Well, energy manipulation is a good beginners practice, but even before that, I would suggest meditation. Just becoming aware and feeling you energy will help you control it.
As far at the crystals go, there are a lot of good resources around the web and on this site. Check them out, read up about them. I find that when learning something, it helps me a lot to write it down (thus, why I write in my multiple Books of Shadows). So, write down crystals that you are interested in, write down their properties, uses, and correspondances. But before you do that, figure out why crystals work.
Anyways, I hope you find what you are looking for! Have a nice stay~