Every gym in America has had its share of trouble recruiting good coaches and class instructors. Whether located in rural America, where there may be little competition, but few candidates or in a big city where there are many gyms competing for the same coaching labor pool, finding enough good quality coaches is difficult.
Start Early and Look for Young Coaching Talent
One solution, or at least partial solution, is to grow your own. Instituting a coach-in-training program (C.I.T) can solve many of your both long and short-term labor requirements. Within your gym program, there are likely already a number of suitable candidates for such a training program from which you both can benefit.
Start Them As Early As 13
Teens from about 13 years of age and up can be designated as a coaches-in-training. They will go through a training process and receive a C.I.T. shirt that they will wear when they are volunteering.
Hire for Personality
While gymnastics experience is a valuable commodity, we also look for enthusiastic volunteer candidates with an out-going personality (the Disney test – would they hire them at Disneyland?). Teens who love the sport and you love to work with children make perfect volunteers.
Volunteers for Every Program
Volunteers assist staff with their tiny tots, gymnastics, cheerleading and other classes as well as gymnastics birthday parties. Volunteers also get an opportunity to help at special events such as shows, parades, open gym and nighttime gym parties.
Establish Long-Term Training Program
All volunteers must volunteer a minimum of 2-4 hours a week as well as attend all training sessions, coach’s meetings and meeting for C.I.T’s. Over a period of time (from age 13 – 18), there is plenty of time for training these teens in the exact way you want your program to be run.
The Only Long-Term Labor Solution
While this is no quick fix for labor shortages, it is a long-term source and pool of labor from which you can pick and choose the best of the volunteers to eventually hire as regular coaches in your program. Some may go away to college or move away, but some will stay in the area and some will return to the area.
Your Volunteers Benefit
There are benefits to the volunteers as well. This is great job experience! All interested teens must fill out an application. Participants enroll in the C.I.T program by turning in an application and going through an interview process. This gives them valuable experience in the job market. They also will be able to use this as work experience and use you as a reference on a rÃ©sumÃ©.
Provide Additional Rewards
You may find it desirable to reward C.I.T’s in other ways with monetary gifts and other rewards to make this an even better deal for them. Remember, you want them to want to work for you in the future.
C.I.T. is the Program for Me
For many reasons, this is a great program and every gym ought to be using it in some form. It decreases your pupil-teacher ratio, provides a pool of well-trained gymnastics coaches who know your system intimately and provides an extra labor pool for all of your work in the gym.