Things to Think About Before Offering a New Sports Program

youth athlete burnout

There’s a lot that goes into successfully launching something new. A new company. New products. A new offering.

Deciding to offer a new program for your sports training academy is no exception.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow your business without expanding your physical footprint, a new program or offering may be a good option for you. As you expand or hone in on your target demographic, bring in additional staff, or get new equipment or technology at your sports facility, it may be the right time to consider adding additional programming to your schedule.

But, before you just throw a program together and put it out there, it’s important that you spend some time in preparation in order to set yourself and your program up for long term success.

Whether it be a new membership program, a sports camp offering, or a new training technique, here are 8 things to consider when thinking about offering a new program for your business.

1. What’s the market look like?

Before investing time and energy into implementing a new program, it’s important to do a little research. This enables you to better understand the demand for a new program, as well as help you tailor your program and marketing efforts to fit the needs of your target clientele.

A good first step is to dig into your customer base and your target audience. Who are you planning to target with this new program? What are their preferences and behaviors?

For example, if you are looking to create a membership program for your athletes, think about their current behavior. Let’s say that your most successful athletes tend to train with your business once a week. Then, perhaps a membership that offers 4 credits to be used towards lessons would be a good fit.

If you don’t already have a concrete idea in mind, but you’re looking to give your business a boost without building a new facility or increasing your space, market research can also help guide you towards your next opportunity.

Let’s say you historically worked with a lot of high school athletes. By taking a look at your client database, you may find that many of your clients are now in college. So, you may consider offering a college-focused camp or training program in the summers or on a school break schedule to give these athletes a place to train when they return home from school.

In addition to using your current customer and business data to inform your decisions, market research can (and should) also contain some competitor and market analyses that help to identify gaps or opportunities as it relates to the sports training market as a whole. Investigate the programs of your competitors. What programs are they offering? What does their pricing structure look like? This research will help you position your new program more strategically but also identify opportunities to differentiate and innovate.

2. Do you have adequate staff and resources?

Before launching a new sports program or offering for your sports business, you must also take a look at the necessary resources to be successful. This includes auditing the availability of your spaces, equipment, and staff members. It’s important to ensure you not only have adequate space for these programs, but also have the personnel needed to run the programs.

Do you need to make new hires? Do you have the time carved out in your schedule? Is your court or field available?

Budgeting your time and resources doesn’t always mean needing to spend more money or expand your physical footprint. This could mean reallocating your resources or making adjustments to your availability. The goal of evaluating your assets is to ensure that your program is equipped to offer a high quality experience that is positioned for sustainability and growth.

At the end of the day, a strong program or agenda can only lead to so much success. The success of your programs also relies heavily on the people who lead it.

Once you’ve brought the right people through your door, it’s also important that you have provided adequate training. This will help you ensure consistency in delivery and quality of your new program in tandem with your other ones. Not to mention, investing in your staff’s development not only enhances this program, but it also helps increase employee engagement and retention – a win win!

3. What are your sports program goals and objectives?

Next, it’s important that you clearly define the goals and objects for this new sports program. Do they align with your mission? Do they support your vision?

Setting clear goals and objectives is a foundational component of any new program or offering. Your goals should articulate what you are looking to achieve – whether that be improving athlete performance, developing specific skills, fostering teamwork, or participation in a specific sport.

Contrarily, your objectives should be more specific, measurable, achievable aspects that provide a roadmap for achieving your goals. In addition to helping you establish your curriculum, your objectives should also help you evaluate the success of this new program.

By aligning your new programs with your business mission and vision, you’re able to reinforce your commitment to elevating the athletes you serve. And, it helps to strengthen your business’s identity through creating internal cohesion and staff engagement.

4. Are you adhering to legal and safety standards?

Compliance with legal and safety standards isn’t the most exciting consideration, but it is a non-negotiable one. This starts with an understanding of any local regulations or licensing requirements. While it’s likely that you’ve already got an athlete waiver, certified coaches, and compliant facility or space you rent, this is a good opportunity to audit your current processes.

Additionally, if you are looking to expand your business’s recurring revenue through a membership program, you’ll want to ensure that you have a membership agreement in place to set expectations and clearly communicate with members. A membership agreement is different from a standard athlete waiver, as it outlines specific stipulations as it relates to the membership benefits, conduct, and expectations. This is just one example of some additional documentation that may be required as a result of offering a new program at your business.

