How to motivate martial arts students

10 min read
Find out simple ways to motivate your martial arts students during classes and by using your martial arts software effectively

Find out simple ways to motivate your martial arts students during classes and by using your martial arts software effectively

It can be tough to motivate martial arts students. They often come into class already motivated and don’t need a lot of encouragement to keep going. But there are ways to help them stay on track and achieve their goals.

A martial arts student enjoying a martial arts class

From a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner to a novice Muay Thai student, everyone has a dip in motivation at some point during their fitness journey. It's important to note that this is perfectly normal and remind your students of that.

From engaging personally to how you can use your martial arts management software without significantly adding to your admin tasks to help you motivate your students, this guide will give you some tips and advice on how to motivate your martial arts students.

Keep things fun, fresh, and interesting

It can take a lot of time, energy and money to get martial arts students to where they want to be, so when they hit a wall it can be tough on both them and their coach. That's why keeping things fun, fresh and interesting is key to keeping students engaged.

One way to do this is to add new elements to your classes. This could be anything from trying a different warm-up routine to mixing up the order of your techniques. If your students are starting to get bored, it's time to switch things up.

Make sure they are setting goals

Another way to keep things interesting is to set goals with your students. Martial arts students need to have something to strive for in a training environment. If they don’t have any goals, they will quickly become bored and unmotivated. Make sure you help them set some achievable goals, such as getting a new belt or learning a new technique.

Setting goals is an important part of any fitness discipline. Having something to aim for gives your martial arts students something to focus on. Knowing that there is something to push for will help them feel that each martial arts class is one step closer to achieving their aims. And once they've completed that goal, make sure you congratulate them. Don't wait too long to set the next goal, though! Keep that momentum going.

Encourage them to compete

Competition can be a great way to motivate martial arts students. Encourage your students to compete in tournaments or sparring matches. It gives them something to work towards and can help them see their progress. Knowing that all the training you're helping them with is going to be put to the test is a massive motivator. It's the same for runners entering races.

Make sure that they're not getting too far ahead of themselves though. The last thing either your or your students want is for them to have taken on a challenge too soon. If for example, some students from your beginner classes want to take on someone with three or four years of experience, they won't enjoy the experience and they'll more than likely feel as though they're not capable enough to become marital artists.

Steer them in the direction of level-appropriate competitions and help them through their training, encouraging them all the way to push themselves to be better, ready, and motivated for their martial arts competition.

TeamUp's Tom Fischer puts an opponent in a kimura hold during a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition

Give them feedback

It’s important to give your martial arts students feedback on their progress. This will help them see how they are doing and what they need to work on. Give them regular feedback, both verbal and written.

Verbal feedback after class as your students leave, maybe even including a high-five or a handshake, actually has more of an effect than you might think. Mentioning something specific that you've noticed from a student during a class will prove to them that you've noticed them and it'll give them that boost to keep going.

Encourage positive thinking

Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can help martial arts students stay motivated. Encourage your students to think positively about their training and their ability to achieve their goals. If they've had a tough session, help them see it in a positive way. Maybe things didn't go as well as they hoped in their class, but that means they have something to strive for next week.

All martial arts businesses will have days when students feel as though they've not shown the best of their abilities, and that's when you need to step up as their instructor and help them see that even those tough days can have a positive impact on their training going forward.

Help them find a role model

Martial arts students often look up to someone who is successful in the sport. Help them find a role model that they can look to for inspiration. This can be someone local, such as a tournament champion, a colleague who's competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or even someone more famous, such as a UFC fighter.

It doesn't matter whether you're trying to motivate students in kids' classes or an adult who's been practising martial arts for years, having someone to look up to is a great way to boost morale and motivation.

Knowing their backstories and seeing that even a professional in a specific martial art has had struggles to get where they are shows your students that they can keep achieving their goals, no matter how hard things might seem at the time.

