About

Hi, I’m Marina Kuperman Villatoro, a mama on a mission to help my sons reach their goals and dreams in becoming ‘PRO’ athletes in the sport of rock climbing.

Along with my extreme-athlete husband, we are raising two rock climbers, Keanu Villatoro Kuperman – 13 years old and Brandon Villatoro Kuperman – 19 years old, with ambitions to compete, become champions and eventually “go pro.”  We got into this journey only having the faintest idea of the level of commitment it would take on our part.   We soon realized that the funding, compromise and decision making this endeavor requires falls as much – if not more – on our shoulders as theirs.

“The more we did, the less we knew” 

At the beginning it felt like the more we did the less we knew. So, like most of us today, I turned to the internet to figure things out …

Immersed in this search, we discovered that there’s plenty of ‘expert advice’ out there,  if your kid wants to play football, soccer, hockey, or baseball.  But very little counsel available for parents of rock climbers (and extreme athletes in general). 

Let’s face it, extreme sports are not the same as these types of team conventional sports.  They have been refined over decades through school sports programs, college level athletics, traveling teams and so much more.

Participating in extreme sports is a whole different way of life. It requires a whole different mindset, not to mention financial commitment, than traditional team sports.  The safety issues and medical concerns alone will and do keep a parent up at night. These topics and many more will be addressed in the first few episodes. 

The most important thing I can tell you from my experience is that as a parent you have so much control. You can squash your kid’s dream or make it real in a split second.  The conversations you have with your kids can literally make or break their direction.  

The team you and your kids form at home will be the running theme of the podcast.

In researching successful, professional extreme athletes I always ask myself:

  • What did their families do differently?
  • What conversations did they have at home with their families?
  • What did the parents do that was helpful in supporting their kids so they didn’t quit?
  • How did they make the hard decisions that sometimes have to be made in extreme sports?

Now, in the podcast Raising PRO Athletes:  UNCENSORED, I get to the heart of it all, sharing my own experience and connecting with some of the behind-the-scenes heroes:  the coaches, the trainers, the nutritionists, the therapists, and most importantly, you, the parents.

About Raising PRO Athletes Podcast

As a parent of not one but two sons with ambitions to “go pro” as athletes (Rock Climbers), your host Marina Kuperman Villatoro began navigating the often rocky terrain of extreme sports a decade ago.  She learned quickly that while climbers compete as individuals, raising an athlete is most definitely a team sport.

In this one-of-a-kind podcast Marina pulls back the curtain and dives deep into chats with the (mostly) unsung heroes of extreme sports:  the parents, the coaches, the trainers, the nutritionists and the therapists.  These insightful conversations reveal the realities of what it takes to support a child to reach their potential as an extreme athlete. 

For the first time ever, this podcast provides Uncensored Advice for you – the parents – the biggest unsung heroes behind the athletes!

About Raising PRO Athletes Podcast

As a parent of not one but two sons with ambitions to “go pro” as athletes (Rock Climbers), your host Marina Kuperman Villatoro began navigating the often rocky terrain of extreme sports a decade ago.  She learned quickly that while climbers compete as individuals, raising an athlete is most definitely a team sport.

In this one-of-a-kind podcast Marina pulls back the curtain and dives deep into chats with the (mostly) unsung heroes of extreme sports:  the parents, the coaches, the trainers, the nutritionists and the therapists.  These insightful conversations reveal the realities of what it takes to support a child to reach their potential as an extreme athlete. 

For the first time ever, this podcast provides Uncensored Advice for you – the parents – the biggest unsung heroes behind the athletes!

What to expect when you listen to the Podcast

  • The real, raw truth
  • Laughter, and maybe some tears
  • The struggles and the successes
  • Resources and ideas

In  this podcast, you will find the support you’ve been searching for to RAISE PRO ATHLETES with confidence.

The Story Behind Why I Started this Podcast

My kids have been climbing for over a decade. My husband was an avid climber and a competitive Mountain Biker. He was on his way to ‘PRO’ level when during a competition he had a massive accident, breaking both arms, suffering a concussion and sustaining several other not-so-fun injuries.  

The importance of a parent being part of the sport to help the kids along is one of the first topics I will cover in the podcast. 

One day, on a trip to the rock, my oldest boy had an accident. He fell more than 25 feet because a knot was overlooked.  He was in the hospital for 3 days. 

This rocked our world. Especially my husband’s because he was the one belaying him. My son was diagnosed with a skull fracture, but luckily it turned out to be nothing more than a concussion. It was terrifying, but it taught us the importance of safety knots, helmets and other safety precautions.  So I have a lot to cover about safety in future episodes.

A pro and a con about living in Guatemala was that the climbing community is small. On one side that made it incredibly supportive. But it also meant it could not take us so far, as my team-family wanted to grow and compete internationally. So, we started traveling to the US to work with pro coaches. Both of my sons joined a team and started competing in the States before the world shut down for COVID. 

Right as COVID cleared, my husband started to hit the rock once again. Sometimes with the kids, but mainly alone since schools had started up again. 

Not only a podcast, but a community

One day while he was solo climbing and belaying, he had another harrowing accident. This time we didn’t get off easy with just a few broken bones;  he sustained an injury that was forever life changing. 

I was already keen to connect with other parents (and spouses) of extreme athletes, but after my husband’s accident I became desperate to find and talk with others who have overcome the injuries and tribulations that are so unnervingly common in this lifestyle. 

To my absolute surprise I found out there isn’t a single group or support community out there.  I needed to start this podcast because out of the 850,000 podcasts out there, the one I needed wasn’t there. 

This podcast isn’t only about sharing the how-to’s of Raising PRO Athletes.  It also aims to create a support group – a team – for us to be there for one another on every level.  

I hope you get as much out of listening to this podcast as I did preparing it for you.