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Why The Sports and Fitness Industry is Here to Stay | Stories From Our Team

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This article was written by Katherine Heidenberger, SMB Sales Executive at Upper Hand.

Prior to coming to Upper Hand, I had the opportunity to work in the boutique fitness industry for 7 years.  In this time, I was a Senior Cycling Instructor and lead instructor operations for 5 studios in the DC Metropolitan area.  I loved this job for so many reasons, the biggest reason being the people.  The clients that rode in classes, the staff that worked so hard in the studios, the individuals who auditioned and trained to be instructors… I had the opportunity to meet and connect with so many different types of people on a daily basis.

But we all had one thing in common. 

We craved feel good energy and the positive impact of human connection.  Because when class would start, the lights would dim, the music would turn up… a feel good contagious energy would consume you and the room, regardless of the type of day you were having before arriving to class.  This contagious energy, these feel good endorphins… they are truly addicting.  They will keep you coming back, no matter what. And because of this… regardless of a global pandemic and the world flipping upside down, the industry is here to stay.  

 

Fitness Creates Connection

Over that time, I worked closely with instructors and staff who came into our studio with a desire to teach, connect, and create something special within their community. I quickly observed that most, if not all, fitness instructors had something in common.  They were hustlers. They taught because they wanted to make a positive impact on someone’s day, week, or year. Instructors showed up to perform when they were tired or had a bad day at work. They thrived off of genuine human connection. They were in it for the mission, and not for the money.  The instructors did what they needed to do to make ends meet, rarely with a 401k or optimal health benefits.

Fast forward to March 2020 when everyone’s world changed.  Many industries were drastically affected by COVID-19, and the fitness community was no exception.  When the pandemic hit, instructors pivoted… switching to virtual platforms, learning how to use Zoom, offering free classes, and fighting to stay connected to their clients and stay true to their passion — many times regardless of the profitability. That instructor hustler mentality was as strong as ever.  Not only have instructors fought to stay connected, but we have also seen a drastic rise in online platforms such as Peloton, Tonal, Obe, Sculpt Society, etc.  The industry as a whole is too strong to fade into the distance. So instead, they will continue to pivot, to find ways to connect, and evolve.  

 

Sports Keep Kids Connected

Through this pandemic, sports have also remained consistent.  Through my conversations with coaches and business owners, it’s shown that kids want, need, and will continue to play sports.  If kids were participating in school virtually, this was their only time to get out of the house and have an outlet.  In a time of chaos in the world, sports remained constant.  Having a coach, practice, and games to turn to in the midst of a pandemic provided a sense of comfort to kids.  It has been their outlet, giving structure, discipline, and an opportunity to stay connected. 

 

Software Makes It All Possible

As much as sports and fitness is about all of the “feel good stuff” like creating human connection, motivating and inspiring individuals, and building community… sport scheduling software and data are essential when it comes to providing this experience for clients.  Parents need a user friendly way to book their kids a lesson with their favorite coach, to sign their child up for a seasonal sports camp, and to keep the kids immersed in an activity that they love and need.  Coaches and facility owners need data in order to make informed decisions about their business and how to properly scale to reach as many athletes and clients as they hope to. Fitness studio owners need numbers and reports to look at in order to make business decisions around class schedules, instructor seniority, pay structure, class fees, etc.  

This is where Upper Hand comes in. Software, specifically… our sports scheduling software was built to help you grow from where you are at today.  We are a company that promises to deliver because we evolve based on industry feedback and data. Period.  

Our software is the most forward-thinking management software that removes the complications that come with running a business.  Upper Hand enables coaches and owners to refocus their valuable time and money towards growth.  Fitness studios, sports facilities, and sports performance training academies of all sizes use Upper Hand’s scheduling software in order to operate more efficiently, increase customer satisfaction, and make more informed business decisions.  Not to mention, this frees up time for coaches and owners to get back to building their communities.

I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with Upper Hand’s CEO, Kevin MacCauley.  He shared a quote with me that stuck.  “Price is only an issue in the absence of value.”  Well, if software is invaluable when it comes to you scaling your business, reaching more kids, and making more informed business decisions on a day to day business… What are you waiting for?  

Schedule a demo of Upper Hand today.