How to Start a Sports Training Empire

Growing up playing the game of soccer, I was blessed having some of the top coaches in the country for a successful soccer club in Austin, Texas. Making the hour and a half drive from San Antonio 3 times a week for 5 years was a huge commitment for me and my family, but I knew that it gave me the best possible chance to get a college scholarship.

I knew with my background of playing collegiate soccer and coaching high level club teams that I could offer something unique to players on an individual level. I started to notice that clubs and independent teams were not teaching the players the technical skills they needed to know to play at the competitive youth level and wanted to change that myself.

I was lucky having some of the best coaches growing up and realized that the majority of players don’t get that kind of coaching on a personal level. I wanted to help players understand the technical aspect of soccer at an early age so that they can stay with soccer throughout high school and possibly college.

Over the years when I was in college I have done private and group soccer sessions, but always looked at it as a hobby for me, it was fun and all, but I never saw it as a career until I did my research and found the need for a quality soccer program.

I always had the idea of starting my own business but couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. Why would people want to train with me? What makes me different than everyone else? What if I failed? I didn’t have a degree in business, how could I learn how to run a business?

Getting Started

I dove into my passion and decided to start a private and small group soccer training business. My goal was to create a program that was so unique and different than everything else out there. The reason why I wanted to start a soccer academy is to help young players from the youth level learn the correct way to play the game so that they can play competitively when they are older.

I did some research on Google and found that there were only a few trainers offering private and small group training in my area. Seeing other trainers with successful businesses in other cities made me think I could do the same if I worked hard enough. I jumped on this opportunity in my city because I knew the competition was low, and there are 1000’s of soccer players who need help with the fundamentals of soccer. Soccer was a sport I played my entire life and was something I had the passion for.

I contacted everyone I could to try to do sessions for free initially because I enjoyed it. Remember, I had no idea about marketing, business, how to charge people… anything related to business I was a total rookie. The only thing I had going for me was the drive to succeed.

Once I started charging people $15 for 1.5 hour sessions I started to realize that I could make a few bucks here and there. Making money was not the driving force behind my business, seeing results is what mattered to me originally and still is to this day.

Pro tip #1:

Take massive action and invest in yourself. Go to conferences, hire mentors, and meet people who are doing what you do and learn quickly from them. Hang around people smarter than you.

Starting off was a bumpy test, and it took more than a year to figure out:

  • What age group I wanted to train
  • Training location
  • How to market myself and make my program unique
  • How to manage my time
  • How to keep players excited about coming to my sessions
  • How to get paid (not chase people around for cash or checks)
  • How to be the expert in my city

My business life was forever changed when I invested in myself. I attended a conference in early 2010 that opened my eyes to the training world and I finally got to be around people that were like me. I took advantage of this opportunity and learned as much as I could about building a website, marketing systems, and how to get paid. I knew after learning these things for a weekend that I could transform my hobby into a business and have systems working for me on auto pilot.

It took a while to really understand the marketing but attending the conference gave me a great base to start with. Later, I hired and spoke to mentors who knew more than me on these subjects and by late 2011, I ranked #1 on all Google searches for my niche.

Pro tip #2

Spend time learning your craft and become the best at what you do. Differentiate yourself and do the opposite of what other programs do to stand out in your community.

There were countless hours of me observing club training sessions and seeing how players don’t get the attention they need to improve technically. This made me understand that I need to create something that gives the maximum amount of attention to each player in my program.

What sets our program apart?

  • I am accessible to parents 24/7 and treat our members like family
  • Players must try out to be accepted into the program (we don’t just take anyone)
  • Players have individualized programs based on the positions they play. They get the attention they need to personally grow
  • Group sessions are not crowded, we believe in a small player to coach ratio
  • Players are required to practice on their off days and are tested each week — this ensures improvement quickly
  • Parents look to our program for any club soccer-related questions
  • We attend players games and practices to see how they are really doing
  • Weekly articles and videos that cover important topics for parents and their children

Pro tip #3:

The moment you offer more value, people look to you as the expert in whatever niche you are in and in result you can charge premium prices for your services.

From Hobby to Business

The last 9 years I have grown from a hobby to a solid business that trains over 60 players on a monthly program and growing. l let the marketing systems run my business now and get around 90% of my new leads online. Now I can focus on the training and not worry about the complicated marketing that I struggled with early on.

Because our success over the last 9 years of creating a successful soccer academy from scratch, I decided I wanted to help other trainers across America have the same success and build premier sports training academies that benefit youth athletes. Our business, reaches 1000's of coaches every day through out podcast, books, youtube channel and through our consulting programs. 

The entire process of starting something from scratch is very difficult and is not for everyone. Looking back on the last 9 years I know it was worth the 80+ hour weeks because I really enjoy what I do for a living. Knowing what I know now about the business, I want to help other entrepreneurs learn how to run successful sports academies and love what they do while having a life of total freedom.

If you are a trainer who is considering starting something of your own…feel free to get started by clicking here

Coach Ben


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