Starting a CrossFit Kids Program?

Starting a CrossFit Kids Program? Here’s what I’ve learned:

Our Wodify Guest Blog Series is part of our initiative to open our doors to the Wodify fitness community around the world, so they may share their experience, news, and advice.

Guest author Stephanie Vetro is a certified L1, L2, and CrossFit Kids coach at CrossFit Main Line

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In 2013, the Crossfit Kids program at my affiliate had failed. It was done. My kids and I were devastated. I approached the owner and asked him how we could keep it going. His answer was simple: Get certified and then run the program.

Whoa.

I agreed, partly because after doing CrossFit for years, I’d adopted the shared mindset that makes us believe we can do anything. Five years later, our CrossFit Kids program is thriving, with over 140 kids enrolled at two gyms. Not to mention, our program increased 250% in sales over the course of a year when we adhered to a dedicated plan. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Tip 1: Trust the process

If you’re an affiliate owner, consider hiring a coach to be your CrossFit Kids Program Manager, because it’s a bigger job than you think. Give them the freedom and opportunity to take chances. Give the program time to grow and for word of mouth to spread.
If you’re a coach interested in running a CrossFit Kids program, you have to devote yourself. You have to get out there and meet people: coaches, neighbors, teachers, and organizers of sports teams. Talk to parents - inside the gym and out. Use social media. Anyone who wants to listen, talk to them! The Program Manager will be the face and name everyone must know when they want to sign up.

CrossFit Kids is a business, so you have to write up a business plan and a mission statement. This will help you set goals and stay on track, and will give the box owner confidence that you can deliver. Be sure to include details about:

Programming, Schedule, Price, and Expectations/Goals/Deliverables

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Tip 2: CrossFit Kids can’t be an afterthought

Much like boot camps, personal training, or Olympic weightlifting classes, CrossFit Kids needs to have separate, dedicated programming, not just modified versions of the adult program.

These athletes deserve the same devotion, loyalty, and time that adult athletes receive - maybe more! Just like any youth sport, CrossFit Kids needs to be treated seriously so kids have fun, learn to move well, and remain injury free.

Tip 3: Understand your audience, (Part 1)

The reality is that you’re selling to two people: the child who will participate and the parent who will write the check. A CrossFit Kids class tends to be made up of non-traditional young athletes who haven’t found a sport that resonates with them yet. For that reason, parents are excited their children are showing interest in any physical program, much less one with so many health benefits. They are easier to convince, but the price needs to make sense to them.
When figuring out price, look for comparable non-traditional fitness classes in your area like karate, dance, and yoga. We’ve even had athletes who were fencers, snowboarders, and skiers. Consider the cost of those programs and use them as a starting place when determining what you will charge.
Additionally, CrossFit Kids isn’t the same as a month-to-month recurring adult membership at your box. If you schedule your program like you would a soccer or basketball season, parents will have a much easier time understanding the time commitment and price.

Tip 4: Understand your audience, (Part 2)

Even though they’re not the ones paying, you still have to respect your young athlete’s opinions. When they first come in, I treat them exactly as I would an adult trying CrossFit for the first time. I ask them about themselves, their interests, and what they hope to get out of our program. Once a child is enthusiastic about any hobby, sport, or interest, parents will follow suit. The next step is making CrossFit Kids a true option, not just a diversion or a time filler.

Tip 5: Design a winning program

Besides promoting teamwork, good sportsmanship, and providing benchmarks of improvement, the programming needs to be fun.
Consider a theme for the session. Last season, my classes focused on improving our one rep heavies. As such, we did a lot of strength training, which the kids were excited about. I let parents know that classes are capped because we value safety, we focus on instruction, and we like to personalize our training as much as possible.   
Also, encourage parents to drop their kids off and you’ll take it from there. You don’t need anyone coaching from the sidelines, especially if there are heavy weights being thrown around!

Organized leagues, school sports, and club teams are currently thriving. There’s no reason why CrossFit Kids can’t be on the same level. Offer your young athletes the same respect you would adult athletes, and impress upon them and their parents that your program will spark a lifelong love and understanding of their own health and fitness.


Want to an easy way to keep all your programs, memberships, and classes organized? Wodify Core is the tool for you!

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