Last week I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post from a frustrated parent. She was looking for advice (or maybe just venting) about her gym’s lack of planning. She said she was frustrated having to block off up to a month’s worth of weekends at a time as her gym told them to prepare for upcoming practices, choreography, etc. but failed to tell them the details of which weekends it would be until the last minute. 

As a gym owner myself, I understand why this is happening. When you’re working day in and day out in your gym, it’s hard to plan ahead. If you coach all the classes, and you are making all the social media posts, you’re probably exhausted. You’re answering every email and your brain is full all the time. When the staff has a question, they come to you. When parents have a concern, they come to you. When the CPA needs your bank statements, you get the email. When the deadline to register for a competition is right around the corner, you’re the one dropping everything else to get it in. 

I’ve lived that life. I also had a full-time job when I did it. One weekend a month, I was in the Air Force serving as a reservist. In that chapter of life, I also had four kids under the age of 8. It was not easy for me, and I’m sure it’s not easy for you either. The hardest part of all, and the ones you may recognize the least, is that your athletes are feeling your stress. Your customers are also victims of this method of operation. 

But life doesn’t have to be this way for you. It also doesn’t have to be this way for your athletes and parents. 

In the Next Gen Academy, we work with gym owners to earn their freedom. That means we teach you how to systemize the various things you’re doing in your gym. We teach you how to hire and retain a great staff. We help you develop on-boarding and training systems so your staff are capable and empowered to take things off your plate. We teach you how to maintain accountability for your staff (more on that tomorrow). 

You don’t have to do this alone. One phone call and one decision to act could be the very thing that turns everything around for you. This one decision could be the thing that makes you love your business again. It’s hard to love it when it’s requiring you to sacrifice time with your family, your friends and your happiness. To book a call and learn more about the NG Academy, visit

It’s possible the parent who posted is unreasonable. Maybe she’s wanting to know the performance times NOW for a competition that doesn’t happen until February…but that’s not really what it sounded like. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but the real issue is that I’ve experienced this firsthand. I was working a thousand hours a week and I couldn’t even think about next month until I got through this month. The problem is, we’re asking parents to put this sport first, aren’t we? We’re saying they are required to be at practices and competitions, but we’re doing a poor job planning and communicating. 

So how can you get better at this right now? (I’ll give you a few tips…though I’ll warn you a personalized coach can help you far better than the 300 words below, so don’t forget to book that call…)

  • Choreographers and Clinicians: We put out choreography dates in our packets. That means I have to plan ahead and nail these down with the choreographer by Feb. 10 at the latest. We put this out as a Save the Date graphic as well. About 6 weeks before choreography, we ask families to submit all vacation dates they know of for the year. We then work with the choreographer to get the exact times and specific days each team will be. We put this out no less than four weeks before choreography. 
  • Extra Practices: Unless there is a major injury or weather-related cancellation, we give at least two weeks notice for any extra practice. I once had a girl break her finger the week before a competition. Obviously I couldn’t give two weeks, but because I usually do, parents had tons of grace. If there’s an ice storm on Monday/Tuesday before a competition, we immediately make a plan and put it out. If someone can’t make it because they had a pre-planned event, that’s OK. I respect their time. (Usually parents make the sacrifice because they know it was out of our control.) 
  • Competition Schedule: Mine has been out for a few weeks. I can tell you a couple EPs didn’t have their schedule out when I was ready to release. I called and spoke to a rep. I told them my schedule released in a week and I had hoped to put their event on it, but I couldn’t do so unless I had it by a certain date. One got me their dates and made it on my schedule. The other didn’t and we picked another event. Maybe you’re not in an area with a ton of choices and you can’t do that. COMMUNICATE that to your parents. Give them all the other dates and make that event a TBA. 

What this really comes down to is spending the time to sit down and look at the calendar. What’s coming up and what do you need to plan for? We announced our Nov. 5, 2023 showcase in December 2022. We announced November team pictures two weeks ago. We have all fall events easily compiled on a Save the Date graphic and pinned to the team page. By August we’ll likely be working on finalizing the date for our May banquet and team placements. Am I rushing this season? Heck no! It’s so important to me that we do a great job though, that I’m going to plan ahead and communicate that to the parents who also like to plan ahead. For those who don’t, no worries. The information is available once they go looking. For those who do plan ahead, they are happy. 

Planning ahead won’t just help your parents, it will also give you freedom to know you can delegate important things to staff and they’ll have things under control. Yesterday one of our Academy members posted a fantastic testimonial in our group. She posted that they hosted a camp this week for 18 kids and didn’t work a day of it herself. This client has kids of her own and needed to find some freedom from her gym. Planning ahead allowed her to systemize the event and train a staff member on the event itself. She worked with her coach to get to this point. Can you do this without a coach? Absolutely. Can you learn a handspring without a coach? Also yes…but how much longer will it take? How many times will you try to do that handspring and land on your head. Without a coach, how will you know if you’ve taken the right progressions, have the right technique in that handstand, have adequate shoulder flexibility or enough core strength? You can learn by trial and error, but why would you? Why wouldn’t you hire a coach to get you there that much more efficiently.

Not sure you’d even have time to use a coach? I’ve heard that one too. A lot….

I have a few friends in the industry who I used to recommend to Next Gen. They were always super interested, but too busy. Their daughter was getting married, their son was about to graduate, their sister was coming to visit, their director just quit….all the things. So, I said, “OK, I’ll check back in six months.” Would you be surprised to hear that in six months they still had some reason they couldn’t commit? They truly wanted to, but they didn’t think they could commit the time to it. 

So I ask you. What happens if you got pregnant? Would you find the time? I bet you would. What happens if your best friend were sick. Would you find the time to help care for him or her? I bet you would. What if your water heater broke and flooded your whole basement and you had to spend days cleaning it up, buying and installing a new water heater (yes…that one comes from experience.) Would you just leave the basement to rot and mold because you didn’t have time? Would you take cold showers in the meantime? No! Of course not! You’d make time, because we make time for the things that are important to us. In fact, one of our first modules in the Academy is how to find the time to work on your business, and then the best part – you COMMIT to doing the work at that time. I even host “office hours” every couple weeks so our Academy members can meet up and work on projects for an hour without distractions. I got a ton done this week with some intentional focus. 

If you’re dropping the ball and exhausted, book a call. We can help.