Tag Archives: Coaching

How to retain key staff members at your gym, fitness studio or sports centre

30 August 2018 openplay Leave a comment Operations

It is well established that a happy workforce results in satisfied and loyal customers. In the wellness industry, a team’s attitude and dynamics are the life and soul of a business. A moderate level of employee turnover can keep your business fresh and on its toes. Old-timers relearn information they may have forgotten as they train new faces; these recruits, in turn, breathe enthusiasm and excitement that can wear off on others. How do you keep hold of valuable staff members?

Learn why people are leaving

Employees leave companies for a number of reasons: salary increase, career change, shorter commute or “just because”. These factors are often unavoidable, but negative influencers such as underpaying staff, poor management, and a toxic environment will drive staff away. Your team should feel comfortable enough to approach management or HR with any issues they might be facing at work. Even with an open and attentive management team, certain problems need to be broached with care. Give your team regular opportunities to complete confidential surveys, where they can detail satisfaction levels and seek improvements. Once the reviews have been conducted, hold team meetings where issues can be discussed and resolved.

Provide opportunities for growth

If you want to attract and retain a hardworking and ambitious workforce, you need to provide opportunities for growth. A motivated employee will want to showcase their talents and skills. They may wish to contribute to tasks that lie outside of their job description. Your best coaches will aspire to the position of head coach, and many of your floor staff or admin team might strive for more responsibility and higher pay. Hold discussions with your employees to understand their career aspirations.

Increase freelance loyalty

Many instructors and PTs are freelance so do not possess the same allegiance to your brand as your permanent staff. Freelancers tend to be loyal to their and your clients. In return, many of your customers are fiercely loyal to your instructors. Consider how many members would move clubs to remain with their favourite coach. What percentage of people come to your club because of one particular instructor? A particularly valuable coach significantly increases your revenue. Their pay should rise as they contribute to the growth and wealth of your business.

Create a competitive but supportive environment

Employees thrive in a competitive but fair environment. Set targets for your staff that are difficult but not impossible to attain. Many companies reward their team as a whole, by organising away days or parties. Such a system is excellent for encouraging teamwork and boosting morale. However, it is important, also, to also promote motivation from individuals. Sales teams are continually chasing leads and are rewarded handsomely with commissions when they hit targets. Assign this motivational tactic to other sectors of your workforce. Consider awarding instructors a £5 bonus for every fully-booked class they teach. Give prizes, such as coupons or guest passes to staff that consistently execute tasks to a high standard.

Use technology

Staff members get frustrated when management is disorganised. There is nothing more frustrating than a coach preparing a killer session only to turn up and discover the class was cancelled. When communication is lacking, mishaps like this happen. It may be acceptable for once in a blue moon, but a chaotic working environment is not sustainable in the long run. OpenPlay’s management system lets your coordinate your staff via a handy pocket app. Find out more at OpenPlay.

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Sports coaches- Is admin keeping you off the pitch?

9 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Operations, Technology

Most sports coaches enter the profession because they have a passion for the game they play. It is the smell of the grass, the feel of a ball, a glove, a racquet in their hands and the joy of passing on their enthusiasm to fresh faces. Despite this idealistic vision, many find themselves stuck inside beneath a mountain of forms, blurry-eyed from excel spreadsheets, ears ringing from relentless calls. Admin comes with the territory, but not to the extent that the majority of coaches find themselves. You can make just one simple change that eliminates up to 95% of your admin, improves the service you provide, and gets you back onto the pitch.

Switch to an online booking system

Face-to-face and telephone bookings are drawn out, expensive and much less efficient than online reservations. Someone needs to be “on call” or in the office to process bookings. Bookings not only need to be online, but they need to suit both desktop and mobile. At OpenPlay, we provide bespoke booking systems that not only increase your sales and revenue but also a detailed back-end management system featuring a host of time-saving features.

