MA Business Success 44: How to Create Interesting Martial Arts Classes and Keep Kids Engaged

Watch the video below Listen to the podcast below Graham: Now today, Phil, what we're going to do is, I've had a couple of people asking these questions. And again, from my personal experience recently going around to our schools and identify, how do you run dynamic classes specifically for kids? Now we run a multitude of different levels, but this is more around kids and keeping that retention, that enthusiasm, in their classes. So first and foremost, what I've identified is following a plan, and what I mean by plan is your class plans. There are plenty of great instructors that can do classes on the fly, but if you're looking to scale your business, or again even step out of classes, class plans are vitally important. So Phil, just give me a bit of an insight into how we operate with class plans. What are some of the things that are in there? Phil: Look, for those guys who have class plans, well done. For those who don't, it's something that you've got to get into and just do. We say it quite often and our analogy is like the recipe for baking a cake, and following a lesson plan is like following that recipe. You know that it's going to get you a certain level of results or success in your class. And the better the instructor, then you can elaborate on either side or insert it in drill or skills. But as Graham said, if you're going to scale your school, we're going to make sure, sort of like what we have. We've come into a point where we're not in classes very much, and you look at your attention and cancellations and you go, "Hmm, I wonder what's going on." So you go back and check out what the guys are doing, and if they're following a lesson plans, then there's no argument. But if they're not, well, then we need to have a good hard look at the staff performance on following those lesson plans because we know there are certain recipes for success. Graham: Oh, yeah. Having a great class plan is one thing. Now, you've got your skills and drills and what-not in there, but how do we get around delivering that? I use the phrase, and we use this in our instructive programs, is enthusiasm is caught, not taught. So jeez, how do you teach somebody? How do you share those tools on how to become more enthusiastic? And you'll notice that the way myself and Phil talk to you guys now, it is lively. It's punchy. The way that you deliver vocally has to not just be that monotone falling asleep. You do need to be engaging and have that pitch that's in there, that enthusiasm with your voice, so again, highlighting in those areas, which is key. Phil: I'll give you a quick little hint and tool for the instructors out there that may have instructors that struggle with their tonality. Because as Graham said, it's so important. It's caught, not taught. So as a lead instructor, you need to have your voice fluctuation, fluctuating high, low. You need to be quite and reserved when you're delivering the message. You need to be loud and impactful when the drills are on. So it is really this way of teaching you how to fluctuate your voice and get the desired outcome, as Graham said. So as a tool, a teaching tool, what I'd suggest you do, it's quite fun, is count from one to however many you want and get your students or your instructors to follow your hand with voice fluctuation and noise. So for example, if I was to go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Look, there are just fun ways in class or in your instructive training to get your guys really just changing their tonality and voice fluctuation. Which if you can take that element of fun and teaching into your classes, you're going to find you're going to have much more impactful lessons. Graham: Look, I couldn't agree more, mate. And I guess, there's that enthusiasm, too. But how do we make sure that there are students that are in that class are continually engaged and also, too, making sure that we are praising the right students? So I know a technique that we use, and we teach this in our instructive courses, highlighting and spotlighting. And for those listening or even watching, you're probably wondering, what is that? So a spotlight is very much what it sounds like. Imagine there is just a spotlight on one student or a pair. So if you're looking to have the energy in the class lift, rather than point out or reprimand the kids that are doing the behavior or those negative behaviors, highlight the kids and, again, that spotlight on for those kids who are really standing out, who lead by example. So I know that for us, in particular, if Phil was a student in the class and he was sitting up really straight, or again, if he was just doing a drill that [inaudible 0:04:50], I would stop the guys, "Guys, stop. Hey, look at Phil do this drill. Phil, quick, go." And he would demonstrate 5 seconds, 10 seconds of that drill. "Right, who thinks they can do it just like this? Alright back at it. Go." And you'll find that, by spotlighting that behavior, wow, it certainly does increase the energy in a class, makes it dynamic, without the instructor having to run a million miles an hour doing that, as well, too. Phil, what's highlighting? I know I just touched on spotlight. What's highlight? Phil: So the two areas, a spotlight is exactly what Graham said. It's putting a spotlight on one particular student, who's doing a technique at the desired level of ability and enthusiasm, so that people can model that behavior. A highlight is more highlighting an area. So maybe, for example, you could highlight one half of the class. "Look at all these advanced belts, or these blue belts in this orange and blue belt class." "Blue belts, let's highlight this whole area and see how they're performing." "Orange belts, I really want you guys to try and pretend you're a blue belt, and if not, be better than these guys. Watch these guys do this, one, two, three," and then get the guys up. Then get them to try and perform at a high level or at least equal level performance. So highlighting is more of an area. Spotlight is more a specific person. Graham: Look, I know that there's probably a ton of our listeners going, "Well, we do that." Well, sometimes you may think that you do that, much love. We have some great instructors who go, "Yeah, we know that. We do that." But when they look back in themselves in the mirror, or again review the classes, they have may missed a few of these key components. And they really are important aspects to make sure that, as you said, Phil, that recipe for a dynamic class. These things can't be missed out on. They seem simple, but sometimes the simple things are neglected and therefore the class is flat. I think you've got also, too, a key factor, and I know that most of the listeners will understand this. You've got to have fun with the kids. So how do you have fun, but also balance out that technique and making sure that we're still getting the desired good results? So how do we do that in our classes, Phil? Phil: At the end of the day, we want to teach martial arts, don't we? We want to teach martial arts. We want to teach skills. We've got requirements we've got to tick over, but we can pattern in throughout those things with games. And not just games for the sake of games, but martial arts-related games or games and activities that relate to the skill or technique. And it's almost hiding it, and the kids are having so much fun