“My kids started twirling last year, and they love it! But they’ve outgrown our living room… Where are some good places to practice? How do you find them? They’ve been practicing outside, but they complain about the sun being in their eyes, and if it rains/snows, they can’t practice. Are there any tips to practicing outside? Please help!”
Finding a facility to practice in is challenging for most twirlers. While the living room might be suffice in the first few weeks of learning baton, your twirler will quickly outgrow the space. At this point, you might want to look into a facility in your area that would allow your twirler to train.
Local YMCA’s charge a low monthly fee and have open gym time that your twirler can use. Though it can get crowded by basketball players, many have a dance/yoga room that may be available more frequently and will be enough room until they start tossing higher than the ceiling. A benefit to this is that these dance rooms have mirrors allowing your athlete to look in the mirror and work on his/her technique.
You also can look into your elementary, middle, and high school gyms or multi-purpose rooms, but this might come with a cost. Unfortunately, many facilities in your area might already have activities going on and/or might be more than you are willing to spend… which leaves you with my favorite place to practice… outdoors!
I live in Miami and grew up training outside, in rain, shine, sleet, and snow (ok, maybe not the latter). Along with having unrestricted height to toss your baton — and the cost is FREE — it is convenient. At any point throughout the afternoon or evening, your twirler can go outside and practice his/her skills even if the parents are at work. As far as your twirler complaining about the “sun, the rain, mosquitoes, etc.,” it is only complaining as long as you allow it to be. Provide solutions with sunglasses and bug spray and explain that some of the greatest twirlers have trained outside. Except for a one hour window in the middle of the day when the sun is directly above, you have a shadow and as long as your face your shadow, the sun won’t be in his/her eyes. Is it ideal? not necessarily… but it is a great solution when you don’t have a gym!!