When we consider the needs and expectations of our students, quite often the word “competition” comes up. While many students wish to compete as soon a possible, others will come around to it after a little time—and then there are some who have no intention to compete ever.
It can be a logistical nightmare to arrange classes to cater for both competition aspirants and those students who wish to train for fun, health and fitness.
From an administrative perspective, it’s important to schedule both competition classes and general classes at times when they can be accessed easily. Both class styles need to be structured to deliver what the participants need. For a competition class, ideally your instructor should have competition experience so they understand what each student needs to become a great competitor—and naturally they should also enjoy this teaching process. A general class instructor should be adept at most concepts but does not need to be an expert at competition.
Once the class logistics are in order, the next issue confronting the academy owner is supporting the competition students in their endeavours. This may include making a championship calendar, organising dietary advice, assisting with sponsorship, and of course coaching and attending competitions.
Catering to the competition student can certainly be a great deal of extra work. However, when managed correctly, it can make your academy very attractive to new students and can also be a wonderful form of advertising at competitions, where new students often go to get a feel for the sport.
When you adapt your program to meet a wide range of student aspirations, you open up your academy to a greater variety of students and broaden your market appeal—however it must be done well. There are many academies practising this approach in theory, however few are doing it with the effort required to achieve success.
Peter de Been is Director of de Been 100% Jiu Jitsu, Australia’s first Jiu Jitsu Academy, and President and Founder of AFBJJ Inc, Jiu Jitsu’s national governing body since 1994. www.deBeenJiuJitsu.com