Martial Arts Retention: Keep Your Students Long Term
There are four main problems that cause students to quit and decrease your school’s martial arts retention. These problems are easily solved.
The Problem: Injuries.
Pushing students too hard can result in student burn-out and possible injuries.
It takes an alert instructor to be sensitive to the varying physical conditions of their students and to adjust their workouts accordingly. Most injuries in the martial arts are avoidable. Proper warmups, controlled sparring, a noncompetitive atmosphere, adequate supervision, proper safety equipment, and teaching the “Do” aspect of martial arts will help insure a safe learning environment.
The Problem: Negative Feedback.
Some students take it personally when they are told that they did something wrong. It damages their self-esteem and causes them to quit.
Positive Feedback. Students want to know what they need to improve, but they want to hear about it in a positive way. All of the corrections an instructor makes can be done in a positive way. Telling a student “Your back leg should be straight”, is better than saying, “Don’t bend your leg!”
We all respond much better to positive feedback than to negative. Students need to know that they are making progress. It’s usually a good idea to tell a student what they are doing well along with correcting their weak areas. This is a teaching technique called “Praise, Correct, Praise.” It goes like this: “Great,you are kicking very high!, Keep your body upright for better balance. Let me see it again. Great! That is much better.”
The Problem: Adult Stress.
One reason so many adults train in the martial arts is for relaxation and stress relief. They don’t experience much of these benefits if they are paired with fidgety children. Adults look forward to martial arts class as an escape from their own children for a while and welcome a chance to “trade kicks” with anyone other than a child.
Separated age groups. When possible it is best to keep the adult/teen, youth and children groups totally separate. When you have a time specifically for adults you will find that you get more adults enrolled.
The Problem: Reputation.
Many people think that martial artists are violent and don’t want to be around that kind of mentality. When adults and children are forced to compete in tournaments they often feel like the school pit bulls being thrown into a fight for the instructor’s amusement. Force students to compete and fight against their will and they will soon quit.
Cater to the students needs and why they want to learn martial arts instead of your own wants. You will find that you develop a reputation for being a great instructor who cares about his (or her) students. What is the best way to determine the quality of your school’s reputation? When people start joining your school based on word of mouth, then you know that you have a good reputation. The better we treat our students, the better our reputation and success will be in the community. Happy students are glad to refer your school to their friends and neighbors.