What’s something all sports business owners have in common, regardless of sport or business type?
They want what’s best for their athletes.
And, oftentimes, it takes a lot of work, research, and commitment to uncover the most effective way to help their athletes succeed.
For Ruggiero Hitting Academy, the answer was group training.
When owner Anthony Ruggiero was noticing a difference between the way his athletes performed in practice versus in games, he set out to find a way to close this gap. Based on his research of competitive muscle memory, he found the answer.
By creating more “game-like” experiences in practice, Anthony’s athletes were able to emulate higher-stress environments that resulted in better on-field performance.
Here’s how small group sessions have been a win-win for both athletes and business growth.
The challenge: athletes performing differently in practice and games
When Anthony first started out, he was exclusively offering private training. Athletes from all over the Cleveland area were coming to Anthony to improve their hitting skills, whether it be learning the fundamentals, or working through a specific problem. As his business grew, he was able to bring on an additional coach, Dave Gallagher.
But, as Anthony and Dave continued to train athletes privately, they noticed that in many cases, the athletes they watched in games were completely different from the athletes they saw in their lessons. This observation prompted Anthony and Dave to determine why. In their research, they leveraged their own experiences as players as well as reading and studying more about muscle memory.
“Our big discovery was that we found that when players are under stress, they have a whole different muscle memory system that gets tapped into.”
By combining this parent and athlete feedback with research, Anthony was able to identify a few ways to adjust his programming to bridge the gap between training and competition.
The solution: shifting towards group training
Anthony still firmly believes that there is a time and a place for individual training, especially early on in an athlete’s development. However, he has noticed that at some point, individual instruction can only take an athlete so far when it comes to improving in a game.
So, Anthony and Dave began introducing group training sessions of 2-6 athletes. They significantly shifted their business model to prioritize group training over solely offering individual instruction.
Thanks to Upper Hand, he has been able to easily make adjustments to his training programs within the platform without skipping a beat.
The result: growing athletes and revenue
While the answer – group training – seems simple, the execution is much more complex. Anthony believes that offering group lessons is something that would not be possible without Upper Hand.
“Upper Hand has helped a lot with implementing group training because of the scheduling. I mean, if I had to do the groups on my own, it would be a nightmare. I would have to call 8 different parents to try to schedule one hour. I probably wouldn’t even do it. So Upper Hand has been a big piece of that puzzle.”
In addition to this improving his athlete’s in-game performance, the shift towards group training has greatly increased revenue for Ruggiero Hitting, who is now able to make up to 1.8x the amount of revenue per session compared to his individual training.
1 athlete per hour @ $60 = $60 in revenue for a 1 hour session
3 athletes/ hour @ $45 per athletes = $135 in revenue in a 1 hour session
That’s 1.25x more revenue generated in a 1 hour session. So, while the price per athlete decreases when you transition from individual sessions to group sessions, the overall revenue generated from a group session is higher than an individual session. Plus, you’re getting to expand your impact by growing your clientele.
What can I do?
How are your athletes transferring their practice skills into in-competition improvements? There is a time and place for both individual and group training sessions. So, you may consider a balance of both sports lesson types. We’ve put together a free sports lessons revenue calculator that you can use to visualize the impact of your different sports lesson types. Download it now to see how group lessons can help you grow your revenue and accelerate your athletes’ development.