Anybody else a little frustrated when they log into Jackrabbit or iClass and see the number of athletes continuously dropping through June and July? If so, you’re among good company in this group.

It’s pretty common to lose 20-25 percent of your total enrollments during summer months. Maybe you’re a large rec program, or the Pop Warner teams took back their kids you had for Spring, or kids are on vacation, or maybe it’s even just because you have a large half-year program and their season ended. 

In fact, if you simply accept that summer will be lower in revenue and enrollments, you’re failing to take the massive opportunity for growth in 2024.

Summer might be my lowest months of enrollment, but you better believe I push every single summer to get new athletes in the doors. Provided that we can enroll 30-40 new kids each summer, growth is guaranteed the following fall. Those who drop for summer inevitably come back in August or September, and if I retain even half of the kids who tried our program for the first time in July, I’m up 15-20 kids by fall. (I’m using smaller numbers here so it’s easier to connect, but despite the challenging summer months, my gym has enrolled 28 kids in the last 30 days. Two of those were re-enrollments. Another 26 were brand new athletes!)

I recently talked to a gym owner who I adore. She’s spunky, energetic and her families are lucky to have her fighting to improve her gym every single week. She said something that struck me though…

“We only get a couple of warm-weather months a year, and no one sticks around this area in the summer, so I lose a lot of recreational athletes.” 

I can understand that. I live near Lake of the Ozarks, and a lot of people have lakehouses and visit resorts for weeks at a time to live the lake-rat life.

But I wasn’t going to let her get away with that.

I said, “I can understand that some people may leave for the whole summer, but do you think the vast majority can afford to vacation for the whole summer and take that kind of time off?” 

“No, I guess it’s probably not that many people,” she said.

“So where is everyone going?”

That’s when we identified the real problem. People aren’t leaving because it’s summer.

Like many other gym owners, she’s running her program in sessions. Their session ends in early-May and athletes have to re-register for the next session, which spans the summer. 

I also recently spoke to a gym owner who had the same problem with a large number of drops in the summer. After more investigation, it turns out they redo their class schedule each year. They do this right after tryouts so they can first place the proper day and time for their teams, and then place the classes around those times based on what openings are remaining.

It essentially requires recreational athletes who may be happy in a 6 p.m. class on Tuesday to potentially move to a 4 p.m. class on a Wednesday. 

Two weeks prior to that conversation, I spoke to a gym owner who was seeing big drops for the summer and was considering canceling a number of classes for the summer. She said she had just 2-3 kids in each class, and it wasn’t feasible to continue those classes with her current payroll. 

I asked her what would happen with the coach scheduled at that time if she canceled those classes. She said it’s likely she wouldn’t need the coach at all. 

“What would happen if, instead of canceling the class, you spent the next two weeks focusing on filling the 3-4 remaining slots in each class? Not only would you have full classes again, but you’d be able to continue maintaining a regular schedule for that coach!”

“Yes,” she said. “I can totally do that. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it that way.” 

Is it easy to get new kids in the door in the summer? Not always. Is it impossible? Definitely not! There are whole groups of kids who play school sports and participate in school activities who would never have time during the school year to take classes, but they have the time in the summer!

I’m going to go a little dark here with a quote from one of my favorite shows…so bear with me.

In the show, “Suits,” Harvey Specter is a kick-butt lawyer in New York City. He’s known for being just a little daring, but he also wins … a lot. He said a quote in one of the first seasons that has always stuck with me.

“What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one, or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other things.” 

The point is, sometimes we think we’ve only got one choice, when in reality, we’ve got hundreds of possible choices to make in a challenging situation. 

At the recent Dallas conference, I sat down and did some serious troubleshooting with a lot of gym owners – some Academy, and some not. One, who had been in the Academy for some time, allowed me to review their big sheet. This is a spreadsheet where all their income and expenses are tracked, and we can both identify problems and see where they may be leaving money on the table. I started asking questions. 

“It looks like you made almost $10,000 more in February than in March. Why is that?” 

“Well,” he said, “February is when the fees were due for end-of-season events.”

“OK,” I said. “That makes sense. So, let’s play a little game each month. Let’s say you’re collecting money in June for uniforms, and it’s $10,000 more than normal. I want you to start thinking now what you can do in July that would put you at that same monthly revenue.” His eyebrows raised. 

“Uniform fees aren’t all that profitable, but I imagine you have some level of profit built in, right?” 

He nodded.

“Then, in July, what could you do that would bring you $10,000 so your monthly incoming revenue is steady?” I asked.

“We could host a camp for the local high schools,” he said.

“Yes!” I replied. “That’s exactly what I’m looking for. Then, what about August? Could you cross-sell a camp to train high school coaches in stunting and tumbling – and then maybe you could sell them on a tumbling class specific for their team for the season?”

“Yeah, totally!” he said. 

“There you go. Then you’ve got June, July and August figured out. Now we just need to make a plan for the rest of the year!”

It’s that simple. When you feel like there is only one option, you actually have hundreds of options. Sometimes you need someone else’s creativity. You might need someone else to objectively look at your situation and give you the honest truth. Truly – most gym owners just need a kickstart (coincidentally, that’s the name of our first level in the Next Gen Academy, because we realize that when you first start working with a coach, if you take it seriously, it will truly kickstart your journey into a profitable, growing program). 

So, if your summer is looking bleak, don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t allow yourself an “out” because this is what summer looks like for everyone. Maybe during these months you’ll need to shift your focus from the number of athletes to the total revenue collected that month. That’s totally fine! Ideally, you’re collecting revenue on items that have a good profit margin in the first place too! 

If you could use a kickstart in your gym, whether it’s help identifying the vision of your future program or a jump start on building more profitable programs and growth in your enrollments this summer, head over to, and let’s chat!