The benefits of a martial arts youth program, are abundant. With martial arts, kids learn self-discipline, goal setting, respect, conflict resolution, listening skills and how to be healthy and active. Plus, once a child signs up for martial arts, it’s only a matter of time before the other children in their family do so as well. So, when you sign up a school-aged student in martial arts, you’ll likely have a family of students for life.

To get kids into your martial arts school, you need a strong youth program, and this post outlines three critical steps for starting one at your school.

Step 1: Plan Your Curriculum

While the basic curriculum for a martial arts youth program and adult program are usually the same, the ways you share and instruct the curriculum are very different. Your youth program should actively cater to the way kids learn and ideally be taught by someone with youth instructional experience. For kids, adapt your curriculum so it’s enjoyable with breaks, games and intermittent rewards. You can even consider an after-school homework program to help parents out. However you choose to plan your youth curriculum, make sure it’s both fun and true to your discipline!

Step 2: Launch the Program with the Right Marketing and Promotions

To get the youth program off of the ground, you will need digital marketing, special promotions and referral incentives. The foundation of a solid digital marketing strategy is a modern, lead-driving website. If you already have that, the next step will be to create a digital marketing strategy that targets parents. Parents are the decision-makers and buyers for youth martial arts programs. Special promotions are always a good idea no matter what age group you are targeting. While discounts may lessen your brand’s perceived value, free introductory sessions are a great low-barrier way to get youth program candidates into your school.

Finally, you’ll also want to get your team excited about the new program. A large part of its success will rest on their buy-in, so take the time to include them in the process. Once your staff is enthusiastic about the program, encourage them to announce it before all their classes and enroll new students!

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Step 3: Integrate Feedback to Refine Your Program

With any new program, it will only get better with feedback. So, solicit feedback whenever possible to find ways to improve your program continually. For example, by asking for feedback, you might hear that parents love your program but find that it’s too hard for them to get their child there on time. If that’s the case, you may consider tweaking the start time to better fit the majority’s schedules. However, if you don’t ask for feedback, you won’t have the information you need to refine your program.

Creating Lifelong Impact

Youth programs enable martial arts instructors to create lifelong impact. And, when you think about the business value of a single student, you think about things like their ability to refer other students, the average dollar amount they will spend on equipment and how long they will be a student at your school. When considering these factors, it’s easy to see that school-age students are the most valuable students you can have. For this reason, if you don’t already have a youth program at your school, you should consider one soon.


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