Beautiful Games Sport and Fitness Coaching

There are few better sources of job satisfaction than overseeing and playing a major role in the personal development of another. Gareth Samuel investigates how franchise owners of sports and fitness franchises combine heightened job satisfaction with an impressive return on investment to achieve a happy working lifestyle.

For many of us, reaching that age of realisation where the prospect of becoming a professional athlete is a physical impossibility is a largely bitter experience. It is often at this point in time that the truly dedicated look at other opportunities to work within the sporting industry. Many register on academic courses of questionable credibility to continue the dream of being paid to play sports. Many look at coaching too. However one area that is often overlooked – which really holds value – is sports and fitness franchises.

Sports coaching franchises offer investors the opportunity to develop their own business quickly and lucratively through a pre-determined and proven business model. A-Star Sports, one of the most popular and successful sports coaching franchises in the UK, has enabled many entrepreneurs to become incredibly successful business people. The company has been built upon coaching 10 separate ‘core sports’ which are basketball, hockey, cricket, football, rounders, rugby, tennis, volleyball, dodgeball and handball in fitting with the company’s ethos of making sports available to all at all levels.

One A-star Sports franchise owner, Leo King of Colchester and North East Essex chose to forsake his high-flying career in the manufacturing industry in order to pursue a dream career in sports coaching. He says: “I’d been coaching eight-year-olds with my son’s football team and it started to dawn on me that I really loved it. I got so much out of it that in the end, the decision made itself, even though it was so major. My decision was between carrying on doing what I had been doing for years, working in the corporate world and stressing about achieving targets, or opening horizons for children and promoting their well-being. I also think it is important for children to have appropriate male role models.

“In my football teams there can be a danger that, because the team is finite, some children will be excluded. With A-Star Sports, there are 10 different disciplines, so children have a huge range of choice about activities in which they can excel.”

Clearly for Leo, it was the job satisfaction of keeping children involved in sports that he wanted to pursue to potentially improve the young lives of children in his community. One of the UK’s largest sports coaching franchises is Premier Sport. This business boasts the deliverance of 20 different sports to more than 150,000 students through schools, local authorities and generally within local communities across Britain. What makes franchises such as these so appealing to investors is the comparatively low initial investment fee combined with the job satisfaction of genuinely changing lives.

A spokesperson for the brand commented: “We are unique in our market as we evidence the trading history of both ourselves and our network. We pride ourselves on being open and transparent and by doing so, our business partners share our values vision and educational ethos.” Often investors are wary when taking on a business with a low investment level that they will not get the return on investment. With a sports coaching franchise such as FootieBugs, Premier Sport or A-Star Sports there are centralised systems put into place to facilitate the retention of students as well as gaining new business. This allows franchise owners to concentrate on running their businesses through management and marketing.

FootieBugs has the endorsement of many Premier League footballers, such as Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor and Everton’s Gareth Barry, and as a result it continues to grow both in stature as a business and notoriety as a brand. The return on investment it can offer franchise owners, therefore, is excellent. The brand advertises that each FootieBugs territory has an average of 250 schools within it. If a franchise owner can get 10 schools to participate in the FootieBugs service then the earnings potential is well over £30,000 per year.

The emergence of sports coaching franchises such as these have, in many ways, come from a societal need for more sports opportunities at grass roots level, both in schools and in local communities. This is something that governments are acutely aware of. Christina Curry, writes in her column for 21st Century Learning, “In a recent study of primary teachers, it was found that many were unable to fit in the mandatory hours across all subject areas, with most participants admitting that PE was the first to suffer.” It is well documented that there is a lack of PE teachers (particularly male teachers in smaller schools) who are willing to provide children with much needed physical activity at a crucial young age – it is therefore the children who lose out. This has enabled an opportunity to arise for sports coaching franchises such as the ones above to gain business providing these afterschool sports clubs. This is where much of the business for sports coaching franchise owners is gained.

Franchising is perfectly suited to sports coaching as an industry as it allows for structured coaching and nationwide business development. As a relatively new concept, these businesses are only now beginning to flourish and so striking while the iron is hot, so to speak, will likely pay dividends for the right investors. If you are in the market for a change of career that provides a solid return on investment as well as job satisfaction in abundance, sports coaching should be one area at the forefront of your mind.