Class sizes are an integral factor for martial arts schools, for many reasons. For one, the size of the class can negatively correlate with the quality of instruction. Having multiple classes or utilizing teaching assistants will also mean higher labor costs, decreasing your short-term profits. The availability of instructors is another thing to note, as a lack of instructors can make it very difficult to schedule additional classes.
Scaling class sizes appropriately can help your students learn quicker and provide a better experience, leading to higher retention rates and long-term success. Here are some of our thoughts on how to optimize class sizes for your martial arts students.
Assessing Class Sizes
Class sizes play a significant role for instructors and students alike. Students in larger classes will see less attention and adjustments from instructors, while your staff may have a more difficult time dealing with the number of students, especially with children’s classes. With that said, smaller class sizes can also be an issue. Most martial arts require some form of sparring – to understand or practice a certain concept – and being able to train with different people can be helpful or necessary for progression. It can also be demotivating for students, when they do not have a peer group that encourages one another to succeed.
Dividing your student base into beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes is a good way to scale class sizes, as your school grows in size. Over time, schools will grow past the point where three adult classes can be enough. In this case, early morning classes, weekend classes, as well as more frequent evening classes can help you adapt to your level of growth.
Balancing Quality and Short-Term Profits
Larger class sizes can mean more revenue for your business but it can also bring on a decrease in the quality of instruction that students receive. In the short-term, this may seem financially responsible but it can hinder your long-term success, if students feel like classes are too crowded to be enjoyable. Because of how many more members there are than instructors in a class, it makes a lot more sense to scale your classes with your membership growth, rather than fill the only intermediate class available with your students.
Additional classes may help but this can lead to overworked instructors. The key to avoiding this is to build a great roster of instructors within your student base so that you are able to expand your number of classes accordingly. For larger classes, introduce more senior students as assistants to your instructors, in order to aid in increasing the one-on-one time with students, maintain a high quality of instruction, and to further train your upcoming instructors.
Managing your Instructors
Increasing your class offerings means needing more instructors who can teach at a high level. Some planning and foresight is required, in order to do this successfully. Students within your school who possess leadership potential should be approached, to see if instructing is something they are interested in. The training of those candidates can include instructor training sessions, assisting during classes, hosting martial arts birthday parties, and leading beginners’ classes. You should have potential instructors at each phase of this process, so that if an instructor is studying for their black belt exam, for example, another instructor can easily sub in.
Get Help from your Martial Arts Software
Once you know how you want to scale your classes, let your martial arts management software do the heavy lifting. When your classes are structured the way you want, in terms of belt levels, you can create student lists that show which classes those students should be attending. If you’re adding more days to a particular class, you can use online booking to get your students to register, preventing overly full classes. With increased class availability, staff management can become more intricate but streamlining your payroll and organizing your team with our martial arts software can help alleviate the extra work.
For more information on class scheduling, managing instructors, and the importance of scheduling promotions, here are some excellent recommendations from Master Ingrid Katzberg’s webinar, Scheduling Classes for Optimal Results.