Right now with COVID-19 impacting our lives and businesses, it’s important to remember that staying at home does not mean your students and gym members have the excuse to cancel their membership or quit practicing their martial arts skills. In this guide, we’ll be giving gym owners tips and tricks on how to keep your students engaged and paying members during this time of social distancing. While it may seem like an impossible task, having your students keep up with their martial arts training is still possible. With social media, it’s easy to share and follow along with instructors, post progress online, or even participate in a martial arts-themed Facebook challenge. Think of practicing social distancing as another way to fine-tune your student’s discipline for future martial arts classes!
Ideas For Martial Arts Engagement Online
Keeping your students involved in classes while they are quarantined is a great way to show families and students how dedicated you are to their learning. Utilizing different tools and techniques within the scope of social distancing is a new development, but ultimately it will benefit your gym and your members in the best way possible by increasing social engagement online. Get creative with your social media, and let your students know you’re still there for them through this unique time in our lives.
1. Recruit your instructors to record videos and lessons
Whether or not you choose to have students pay for private virtual lessons, having a few helpful videos posted by your instructors on your gym’s social media will keep your students involved with your gym. They’ll appreciate the effort you took to put these videos together and will love that they can stay on top of their training. Not only that, but this will allow your instructors to keep using their skills and stay employed during this time.
2. Instagram and Facebook live streams
Take advantage of the internet by hosting Facebook or Instagram live videos during regular class times. Your students can follow along, post comments and questions, and see your techniques right from their own living room. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to successfully conduct a live stream on Instagram.
3. Stream and Store Your Videos For On Demand
Streaming your training sessions is a great way for your students to stay active and stay involved. It allows them to stick to a routine of things and makes them feel as though they are somewhat doing a live workout with you and your instructors. Here’s a couple of live streaming services you can utilize:
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Live
If you plan to go live on your Instagram or Facebook, make sure to save the video afterwards so you can share it to all your students in your video library. This is important especially for people that do not have any social media to access your live streaming videos.
If you have decided to live stream your classes, you can upload them to your video library on your Kicksite software system. This tool allows you to store all videos and gives your students access to the videos on demand. Let your families know that parents can also participate in the classes. Letting parents feel connected to their instructors and lessons will give the child a sense of belonging and structure during this time.
It’s great to live stream your training sessions or an at home workout but after the video is over, students and members only have 24 hours to go back and watch it. Some students might not be able to watch your live stream at that moment in time or even 24 hours later so providing a place where you can store all those videos on demand will give your students easy access to watch your videos whenever and wherever. Plus, it saves you a lot of time having to remake videos or creating a new video every single day. Think of your live stream videos as a long term investment rather than a short term fix to the Coronavirus.
4. Keep your students accountable with training at home
Coming up with unique online activities for your students is the first hurdle, making sure they’re following along with their training is the second. Having homework, quizzes, incentives, and requiring students to record themselves practicing are just a few ideas to keep them accountable to your gym and their training. Parents can also stay on top of their kids training with signed tracking sheets.
If you choose to have them record themselves, make sure you have a game plan receiving those videos. Emailing videos, especially long videos, can be very difficult but if you give them a step by step walk through of exactly what to do then it will make both you and your students’ lives easier. Here are a couple of ways to send videos through email.
5. Stay Connected
Providing the kids with an opportunity to see each other and interact is a great way to let them share their techniques with one another and still feel connected to their love of martial arts. Learning from one another and seeing how the other is practicing will give your student the push they might need to keep up with their martial arts training. They might even come up with a creative way to train that you didn’t think of.
Staff members and instructors should be encouraged to stay connected with you as well. Try to stay consistent with your work routine as much as possible. If you normally have a staff meeting on Thursdays at 1pm, try to keep that scheduled and facetime everyone instead. This allows your staff to stay connected with you and with other staff members and also helps keep a routine for your business.
