons myself, I convinced my husband to join me for my third. Before too long, my older daughter Jillian (who is 10), decided that it looked interesting to her as well and started running a couple of miles at a time.

At intermediate school orientation I saw a sign for cross country. I asked Jillian if she might be interested and she decided to give it a try. It only lasted about 7 weeks, but it was a great experience for her both from a physical standpoint of getting exercise and the mental standpoint of achievement. I asked her the other day to answer a few questions about her experience and here is what she had to say:

Tricia:  Did you ever think that you would be competing in a sporting event?
Jillian: No, actually, I didn’t. I never thought about it much. I’m usually into stuff like composing music, and choreographing dances. I’ve never played soccer or basketball or anything like some of my friends. The closest that I ever got was taking gymnastics when I was little.

Tricia: What is your favorite thing about being a runner?
Jillian: Finishing. When you’re a runner, the best feeling is the feeling to finish a race and to say in your head, “I did it.”

Tricia: What were you thinking as you were running through the course during your first meet?
Jillian: At the start of the race I was just trying to listen to the rules. Then as I was running I started thinking, “Oh my gosh. How am I going to finish this?” But I just kept telling myself to keep going, and to finish strong.

What would you tell other girls thinking about starting cross country?
I would tell them to try it once. If they like it, continue. If they don’t, stop.

Tricia: What are your future plans for running?
Jillian: I am probably going to continue to race. And to compete in longer distances than a mile. Like the 5k Race for the Cure.

My sincere hope is that I am instilling a lifelong love of running in Jillian because I have found it to be one of the only activities that I have no excuse not to keep up with. I can run on vacation or at my in-laws’ home. I can run by myself or with friends. And now I can run with my daughter.

Tricia Meyer is the owner of Helping Moms Connect and other female-focused blog sites. She is a mom to two daughters, Jillian and Cassie, and hopes to eventually be running half marathons with both of them.

Categories : Running, Youth Sports
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Gymnastics Leotards – What Size to Buy?

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what size gymnastics leotard should I buy

One of the hardest things to figure out, especially for new gymnastics parents, is what size leotard to buy your gymnast! And the second hardest thing for new gymnastics parents to grasp is how the gymnastics leotard should fit.

If you can have your gymnast try on the leotard before you buy it, that is obviously the preferred way to go. Most leotard lines go from a Child XS (like a girls 4-6) to a Child L (roughly a 10-12) then switch to Adult XS to Adult XL. There is often very little difference between a Child L and Adult XS, but depending on how your gymnast is built, one may work better than the other. Some leotard brands carry Toddler size leotards and some brands do their sizing numerically.

If you are ordering a leotard and cannot have your gymnast try it on first, be sure you check the manufacturer’s sizing chart and measure according to their specifications.

So, how should a gymnastics leotard fit? The answer is – it depends!

For younger children who are just taking their first gymnastics classes, you may want to buy a leotard with a little growing room. If your daughter tries on a leotard and there are noticeable wrinkles in the fabric at the lower part of her back, the leotard has ample growing room! However, if it is gaping at the arm holes or around the bottom, it is way too big.

For competitive level gymnasts you want a sleeker fit – especially in their competition leotard! That means no wrinkles in the material and the leotard should feel snug. It is going to look much better on the competition floor than a leotard that has wrinkles in the sleeves or torso. Trust me on this one! When ordering a competition leotard you can get special alterations such as adding an inch in the torso length, taking away a little length in the sleeve if needed and a few other details. Chances are  your daughter’s coach will either have the leotard rep come measure the girls or have some samples to try on.

Where to buy gymnastics leotards?

Many gymnastics schools have pro-shops where your gymnast can try on a leotard before you buy one. You can also find a large selection of gymnastics leotards at just about any local gymnastics competition. You can buy leotards online at either the manufacturer’s website or do a search on Ebay and you will definitely find plenty of leotard options to pick from. A basic practice leotard will normally run anywhere from $28-60 depending on the brand. Competition leotards can be $50-200 and possibly more – especially if it is custom or has jewels on it.

My daughter has been doing gymnastics for 11 of her 13 years, so we have certainly tested our fair share of leotards over the years. Below are her favorites – we have owned more than one of each of these brands at some point in the past 11 years.

  • GK Elite – probably one of the most recognizable brands of leotards as they outfit the US National team and have a reputation for being very well made. Here is a great article they wrote on how to measure for a girls gymnastics leotard. I love the chart that tells you what size to get based on growing room or a sleek fit. (The first and third leotard in the photo above are GK)
  • Motionwear – Motionwear sells gymnastics leotards, dance wear and cheerleading uniforms. All the leotards we have had from them were super comfortable and very well made.
  • Destira – we love Destira and have had a lot of great wear from their fun leotards. They are perfect for practice and wash up nicely every time.
  • Dreamlight Activewear – known primarily on the East Coast of the US, Dreamlight makes gorgeous and very high-end leotards. A practice leotard is easily $50 but they always have fashion forward designs and they last.
  • Rebecca’s Mom -my daughter LOVES Rebecca’s Mom leotards – the wide “frame” of solid color at the neckline (in the far right leotard in the photo) is their signature look and it makes for a flattering and super comfortable leotard. Look for them at competitions or in your local pro-shop.
  • Tumblewear – is a California-based company and we have also had good results with their leotards (see the pink and white leo in the photo) – their sizing is a bit different so be sure to check the size chart.
  • Garland – one of the smaller leotard companies, Garland is known for being a little less expensive and for having great customer service.
  • Snowflake Designs – one of my favorite things about Snowflake leotards is when they have their grab-bag sales. You can get great leotards for a fraction of the price and they are guaranteed to be cute!

If you have any questions about buying leotards, where to find them, what brands are worth the money or any leotard related recommendation, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Categories : Gymnastics
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Speedo Friends and Family Sale

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Speedo does not have a great sale very often, however, when they do it is definitely worth taking advantage of and stocking up!!  For me it is perfect timing – my son’s high school swim season starts in early November so I am thinking new goggles, a new drag suit, and a few bungee straps for when he breaks the strap on his goggles (it always happens when it is the least convenient!). But, it is also just in time for doing a little early holiday shopping, too.

Friends and Family Sale! Get 30% Off Your Order 10/20-10/23 at! (exclusions apply)

Categories : Deals, Swimming
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