Keep track of payments

The OpenPlay system flags any unpaid invoices, so you can quickly send payment reminders. Customer fees will be processed through payment gateways such as Stripe. We integrate with world-renowned services, which are safe and secure. With less cash on site, the risk of accidental or intentional loss of funds is virtually eradicated. Online payments also sync immediately with your OpenPlay venue management system, so you no longer have to log transactions manually.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

OpenPlay’s CRM system keeps track of your interactions with clients. Each time you converse with a client, you can be confident that your information on them is up-to-date, relevant and tailored specifically to the individual. CRM adds a personal touch that clients love. It makes such a difference when you can recall your last phone call with them and immediately reference their previous queries. It lets customers know that you value them.

The OpenPlay Pocket mobile app

Even with all the technology in the world, you cannot escape admin entirely. With the OpenPlay Pocket mobile app, you can at least take this small bit of work out onto the pitch. Take payments directly through your OpenPlay Pocket mobile app. Manage your coaches and employees via the app and only grant them access to their classes. Each coach receives their own registers, so they can tick off attendees and instantly see any essential health conditions. An important safety feature OpenPlay has devised and implemented is the unique pickup code for children. When parents cannot collect their child, they digitally sign the coach’s app, granting access to another adult.

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Influencers: How Inspirational Coaches Increase Participation

13 May 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Operations

“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life”- John Wooden, basketball player.

It is easy to become complacent in our jobs. What was and is a rewarding profession can dull to the grey of everyday mundanity. For participants of sport, their interest is only partly determined by the nature of the activity itself. An inspirational coach is the difference between someone loving a sport and running for the hills (unless the sport is hill running). The coach is in prime position to provide a welcoming, encouraging, and engaging environment for participants.

Life skills

The power of inspirational coaches extends further than the court or pitch itself. They can be enormously impactful in the life of a child or adult.

Confidence: For kids who might not be academic, the pitch, the court, the pool is their place to shine. Whilst constructive criticism is a necessary part of teaching, it is important that children feel that their coach believes in their ability.

Social skills: Joining sports activities is a great way for people to make positive friendships, to learn teamwork, to encourage their peers, and to share responsibility. Inspirational coaches will encourage children to support each other and lead by example with engaging, positive language.

Controlled competitiveness: Cheating is a result of poor leadership. A coach should encourage a competitive spirit, without pushing a child to dirty tactics. One of the harshest but most valuable lessons sport teaches us, is not to be afraid of losing. It is difficult to congratulate your opponent when you have just lost a match. On the flip side, it is easy to forget to say “hard luck” to someone you have just beaten. It is a coach’s job to ensure that players are humble winners and gracious losers.

Sport as a sanctuary

Bullying at school: Particularly for individuals who feel socially excluded, having a positive mentor who encourages teamwork and positivity can be a life-changing experience. For children who are bullied at school, sports coaching can be their sanctuary. A coach could be the first person to notice if a child’s mood changes or if they have become introverted and insecure.

Pushy Parents: Manage pushy parents with caution.  Inspirational coaches are concerned with a child’s needs over the aspirations of a parent. Winning is the job of coaches and players. Parents must prioritise the development of their child’s character. Sensor how you speak to parents; speak to them the same way you would if their child was listening. Yes, flag up any behavioural issues, but if parents seek out feedback, it should be positive and encouraging.

Enjoyment of exercise: Some people spend their whole lives battling with the prospect of going to the gym, walking to work, or doing any form of exercise. To get people interested in sports from a young age is a gift that will last their entire lifetime. It is every coach’s responsibility to ensure that every child’s first experience of sport is positive, so they continue to make exercise and health a priority throughout their lives.

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Best Wearable Tech for Sports Coaching

21 February 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Technology

Wearable fitness trackers saw a sharp decline in sales last year, compared with 2016. It begs the question if fitness tracking for the general public is simply a fad: a desperate Christmas purchase hoping to lower your Dad’s cholesterol, buy your girlfriend something other than jewellery (it’s technically different), or because January’s around the corner and you want to join in the 10,000 steps malarkey. It may have had its moment for the average Joe, but the technology is just starting to get into gear in the sports world. Wearables allow for accurate data tracking and reporting which is key to athletic performance. As the technology becomes smaller, lighter, and more agile, it is of greater use to athletes and coaches. Wondering what are the up and coming innovations in wearable tech? Here are our top five…

Augmented Reality glasses

AR glasses are available and in use in a multitude of genres. For sport, it is the apps developed for AR glasses that are making the biggest impact in sports training. Our favourite so far is Off-Season Sports LLC, which only launched at the end of last year. The app is designed for both tennis coaches and players. Virtual reality targets are “placed” around the court, while students aim real balls at them. The app is highly interactive and personal, recording data for post-training feedback. It has further features, such as sensory data and agility ladders. With programmes for all levels, students can move up the rungs from beginners to advanced.

