In my last post, I talked about how important your sports facility staff is to your marketing efforts. As you know, good instructors are also essential to ensuring that your clients have a pleasant experience at your sports facility and continue coming back — your staff and instructors can make or break your business.
Your instructor selection is even more important when you offer instruction for kids. At my own sports facility, DNA Sports Center, we work with a lot of kids, teaching them how to improve their speed and agility through our Parisi Speed School. So, when I hire instructors, I make sure that they know how to behave appropriately, and how to communicate with children so that the kids can truly learn and improve. As many of you already know, working with kids requires satisfaction on two fronts; the child’s, and the parent’s. The student has to have a great time, and the parent has to notice their child’s improvement.
Many sports facility owners make the mistake of hiring instructors based on what they are able to do themselves or have done in their athletic career, instead of how well they are able to teach. Ideally, your instructors would have both qualities, but the latter is the most important. Follow the guidelines below to ensure that the staff members you hire will reflect well on you and your sports facility.
Use all the resources at your disposal to advertise that you are hiring. All the methods you use to typically advertise your products and services should be used to advertise your job openings: e-mail marketing, search-engine-optimized pages on your web site and posts on your social media pages (remember, we offer a Marketing Toolbox to help with all of those things if you need it). Your current staff and clients also will feel involved in the process if you ask them if they know any good candidates. In this economy, in particular, people appreciate knowing when jobs are available. Give your listings as much publicity as possible to increase your candidate pool. In your listings, make sure to emphasize that the applicant have experience with and enjoy working with children.
Ditch the traditional interview process. Sure, you can sit down and chat with your job candidates, but don’t just take their word on their teaching abilities. Schedule the potential hires to actually participate in instruction. At DNA, I schedule potential instructors for two of our speed and agility classes like the ones they would teach if they were hired. During the first class, they can just observe. During the second class, they participate in the instruction along with a current instructor.
Watch for actual technique instruction. The instructor should appropriately show the class proper body technique, both by demonstrating it him or herself and by placing the child in the correct position. Watch how the kids react to him or her and his or her instructions.
Be selective. Did the applicant yell too much? Did anything seem inappropriate about the way they talked to the kids? Did they not participate much, or at all? Wait for a better instructor. The time you put into finding the right candidates will be well worth the investment. Consider leaving relevant job postings on your web site up throughout the year. Quality instructors are difficult to find, and, especially if you have a bigger facility, you can likely find a spot for an excellent instructor.