in class. And in the back of your mind, you'll know that you're getting all these techniques that you need for tip testing for them to meet the requirement of that particular level. They're meeting that standard, while having fun as well. So definitely with pattern interrupts or inserting fun into drills, and you can do that in a variety of way in classes. Look, there's plenty of things, where you can just mix things up and go, "Well, this particular skill of doing boxing combination number two..." In our style, we have the left-right punches number two. So maybe you would want to sharpen that up, get it done nice and fast. So we might have one person with a kick shoe and the other one with a foam noodle, fanning it up and down, and the other person's got to go in nice and quick. Look, if you're listening, you probably aren't getting a good picture, but if you're watching this podcast, you might get a bit of an action of it, yeah. Just to remind people, this isn't just an audio. We have video on our podcasts as well. So yeah, just a little ways, the techniques is combo two. We want to sharpen that up. So what activity or fun game can we do to have the kids enjoying that, but also get the desired outcome of the technique? Graham: So we really have covered quite a few things to have an awesome class. And I know that, for plenty of people that are listening again, they're probably ticking all the boxes. There's a couple of people that may go, "Oh, jeez, I neglected that." So again, we've got a big one, following a class plan. We've got some podcasts we discuss on how to create them, if you don't already have them. And if you do, make sure that your team is continually following them, and review to make sure the content is current and exciting. Enthusiasm caught, not taught. That was an easy one that we mentioned, but how do we teach that? Again, a solid instructor program is probably the starting point. There are some people naturally gifted in that level of energy required, but if you want to scale your business or you want to grow as a dynamic team, it's important to have a structured program to develop that. The same comes to down to the highlighting and the spotlighting techniques. They are taught in an instructor program, and hopefully you guys do have one in place in your school. If you don't, I would highly recommend you look into implement something like that, just so you can continue to grow and continue to make sure that those classes are, final thing, fun and enjoyable. So was there anything else, Phil, to run a dynamic kids class? Again, this is just on kids. What are some of the key factors, or have we ticked them all? Phil: Look, I definitely think we could add in a little bit of friendly competition in classes. Not in every class, but definitely friendly competition, where maybe you have a line drills and each line is competing against the other. I mean, what kid doesn't want to win a race, a running race, or some sort of competition? Everyone loves winning. And it's up to the head instructor to make sure that one team's not dominating all the time and that we're outlining that it's okay to come second, third, fourth, or whatever. So you can do line drill competitions. You can do circle drill competitions. You can do half the room one side, half of the room on the other, facing each other. So there's all different ways that we can have competitions in class as well. But I think at the end of the day, you've also got to remember that the parents are the ones that are paying for the child to come, if we're talking about children classes. And yes, we want to make dynamic classes so the children are having fun. But we want to make sure that we reiterate the life lessons and character development skills, so it doesn't just look like fun. And we quite often do this, where we might have the mat chat or the message of the month. Or if we're playing the game that everyone plays at martial arts, the Monster Dodge, or Dodgeball, that we're coming over towards where the parents are and explain the reasons behind this drill to the parents. Again, it's just getting that congruency of why we're doing it, sharing that message with the parents, so they can go, "Ah, I understand, and that's why I'm paying this amount of money to be a member at your school." Graham: Great. Well, Phil, I know that we always have a great little offer for our listeners. [00:11:06] there's some of you guys who are listening, we're talking about where to find some of this information. You may already have it, but in the team modules, and that is by their silver our gold modules, we have all these stuff done for you. So it's a really easy way to plug in and play. So again team, our goal here at TIMA is to give great content, but if you're looking to supercharge yourself and get to those goals a whole lot quicker, we're here to assist and help you guys as much as we possibly can. What do we got for our listeners, mate, in regards to getting them on board? Phil: Yeah, look, just reiterating what Graham said, I think what we're trying to do is give you the what, but our online training and our couching is the how. We can't just spend hours and hours giving you the how, because it might not make sense to you, but online is all the how. And that offer there is $99 a month, and you get access to a silver level and gold level, and it's got all that nitty gritty stuff, all the how stuff, on how to build, grow, and monetize your martial arts business. Graham: Awesome. Phil: The other tip that I probably would do, if you're one of those people who are listening or watching going, "Yeah, we're doing that. Yeah, I'm doing that. Yeah, my instructors are fine," is get out the video camera and record yourself. Record your instructors. We do this regularly, because you don't know what you don't know unless you're watching it on camera [inaudible 0:12:24], caught on camera. We've all seen those shows. They don't think they're doing anything wrong until they're caught on camera and see it. So do it to yourself. Check you out first. Get yourself recording. You'll know it's being recorded, so you'll be on you're A game. But at any stage, you can try and record and then come back later and view yourself teaching, or your instructors teaching. It's going to be a very powerful teaching tool. Then go, "Oh, look, you're saying all those um's and uh's too much, or you're hovering around this area of the floor, or you're only being at the front, or you're not doing this, you're not doing that." So I think that's been a really good tip for us as well. Graham: Always. Look, I think we've summarized it there, mate. You talked about the how's and we'll dig into that sort of stuff on a little bit later or again engage with us. At least, it's the checkpoint for you to tick off what areas that you're doing well, review constantly. But again also to the team, if you need any assistance, don't forget you can email us at [email protected]. Always happy to help and answer as much as we can. But until next time, guys. Phil: Don't forget to follow us on social media, Facebook, and all that sort of stuff. And we can't wait to get back and give you guys some more content. Don't forget our tagline, guys, because it's important to why we created this. It's to believe in yourself, begin the journey, and become the business and the person of your dreams. We'll see you next time, gang. Ciao!

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