6. Social media challenges
Finding new and creative ways to challenge yourself and your students is a great way to stay engaged. Starting social media challenges that involve different techniques or exercises will provide your students with exciting ways to compete with classmates and push them towards achieving their martial arts goals. Posting the challenges online gives your students the chance to stay connected and feel as though they never left the gym in the first place. Also, make it a point to give out shoutouts and repost your students videos and pictures on your school’s social page.
- Share a technique of the day and have your students record them practicing that technique
- Make sure they represent your school by wearing school branded gear in the video
- Make sure they tag your school in the video or picture
- Give away prizes or incentives to the best post of the day or the week
7. Create polls and questions of the day for students and families
Posting questions of the day or polls on topics like how to better the gym once back in session, what is the students’ favorite part of classes, or opinions of best techniques will allow parents to feel involved with their child’s activities and also increase engagement on your social media pages. In the same way they show up to support their students at competitions, they can support them from home by participating in these engagement posts.
8. Upload documents for your students to study your association lineage
Give your students the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of your association. You can upload documents, history timelines and your school’s commandments in your Kicksite library so your students can always access those documents in their student portal. Here’s a couple of things you might want to include in your history lesson of your association and martial arts in general.
- History timeline of Martial Arts
- Background information of your instructors and employees
- Commandments at your school
- The psychology of martial arts
- Lineage of your specific association
Here’s a great example of what YH Park Taekwondo Academy is doing to keep their students engaged and involved with their school. Every Thursday they have a series of trivia questions based on their school history, culture and Taekwondo philosophy.
To tie this back to #4, you can then give them homework to take notes on these documents or create mini quizzes on the most important values you want them to take and learn from those documents.
9. Watch Youtube instructional videos
Staying at home gives families an opportunity to get more involved in their hobbies and activities. Finding instructional martial arts clips on YouTube will provide children with an easy follow along guide and gives them new material to work with while having to be away from classes at the studio. Recommend that parents participate in classes with them, maybe even give them the chance to be their sensei for the day to keep them excited about staying active in their martial arts journey.
10. Curate a list of best martial arts movies
Obviously, there is going to be some downtime while your students are staying home. If they love martial arts as much as you do, they’ll want to see how other professionals compete as well. Keeping their minds excited about the world of martial arts through movies will give them a sense of thrill. Depending upon the age group of your students, movie ideas could include The Karate Kid, The Forbidden Kingdom, Enter The Dragon, Mulan, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and more. Educational movies about martial arts can also provide your students with a history of martial arts, thus teaching them the importance of discipline and self-practice.
- Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
- Karate Kid
- The Forbidden Kingdom
- Enter The Dragon
11. Encourage students to stay active physically and mentally
During this time of social distancing, kids and even adults are becoming bored staying in. They are resorting to watching Netflix, spending way too much time on social media and playing video games. All of which are not improving the mind or body. Encourage your students to remain physically active by going for a run, doing an ab challenge of the day, or practicing yoga.
Yoga will provide your students with the ability to center themselves and practice breathing techniques, as these abilities often go hand-in-hand with traditional martial arts combat. Yoga instruction guides are widely available on the internet and can be fun for the whole family to do together. Yoga will also help with any stress or anxiety families may be feeling.
- Practice yoga daily
- Go for a run outside
- At-home HIIT workout
- Go on a walk
- Practice a particular Martial Arts technique
It is also crucial for your students to stay mentally active as well. Martial Arts is just as much of a physical game as it is mental game. Encourage your students to keep their brain activity high by choosing to turn off the TV and doing a brain solving activity. Here’s some activities you can send to them to keep their mind healthy and active.
- Brain solving puzzles
- Read a book
- Order one off Amazon
- Buy an Audio book from Itunes
- Read articles online (Aim to learn something new every day)
- Listen to a podcast
We hope this guide will inspire you to keep your students and families engaged while they are quarantined at home. Getting creative can be hard, but we know during this time it’s especially important to let your students know how invested you are in their martial arts journeys.