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Winning the Confidence of Parents

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Don't underestimate the power of rapport. For a parent who drives to class (during rush hour) twice a week and then pays the bill for lessons each month, it's easy to see why they might want to take a break from martial arts class.  This is where good communication makes all of the difference.  Use these three tips to keep in rapport so you will keep your retention rate high.

#1 Sincere Praise

A parent can sniff out false praise, generic praise and forced praise.  You need to become an expert at sincere praise.  This is not done in your waiting room or at the front door as the parent is about to leave.  It’s done on the floor.  When you are watching the class spend the vast majority of your time looking for the good in your students.  What are they really good at?  What do I like most about their attitude?  Who has stepped up their effort today?  Who is leading by example?  Who is making corrections?  Who is concentrating and tapping into deep practice?  This type of thinking has a positive vibe that your students and parents will feel.

#2 Associate a Character Trait

Once you have noticed the students who are worthy of praise and have identified the behavior that is worthy of praise the next step is to link that behavior to a character trait.  This is important step must not be ignored.  A parent often does not know what is happening on a martial arts floor because they are not feeling what the student doing the drill is feeling.  They don’t know if their child is feeling confidence, they just see them moving deliberately.  They don’t know if their teen is feeling their self worth grow they only see them breaking a piece of pine with their foot.  An instructor should communicate the character development that is occurring so the parent can start to empathize with the progress their valued family member is making.

“Your daughters confidence is growing, she partnered up with the biggest kid”

“Paz is detail orientated and ambitious, she always asks me for homework”

“Garret is a compassionate young man.  He always trains at a safe pace with others.”

#3 Every class – Everyday

I forget to do this sometimes.  So does my staff.  We all need reminding.  Do this every class. Every day.  Without exception.  Don’t beat yourself up if you forgot yesterday, but do it today in every class.  It’s these small (seemingly insignificant) gestures that keep people from hurting themselves, hurting others or giving up.  It’s these small (seemingly insignificant) gestures that create confidence, attract power and move the momentum forward.

Send us an email to And let us know what city you are in. If we don’t have an academy in your city, we have a network of friends, and we can put you in touch with what you need: professional support for a competent, structured, effective martial arts program.

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