Pro Gym Retention Idea: Assign Athletes to a Coach

5 min read


Switching to Zen Planner

Affiliate Gym Retention Ideas

Athlete acquisition and retention. Both of which are vital for running a successful box, but all too often, they’re viewed as completely different strategies. Consider these surprising stats from survey company, Customer Thermometer:

  • 68% of customers leave a business because they perceive the business is indifferent to them
  • Businesses that prioritize customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors
  • Commitment to customer experience results in up to 25% more customer retention and revenue than sales or marketing initiatives

Making new athletes feel welcome is key in getting them to continue showing up for class. However, it’s common for these new athletes to get far more attention from coaches than those who have been a member for several years. How can you implement a process that makes people feel welcome when they first start and continue to feel that way as years pass?

Assign a coach from day one

As soon as someone becomes a member, assign them to one of your coaches. This coach will act as their mentor and show them the ropes by:

  • Educating them on the services your box provides
  • Understanding their motivation for joining
  • Creating a baseline WOD for them to participate in
  • Developing SMART goals for their first two months

For additional retention tips, get your copy of our Athlete Retention Guide!

To make this process simple, you can assign a coach to a specific member in Zen Planner by completing the following actions.

  1. Access the profile for the specific member
  2.  Click Profile Details
  3.  Access the Member tab
  4. Choose a Primary Instructor from the drop-down
  5. Save Changes

Assign coaches to athletes

Frequent communication in the beginning

80% of members who joined a gym in 2012 quit within five months, and of those who struck around, only half continued to go on a regular basis. Don’t let this happen at your box. Ensure your coaches are checking in with their assigned athletes on a frequent basis. As they’re going through your Elements or Beginner’s program, ensure coaches:

  • Check-in after classes that cover difficult movements like snatches
  • Educate them on personal training packages for extra instruction on these movements
  • Make sure coaches check-in on a weekly basis throughout the entire program

Get new members acquainted with the basics.

Once they’ve completed the Elements program and begin attending regular classes, these check-ins can become less frequent, and should mainly focus on the progress they’re making. These meetings should happen on a bi-monthly basis for the first four months to ensure athletes are making progress towards meeting the original goals set for them.

Zen Planner can help with this as well by allowing you to set up automated tasks for your coaches. Reach out to our Customer Advocate team by emailing so we can assist with setting this up specific to your needs.

Have coaches continue to set new goals

The first three to six months of starting at an affiliate gym is an exciting time. Athletes start seeing muscle definition that they never had before, losing weight and successfully performing movements they never before dreamed they could do.

As these athletes start meeting goals the coaches set for them, make sure your coaches continue to create new goals for them. As they start consistently hitting goals, check-in’s can become less frequent, like every two to three months.

Have your members set goals and help them achieve them.

Continue to check-in, even with experienced athletes

Just because your experienced athletes are able to do most of the movements and they’re able to do them well doesn’t mean they don’t need personalized attention from coaches.

Ensure your coaches continue to check-in with them as the months and years pass. Whether that be:

  • A quick email, social media shout-out, text message or phone call when they notice they’ve hit a PR
  • Giving them branded swag on their anniversary or when they’ve attended a certain number of classes (100, 200, 300, etc.)
  • Short touch base meetings every three to six months to make sure they’re still making progress and are enjoying the programming
  • Invites to grab coffee or beers with other members of your community

Assigning every new athlete to a coach is a great way to help them feel welcomed from the start and in the long run. Do you have additional tactics that you use to keep your coaches engaged with your athletes? Share your tips below!

For additional ways to keep your athletes coming back, get your free copy of our guide, 7 Essential Strategies for Athlete Retention.

Box Member Retention Warning Signs

About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.