Courtmatics Smart Dampener

This is technically not a wearable, as it attaches to your tennis racquet rather than your body. It is small and light, inserting into your strings like a shock absorber. Placed on your racquet, it monitors your stroke and provides feedback to improve your volley, forehand, backhand, or serve. It also detects string tension and will notify you when it’s time to change strings. Perhaps more impressively, given its location, it can also monitor footwork and track your movements around the court.


Dashtag is a small electronic square that is rucksacked to a football player’s back. Athletes play as normal: it is in the post match feedback sessions that the tag comes into its own. DashTag delivers FIFA style statistics straight to a player’s favourite chat platform. The Dash tracks sprints during a match or training session and gives player feedback specific to football.


Tracktics is similar to Dashtag, but the rectangular pack is belted around the waist. Again aimed at footballers, its main asset is that it tracks the mileage of a team. It calculates a player’s activity and speed over the course of a match and translates it into a graph. A heat map reveals how players moved around the field and whether they can improve their positioning in future.


Jawku claims to have “killed the stopwatch”. It is a watch designed specifically to increase speed, agility, and reaction time. Mainly geared towards future Farahs, Bolts, and Radcliffes, the device links with your phone, which sits proudly at the finish line. Like other wearable tech, it provides key performance data, helping you to shave crucial seconds off your time. For agility, it provides standard tests or the option to build your own drills. Improve your reaction time off the blocks by setting the watch to audio mode. Jawku is set for release on April 1st of this year.

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Five Offline Marketing Hacks for Sports Coaches

27 January 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

What if you could get one of the top pros to advertise your sports venue in their next big match? Imagine Serena Williams wearing your logo instead of the overly-dominant Nike tick? Maybe Roger Federer could eat a banana whose skin had printed on it your opening hours and booking details? Perhaps Gareth Bale will drink from a water bottle with your name on it before giving the camera a cheeky wink that somehow, without the use of language, sums up the ethos and price point of your brand? Well dream on, that’s ridiculous. Nevermind, here are some cheaper marketing options that are very nearly as good.

1. Branded kit

Kids and teens love team hoodies. Get their name or their number (team position rather than mobile) printed onto the back along with the name of the club. Don’t scrimp too much on these: if they’re sleek and cosy they will wear them all the time. Kit bags and water bottles are other places that get great exposure. This is not just a low-cost option, if done right you should make a profit.

2. Car advertisements

Whether it’s a bumper sticker or an entire coat of paint complete with Red Bull inspired monument on the roof, drive up your sales by getting your logo onto your car. Perhaps you could even print multiple bumper stickers and encourage parents to stick them onto their cars. Remember, if the strapline is funny it is more likely to get noticed.

3. Articles

Offer to write articles about sport and the community for school newsletters and local newspapers. Ensure that the piece evokes your brand’s image and shows you in a positive and engaging light. You want to sell your business without it coming across as a marketing plug.

4. Free Trials

Head down to local schools, to parks, cafes, the lot. Hand out vouchers that enable the user to have a free trial at your club. If you’re targeting local schools, there are usually laws that you cannot advertise within the grounds, but you are allowed to stand outside the gate. Wear your company jacket for optimum advertisement, and to avoid a reputation as someone who lingers around the school gate. Alternatively, you can get in contact with a school and run a taster session for each class.

5. Advertise outside your venue

This may seem blatantly obvious to some, but it is amazing how many venues ignore the marketing opportunities that lie on their doorstep. Get a large banner printed and hung up on your gate so when someone passes by they instantly know who you are, what you’re about, and how to get involved.

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