A martial arts teacher trains with a young martial arts student in their martial arts school

Encourage them to stick with it

Martial arts is not an easy sport, and students will face obstacles and setbacks along the way. It doesn't matter if they're training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or they're aspiring to take part in mixed martial arts competitions, martial arts schools everywhere will have students who waiver on whether or not they want to keep going.

This is why it's so important for martial arts schools to make the most of strategies such as giving feedback, keeping your classes dynamic and fun, and encouraging positive thinking. Work with them and encourage them to stick with it and not give up. Help them find the motivation to keep going, even when things get tough.

Use martial arts software to help motivate your martial arts students

The best martial arts software will include a number of robust features that can help you motivate your martial arts students even when they're not in your martial arts school. Martial arts management software should be more than just an online registration or online booking system.

When you invest in martial arts software, make sure you find a provider that has features built into their product that help you to engage with your students by creating a plethora of repetitive and time-consuming admin tasks. Your martial arts software can in essence work as an automated marketing suite very easily. Here are some of the ways you can use your martial arts software to motivate your martial arts students.

Send out post-class notifications

One of the great tools that you can find in martial arts software such TeamUp's offerings is to create a notification to go out to your students to remind them that they have a class coming up. You can quickly set the email to go out in TeamUp, and then the cloud-based software does the rest for you.

Take this a step further by adding a post-class notification to go out. As your students leave your martial arts school, your post-class notification can do two things in one. First off, thank and congratulate them for coming to class. Your marital arts students will love getting some recognition from their sensei telling them they've done a great job.

Secondly, your post-class notifications can also encourage your students to sign up for their next class. Add a link to your schedule in your automated email with a call to action encouraging them to sign up for their next martial arts class.

Use your martial arts software to celebrate their successes

Your martial arts software should make it easy for you to celebrate your students' successes. With TeamUp's martial arts software, you can create milestone emails. As with pre and post-class notifications, these can be created in TeamUp and then automated to go out at specific times so as to limit the number of admin tasks you have to do.

Milestone emails can be set up to go out at certain points of the customer journey. You can congratulate your students for attending your martial arts school for a year, or as they work their way through the belt system. Congratulate them in the class, of course, but adding a milestone email will give you that extra edge when you want to motivate your martial arts students.

Stay in demand with on demand

The top martial arts software providers work as an all-inclusive management platform that will also offer you a way to not only teach online classes but to create on-demand content that your clients can access through the software. TeamUp for example has on-demand content as one of the many features that martial arts schools can make the most of.

Your on-demand content can be any number of things. It can be exercise videos to help martial artists improve their technique, it can be videos explaining good nutrition, and it can also be a recording of one of your classes.

By offering your clients on-demand content, you're giving them the ability to interact with your brand and your business when it suits them. You're also increasing the value of what you offer as a martial arts school, and this will help to motivate your students to continue training with you.

On-demand content is a great way to show that you're always thinking about your students and that you're always looking for ways to help them improve.

Creating a great customer experience

Finally, one of the best things you can do to motivate your martial arts students is to create a great customer experience. Your martial arts software should make it easy for you to do this. TeamUp's software offers features such as automatic reminders, adding notes to bookings, and a customer management system.

Creating a great customer experience will not only motivate your martial arts students to continue training with you, but it will also encourage them to recommend you to their friends. This is one of the best forms of marketing for any business, and it's something that your martial arts software should help you with.

The best martial arts software will offer you a variety of features that will help you to create a great customer experience. Look for a provider that offers you the ability to automate your marketing, the ability to manage your bookings and customers, and the ability to create on-demand content.

To sum up

By following these simple tips to motivate your martial arts students, you'll be able to retain more of your customers and grow your business. Use your martial arts software to its full potential, and you'll be able to create a great customer experience that will motivate your students to continue training with you.

Using a mix of both in-person strategies as well as making the most of your       management software, you'll be able to create a system that works for you and helps you to keep your customers motivated.


If you'd like to find out more about how TeamUp's martial arts software can help you run your business, schedule a call with one of our team and start your free trial today.


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