As they grew, EYG felt the weight of the tedious admin tasks they faced every day. They also wanted to elevate their clients' scheduling experience with an all-encompassing software that could help them scale their business.
Moved to Upper Hand and began streamlining their operations with registration, communication, membership, and resource management tools within a single platform.
EYG Basketball now operates out of a facility, training over 2,500 athletes of all levels. Upper Hand has made their training more accessible to their clients, while saving an estimated 10 hours per week.
Building a thriving sports business doesn’t happen overnight. To get it right, owners and operators need to devote their time, resources, and energy to growing their brand. No one knows this better than Galen Harkness, owner and founder of EYG Basketball.
EYG Basketball is a basketball training academy and facility based outside of Denver, Colorado. This business trains powerful and promising young athletes and gives them the tools they need to achieve great success in the sport.
“I believe skills development is the number one way to elevate a player’s game. Our purpose is to provide basketball players with high quality skills training and player development, while also mentoring them along the way,” says Galen.
Galen Harkness founded EYG Basketball in 2014 alongside Jordan Long, and they have since grown their program into a power house, coaching and mentoring over 2,500 basketball players from youth to the collegiate level.
But, it didn’t start this way. When Galen and Jordan first came together, EYG Basketball was still operating out of rented school gyms. However, athletes were coming from all over the Denver metropolitan area to train with their skills coaches. Before long, EYG had made a name for itself as the premier basketball academy in the area.
Initially, athletes would contact Galen or Jordan via text, phone call, or email to schedule training. At the end of a session, they were primarily money collectors, engaging in conversation about payment rather than the athlete’s development. As the EYG basketball brand began to grow, the scheduling and registration processes became even more laborious and time intensive. Not to mention the transactional nature of conversations was awkward and inconvenient.
“Collecting money is an uncomfortable thing. We want people to know we’re there for their kids. We’re there to help these athletes chase their dreams, so that can create a little tension or awkwardness between the client and us. And honestly it’s an uncomfortable situation.”
With a growing number of athletes attracted to EYG and their programs, time became even more critical. Galen found himself spending hours each week trying to organize the back-end business processes and effectively communicate with his athletes.
“When I first started, I would spend a couple of hours a day working on things like trying to figure out how we’re going to get people to register and how we’re going to collect payments.”
Communication became even more important for Galen as he continued to expand his reach. From scheduling changes to new programs, Galen and his team were looking to alleviate the headache of managing multiple communication channels to relay important information and spread awareness about their camps and clinics.
Galen and Jordan had both invested significant energy and resources to build a brand with an emphasis on elevating a player’s game; but now, they were looking to elevate EYG Basketball to bring that brand front and center in the athlete experience. In 2015, they sought to gain a competitive advantage with a sleek scheduling experience and all-in-one software to help them scale their business, leading them to Upper Hand.
EYG Basketball was initially drawn to Upper Hand for its streamlined registration tools. However, as the EYG brand continued to expand, the need for an all-in-one solution became even more evident. Upper Hand has empowered EYG Basketball to dream big and turn ideas into reality.
In 2017, EYG Basketball moved into the Sport Stable, a state-of-the-art, multi-sport facility home to 3 full-size basketball courts. With an increase in resources, EYG Basketball was able to accommodate additional coaching staff, growing to 7 skills trainers.
Today, EYG has a database of over 2,500 clients, meaning effective communication channels have become critical in sharing information and training updates. EYG Basketball leverages Upper Hand’s contact management and marketing tools to reach specific groups and send messages to their rosters ahead of training sessions.
Not only did Upper Hand alleviate these challenges, but it also uncovered new opportunities and added benefits for EYG basketball to grow and elevate their athlete experience.
Upper Hand’s streamlined scheduling platform allowed Galen and Jordan to organize their programs, training, and camps, and ultimately direct their clients to a single link to sign up. Not only did this increase convenience and opportunity; it also reduced time spent with back and forth scheduling communications.
“I don’t have to, and don’t ever, answer phone calls, emails, or text messages about how to sign up for our programs or register for a membership. It tells me that the software is working because I’m not having to guide our clients through that very much.” said Galen.
In addition, Upper Hand’s all-in-one platform has allowed Galen to refocus his attention on growing EYG Basketball. Galen estimates that Upper Hand saves him at least 10 hours a week on administrative tasks:
“When we first started, it took a lot of time to create programs, get the word out, set up registration, and figure out how we’re going to collect money. Now, we can literally have a program up and running in 10 minutes with Upper Hand.”
Once they were on the software, opportunities truly became endless for EYG Basketball. While their seasonal clinics had been increasingly successful, they were looking for a way to help athletes develop a little more long-term.
“We would host a six week program in the spring and another one in the fall. The sessions would be really good, but we get to the end of the six weeks and we may not see that athlete again. We were looking for something to help fill the void in between.”
This sparked an idea.
In June, EYG Basketball began offering high-end memberships to offer one-on-one training sessions: an idea that was brought to life through Upper Hand. This has not only introduced a new source of recurring revenue, but also led to an increase in client retention.
“Since adding one-on-one training memberships, there hasn’t been a ton of turnover. Our clients have been much more consistent. They’ll jump in to try this for a couple of months, then several months later, they’re still in it. I’ve also seen a shift in that the parents like how they’re investing in their kids and helping them develop beyond the court.”
Over the first few months, EYG Basketball saw many current athletes purchasing memberships. In recent months, however, they have seen an increase in referrals leading to new athletes looking for this type of one-on-one training and development. Additionally, a new partnership with a local AAU team has led to an influx of new athletes looking to make it to the next level. With the flexibility of Upper Hand’s software, EYG Basketball had the capacity to scale their business rapidly as well as segment their marketing and communications in new ways.
Galen credits Upper Hand with this uptake in memberships, camps, and training.
“Upper Hand has provided a simple gateway to our families and to the people around us. It’s helped us put some system structures in place, and it’s allowed us to plan and program some things for the future as well.”
Galen still believes they’ve only scratched the surface on what they can do on Upper Hand. As a result of this long-term partnership, EYG Basketball has been able to dream big and continue to leverage new features within the software to scale alongside their growth.
Over the next few months, they are eager to leverage additional elements within Upper Hand’s product suite, including resource management, customizable memberships, and increased staff autonomy.
EYG Basketball is anticipating the addition of 2 more courts to their facility this spring. They plan to utilize Upper Hand’s resource management tools to maximize usage and revenue within their facility. In addition, Galen is eager to give his coaches more autonomy over their schedules, allowing clients to book sessions directly with a skills trainer.
When it comes to leveraging new features within Upper Hand, Galen believes that Upper Hand influences his business decisions and sparks ideas, empowering him to elevate his brand.
Endless opportunities coupled with an elevated experience continues to leave Galen thinking, “what’s next?
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