Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

Coach the Athletes of Tomorrow and Expand Your Career in Sports Performance Training

By: Bill Parisi, BBA, C.S.C.S.

Parents are crazed about their child's sports and in some cases, a little too crazed. The fact is, parents are highly motivated to help their children succeed, especially in sports. I started my business in 1993, in a small 3,000 square foot training studio, $50,000 in debt. Sports Performance Training (SPT) was the catalyst that helped vault my business to subsequently add three additional clubs. These facilities were traditional health clubs averaging 25,000 square feet in size with general fitness as the primary revenue stream, but SPT was the spark that launched each club to immediate success.

In today's day and age, more and more studio and health club operators are adding Sports Performance Training. SPT opens up a whole new market that helps to generate additional leads, which results in more individualized sessions and small group classes. In order to accommodate these extra clients, clubs need to hire more trainers with SPT experience. It is imperative to hire and attract the right type of candidates to make a SPT business successful. Below are some ways to make yourself more marketable in this growing industry, tips for landing a job in SPT, and how to grow your career in that position.

1) You Must Love Working with Kids

The most important quality for a Sports Performance Coach is that you love to work with kids. It is not easy for a club owner to find someone with a passion for working with kids, but when he or she does, it is usually a homerun.  If you are someone looking to just train the higher-level high school, or motivated athlete, you may not be a good candidate for a position in most clubs that offer SPT.

The Sports Performance Training business is about all kids, and coaches need to be able to train kids of all levels and abilities. Contrary to popular belief, there are not that many motivated and talented athletes out there, and surely not enough to make a sports performance business successful long term. Understand that training kids is the business of motivation, not fitness. You could have the best education, certification and recommendations in the world, but if you don't possess the ability to engage, connect and empower kids, you will not succeed in this business.

2) Always Be Networking

I am constantly on the lookout for exceptional talent to join my team. We have had hiring success with former athletes in our program, people making career changes, such as bank tellers, customer service reps in sporting goods stores, bartenders and waiters, etc. Whenever I go out and have a good experience somewhere with a service person, I always ask the question, "Do you keep your career options open?"

You have to have a "network marketing" mentality to find your staff and good owners will always be on the lookout. So be prepared and make yourself available for these potential encounters. Attend industry trade shows, seminars and events, as well as local sporting events in your community. You are not going build these relationships by sitting at home. However, don't always wait for someone to come to you. If the opportunity presents itself, strike up a conversation with a club owner or program director. Take advantage of every situation. Even if it doesn't lead to something right away, just simply build relationships and trust with people. That always leads to opportunities down the line.

3) Formal Education Is Not Required

A degree in exercise science is a plus, but not a prerequisite. A SPT Coach should have knowledge in the area of Speed and Power development, as well as injury prevention. A national accredited certification should be required, such as NASM, NSCA and ACE. This provides a baseline of knowledge.

The most important aspect of education is the continued development of it and every performance coach should be constantly developing themselves. If you want to be a SPT coach, you should be attending clinics, seminars, PerformBetter Summits, and even hosting continuing education events for local volunteer coaches in your community. These avenues will give you the education and experience necessary to make you a fantastic Sports Performance Coach.

4) You're Hired, Now What?

You made it through the hiring process but the hard work is just beginning. In order to have staying power, you must be able to bring it for each and every session you conduct. Parents are willing to pay, but they will not keep paying if their kids are getting lackluster effort and energy from their coach or if the sessions are not of high quality. You need to be careful here because high quality does not just mean running the kids into the ground. Quality is about giving the children not only a great workout, but also a solid education every time they come into the facility. A great workout improves performance but at the same time, it needs to improve their self-confidence. We know that a higher level of competence, builds self-confidence.

The underlying theme here is that you need to deliver a session that creates a higher level of confidence with the kids you work with. This should not necessarily override the importance of a high intensity workout. You need to blend both into each session. We say at the Parisi Speed School, "It is important to have our kids leave each session Sweating and Smiling!"

There is nothing more important than helping a child improve their confidence and self-esteem. At the Parisi Speed School we understand that this is our primary product that we deliver each and every day to the community. When you do this successfully, you become a powerful community influencer. There is no better feeling in the world than when a parent comes up to you and says, "Thank you so much for giving my child the confidence he or she needed to succeed." These parents are not only thanking the coach and club owner but they tell all their friends how great their experience was at your club. This leads to future growth of your business and the club's. That, in and of itself, is the most powerful marketing you can ever receive.

For more information about Bill Parisi and the Parisi Speed School, check out

(August 2015)