Coaching Kids and Teens without a Gym

Today, we’re going to talk about coaching off site: in your clients’ homes or on their sports fields.

Training Clients on Their Fields of Play

I’ve trained hundreds of athletes at Catalyst. One of our biggest strategies for getting new clients is the “one to many” strategy of training an athlete’s entire team. (Two-Brain clients: this is on the Two-Brain Roadmap—Affinity Marketing highway, Milestone 2.)

For example, when a basketball player joins the gym, immediately make contact with the coach. Tell the coach your plan for the athlete and ask if they approve. You don’t really need their approval (they probably don’t understand what you’re talking about anyway), but it’s a great way to build a bridge.

After the athlete’s first month of training, offer to run a fun “combine” for the team. Bring the team to the gym and run them through a few physical challenges. Collect parents’ email addresses on waivers and add them to your email list. Finally, approach the coach about a preseason conditioning camp.

This has worked dozens of times at Catalyst and generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. But, of course, I screwed it up the first few times.

I could tell you stories about entire teams failing to pay, about parents failing to pay and trying to collect from them after the fact, about coaches “forgetting” to include the sales tax when they dropped off a check, about staff failing to show up for the sessions—they’ve all happened. My worst memory was a parent threatening to sue when I wouldn’t refund her kid for the sessions she’d skipped!

Anyway, here’s what I learned (you can listen to an early interview on Two-Brain Radio):

First, charge by the team, not by the athlete. Calculate your hourly group rate. Double it to travel off site for the reasons mentioned above. Produce a professional quote for the coach. Have them pay in advance.

One quick story here: Our rates are higher than many in town. Our city is filled with part-time “experts” (mostly just people who like to work out) who will train their kid’s team for cheap. I’ve stopped ranting about this now and just stick to our rates. More than once, a coach has chosen Catalyst over the “free parent expert” because we looked safer and more professional.

Second, train them once or twice per week and assign individual homework. Affinity Marketing works both ways: You can go from one to many, but you can probably also keep a few of the athletes long term after the team finishes training. Assigning homework is a good way to build 1:1 relationships even if the homework is the same for everyone.

Third, make sure the coach understands your cancellation policy: They’re the only one who can cancel or postpone a session. Kids aren’t individually refunded if they don’t show up because your coach is still there and ready to go.

Other considerations:

Make sure you have the permits required to train people in public areas.

You can sell an optional equipment package to the players on the team. If you’re prescribing them “homework” each week, you can help them by offering a package of jump ropes and mats and stretch tubing. This isn’t a hard sell; it’s just an offer of convenience. As a parent, I’d rather pay you $150 than drive all over town trying to find a yoga mat and skipping rope.

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