Simple Scheduling

Simple Scheduling for Your Martial Arts School



By: Mike Dolpies



Here was the question that I received.



“I need to change my teaching schedule.  Do you have any access for samples of schedules that might be good?  My plan of course is to get to 220-275 students in the next year.  I have 3 programs (basic,masters,leaders).


Specific concerns:  how to make classes manageable for one instructor and an assistant on the floor; and to make them so parents can take class too (I think we could add a bunch of students that way) but I can’t get my head around it.”



I’ve been juggling my own martial arts school schedules for the past 10 years. Of course over the last 24 months I’ve been helping other school owners with their schedule concerns. Here’s what I’ve found to work best from a “simplicity” and “not drive your self crazy” point of view…



Of course, starting with the end mind, as in your active count goal, is needed to begin your schedule adjustments. But the main thing to look at right away is your current student base and what they are used to.



One thing I’ve learned while training to receive my black belt at “The Martial Arts School of Hard Knocks” is that students, parents and clients HATE change. Actually it is just human nature to resist it, funny too, because one thing that we can all be certain of is change. I guess that is why only small percentages of people are successful: The embrace change while the majority does not! Sorry, don’t mean to get off on a rant here!



Look at your current roster of students and where they are spread out among belts, levels and programs. I wouldn’t need my wife’s Cornell degree to figure out that I need the most classes for those belts and levels that make up the bulk of my school.



Next, you’ll need to forecast- When you set a very aggressive new student goal: Example- Brett more than doubling his active count in less than 6 months. (If you have not listened to the recording of that call yet, you’re nuts!) You’ll need to be sure you have plenty of room for beginner classes.



However, do not build it before they come. Just be prepared to steal a little from somewhere else and minimize the negative effect when you do add the classes. It’s funny, in my Philly school we always made it a point to have our beginner classes around 6 or 6:30 figuring people were working. Then those same people who expressed concern about being on time for a 6PM classes were actually the ones who loved the 5PM intermediate class a year later, Weird Stuff! So just add the classes as you need them.



To easily overcome the, “I can’t make it” objection at the enrollment you’ll want to have at least 4 times per week for beginners mixed between early and later times (5:30, 7, or 6:30).



When making a schedule overhaul the best thing you can do is make it to where you can see just about everyone in your school on a given day if they all choose to come in. Here’s what I mean; let’s say your school, looks like this. Basic, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Adults.



Your Monday may look like this- 4:30 Level 1, 5:30 Basic, 6:30 Level 2, 7:30 Level 3, 8:30 Adult. Then the next day you simply juggle it around.



When you think about keeping class sizes manageable you hedge your bet on this fact of life. Most people who come Monday will not come Tuesday so if you see an average of 22 people per class and you have 5 classes a day and see half of your students on Monday and half on Tuesday 22 X 5 = 110 X 2 = an active count of 220.



Of course, it is not an exact science! That’s why you can also do this; let’s say your enrollment push goes well and now the majority of your students are basic. Well, you look at your other level and see where things are skimpy and you remove that class and add another basic class for the day.



As far as family classes go…



The 2 main reasons why parents don’t train are: 1) because they feel stupid and 2) because the schedule does not work for them to take an adult only class. The key is to make them feel comfortable and then show them how it can fit in, if they are just going to be sitting there anyway then you up your chances. You must ask them to do the intro with their children to up your chances!



As always- Go after the low hanging fruit! You know which parents are ready to go and which would never do it even if you paid them. Make it as one sided as a plane crash and don’t let the negative ones kill the ones that want to get in and going!



Talk to you soon!



Mike D.


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