• Bowie Matteson

What is Your Training Worth?

Putting a price on getting your kids moving.

It's time to get your kids on the path to long-term health and wellness. Fitness, you’ve decided, needs to be a part of their everyday life. But not just any fitness. You’ve heard stories from both ends of the youth training spectrum. There are the disorganized, poorly structured camps where kids come back complaining about being bored, getting into trouble and not wanting to go back.

Then there are the top-dollar facilities with impressive equipment and well-worded programs. You’re impressed by the coaches and their presentation but can’t really imagine forking over the 2-weeks paycheck that they’re asking for. So what is the happy medium? Does paying less mean you’re getting less? Should you sacrifice your child’s chance to play other sports or try other activities to afford top-notch training programs? For the former, probably. For the latter, probably not.

Keep in mind that when it comes to selecting a program it’s important to consider two things:

1. What are you looking for? vs. What are they offering?

2. What are they charging?

Let’s touch on the different components that go into quality training and what their value to you is.

First, we’ll start with the most important part of the training: the coach and support personnel. The coach is the crux of any program. They present the information, serve as a role model to the kids they lead and are the ones you trust to do right by your children. See my previous article about what to look for in a coach here.

Determining value relies heavily on the coach’s specialization and service. A more specialized, highly trained coach will charge more and target a more specific population to train. A less-specific program with a broader focus targeting a larger audience generally charges less. Knowing what you want will determine what to expect.

If socialization and basic motor skills are my goal I don’t need to pay half of my rent for the newest, cutting edge equipment. At the same time, if your child is trying to get stronger and hone in on some sport-specific skills, an hour of dodgeball and freeze tag probably won't cut it.

Your time and your money are valuable. Your child is priceless. Don’t entrust them to someone who isn’t worth their time or your money.

Personal conduct needs to matter as well, whether specialized or not. Are you coaches more interested in documenting the session to post to social media than actually delivering the information? I recognize that social media has become a part of developing a business, but not more than delivering a quality product. If the phone is getting in the way between the coach and your kids, you need a new coach.

Program style is another factor that determines how much you’ll pay and the service you’ll receive. Group training is a cost-effective way to get your kids working with other kids and getting the action they need. However, the more kids there are the greater the need for structure and organization. You can judge a coach’s skill in organization by how they manage a large group.

Also, depending on the coach-child ratio, this setting can cut into the quality of coaching your child receives. If a coach is constantly distracted by all of the moving parts (kids/equipment etc.) of his/her program, it takes away from the valuable feedback some of the kids may need in participating and getting the most out of some of the refined parts of the class.

Private and semi-private training is an excellent way to get personalized programs and more direct interaction with your coach. These 1-on-1 or small group sessions allow kids to get a lot more constructive feedback on their activities and allows coaches to deliver much more material. This style of class tends to cater more to older, more mature kids with specific goals. Much of sports-specific training happens in this setting. Be prepared to spend more for this type of training.

Once you’ve clarified what you’re interested in and found what fits best for your child’s needs, then comes deciding where and how much? Regardless of the coach, remember YOU, the parent and child, are the ones who decide whether what they deliver is worth what you’re paying. It doesn't matter if Coach D spent 3 years in the league and knows people who know people. If he can't connect with your son or daughter, you need to move on.

If I’m paying a lot of money, I want above and beyond service. Both my child and I need to feel very confident that the coach is delivering on their promises.

Remember, that dollar mark is dependent on your financial situation. But be cognizant of what the return on your investment is. Is your child enjoying their time? Are they coming home with new material to practice? Has joining class blossomed in to new interests and habits? Those are all things parents should feel confident about when it comes to paying a coach.

I’ve seen veteran, part-time coaches run stellar fitness programs out of their garage. I’ve also seen former professional athletes push bogus, over-priced programs out of top-tier facilities. Parents need to be on their toes when it comes to selecting the right program for their kids. Know what you’re looking for and come ready to ask your coach questions. Your time and your money are valuable. Your child is priceless. Don’t entrust them to someone who isn’t worth their time or your money.

Like what you’re reading? Share it! If you know someone interested in getting their child more active, share this with them. Parents, teachers and coaches alike, get the word out on keeping the new generation moving. If you’ve got questions or comments or a topic you’d like to hear more about, reach out on the website or to my email

Happy Training!

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