Every one of us has had our share of students who quit because of another sport or activity. Most tell us that they will be back after the season, but we know that this is rarely the case. When the season is complete, it takes a lot of effort to get back into the routine of Martial Arts despite the best of intentions. By the end of their season, they may feel as if they’ve forgotten a lot and that their friends are ahead of them. Because these challenges to resume their training later, we know that it’s in the best interest of the student to prevent them from breaking the habit in the first place and keep them training through the season.
The first thing to find out is if the student is happy with their lessons so far. A simple question, “How are you enjoying the program?” is a good place to start. If they are happy with the program then you should be able to keep them training. If they are not, they might be using the other activity as an excuse to quit and all of your persuasion skills will be for naught. So if you get a lukewarm or even negative response, ask to find out why they are not completely satisfied with your program. This way you can see if there are steps you can take to tighten up so you won’t lose more students for the same reason in the future.
If you find that they love the program and see its benefits, then you stand a good chance of being able to show them how they can keep their foot in the door versus leaving entirely. Review the schedule with them for different time options – it may be possible that they forgot you have classes on different days that don’t conflict with the new sport! We also let our students know that it is okay to miss some classes if other activities get busier. You may even want to offer a few special 15 minute one-on-one classes to help them stay engaged with the program during the season.
In short, proactive communication is one of your best tools to avoid a quit due to another activity. Be aware and ask questions with the above tactics in mind to help make a potentially negative situation turn into a positive one!