Many martial arts have a competitive side to them. Martial arts competitions are a great way to test your skills, even if that’s just one layer of your martial art’s focus. Once you have students who are competitive enough to compete in state, national or international competitions, it can be wise to launch a trainer team, to give them the necessary support to compete at high levels. Especially with younger students who show a lot of promise, they can be fostered into international, professional or Olympic-level athletes, with the right trainer teams in place.
With the addition of Karate in the 2020 Olympics, and Muay Thai as a provisional Olympic event, more and more martial arts are getting primetime attention, meaning more people will get inspired to sign up. This is great for boosting your memberships but, without a trainer team, your potential students may want to find a different school that has one. Here are some tips for launching your own trainer team.
Grow from Within
Just like our previous post on hiring your first instructors, a great place to look first is within your own martial arts school. Keep in mind that some of the best coaches aren’t necessarily the best fighters and some of the best fighters aren’t always the best coaches. If you have an instructor who excels at teaching and coaching but doesn’t fare well themselves in competitions, don’t hesitate to see if they can serve as effective coaches.
Training will definitely be required for your coaches. Doing some online research can aid in becoming more of an effective coach, especially when just starting out. At elite levels, we even recommend enrolling your coaches in sports psychology courses at your local community college or institutions.
Special Classes and Training Sessions
An intermediary step towards having a full-on trainer team can be hosting special classes meant for competitive training. The focus can be on sparring, applied techniques, strategy, breaking down recorded fights, and cardio training. For your competition teams, you’ll want to make sure this class is the focus of their practice – granted that is what you want as a master. With the specialized focus of these competition classes, you should be able to accelerate the development of your students, so they can compete at very high levels. Make sure that, when you plan out your martial arts schedule, you give students enough days off in between intense workouts, especially if some of them are taking classes in multiple styles.
Elite Level: Specialize and Focus
Once you get to elite levels of training, it may be a good idea to source specific coaches for specific needs. Of course, for mixed martial artists, they may have a separate coach for each aspect of their strategy. Having a striking coach, grappling coach, jiu-jitsu coach, fitness trainer, nutritionist, sports psychologist and sleep doctor isn’t uncommon, with the highest end of athletes.
This might not make sense in some martial arts – such as taekwondo or judo – but, even in those martial arts, the elite athletes can benefit from having specialized coaches. An up-and-coming elite martial artist will most likely get their nutrition, sports psychology and sleep breakdown from books, while having one coach who teaches them everything. If your school starts to grow with elite athletes, it might be wise to start looking for some specialty coaches or partnering with other local practitioners.
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