From a safety perspective, it is critical that you have properly prepared and have a plan in place. Again, having an athlete waiver is likely something you already collect for your other programs, but is a necessary document to implement. Should an incident or injury unexpectedly occur, it’s also important that you have a response plan in place to properly handle the situation and protect all parties involved.

Again, no one likes to think that bad things will happen, but there is inherent risk involved with participating in athletics. Preparedness is key in not only minimizing risk, but also reflecting your commitment to professionalism and care. And, it helps you build trust amongst your participants and families as well peace of mind for all stakeholders – leading to a successful sports program.

5. How will you market this new sports program?

If you want your sports program to be successful, you need athletes in it! Contrary to the famous line in Field of Dreams, just because you build it doesn’t mean that they will come. An effective marketing strategy is vital to generate awareness and attract athletes to your new program. These marketing efforts should communicate the value of the program, as well as highlight your business.

Utilize a mix of channels to reach your target audience. Share the registration link or an event flyer on your social media networks to engage with potential participants and their families. Or, send a targeted marketing email to your contact database to share more detailed information about the schedules, registration, and structure. (Pro tip: with Upper Hand, you can send marketing emails to all or a subset of your contacts from the app!). And, depending on the goals for this new program, you may also consider engaging with your local community, schools, or other businesses to boost visibility and attract more interest.

6. Did you set up your new program registration?

Another thing to consider when offering a new program is your client experience – particularly as it relates to registration. Efficient registration and communication processes are fundamental to a positive athlete experience. And, they make your life easier too. An easy-to-use sports registration software like Upper Hand helps minimize barriers to entry and facilitates a positive first impression with your brand.

Using a sports management software also helps you efficiently capture all necessary information and securely manage payments. Additionally, it can help you communicate with your event rosters, sharing updates about program details, schedules, changes, and other relevant information. This fosters a sense of community and belonging among participants, as they feel informed and valued, consequently enhancing their experience.

7. How will you collect feedback to continually improve?

It might seem like we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves when it comes to a plan for post-event feedback. But, this is another element that you should consider, even before the sports program takes place. Do you have a plan to collect feedback from participants and parents? Collecting candid feedback at various stages of an event can help you further refine your programming to make it the most effective for the group you’re targeting.

You can collect feedback in a variety of ways. Send marketing surveys out to attendees after the event. Put a suggestion box in your facility. Sit down for regular feedback sessions with participants and parents. In addition to identifying strengths and areas for improvement of your program, you are also demonstrating your commitment to excellence and investment in the athletes you serve. A systematic approach to collecting and analyzing feedback ensures that changes are data-driven and aligned with the wants and needs of your athletes.

8. How much revenue will this new sports program generate, and how much will it cost?

Lastly, it’s important to consider the financial implications of offering a new sports training program for your business. Ensuring the financial viability of your new sports program is crucial for sustainability and long term growth and success. Conduct a financial analysis to determine the cost of running the program – including the staff and resource needs, equipment, and any paid marketing initiatives. And, project the expected revenue based on participant enrollment fees or other sources of income. The goal is to ensure that this new program is not only self-sustaining, but also contributes positively to the financial goals of your business as a whole.

While we can’t give you a precise, one-size-fits-all recommendation for how you price your new sports program, your pricing strategy should reflect the value of the services offered while also remaining competitive and accessible to your target market.

With a sports software like Upper Hand, you can consider offering various pricing models, such as tiered pricing options, flexible payment plans, early-bird discounts, or allowing for specific payment methods. Ultimately, whether you choose to invest in a sports software or not, your financial strategy should support the long-term objectives of this new program, as well as support the overall mission of your business.

Putting it all together

When it comes to successfully launching a new sports program, preparation and strategic planning are key to navigating the complexities and maximizing the opportunities that come with growth. Choosing to offer a new program is about more than just having a good idea. It’s about understanding your market and your clientele, and building a program that fits their needs as well as your long term business goals. Your commitment to these foundational elements will not only set the stage for a successful new program launch, but also enhance the reputation of your sports training academy.

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