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Retain Your Athletes Through COVID-19

BY Menachem Brodie

Now is more important than ever for your athletes to feel appreciated & heard. Use these empathy practices to keep your athletes committed to your coaching.

As coaches, we have an incredible opportunity to help and share our knowledge with those we coach. It’s a big part of what drew us into the world of coaching. With a growing number of states and countries moving to home quarantine and lockdown, your athletes and clients need you more than ever.

This is a time for connection and deepening of relationships. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with nearly anyone around the world: from those who live across town to those on the other side of the earth.

Your Concerns Are Valid…

Some of the coaches whom I work with, either in their chosen sport or in their business, have shared their concern about client retention. 

“I’m really worried that everyone will stop working with me.”

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to coach people unless I see them in person. If we go into quarantine or shelter-in-place, I’ll lose all my business.”

While these concerns are real, during our time of quarantine and lockdowns, NOW is a massive opportunity to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with those we coach and grow our business (long term) by doing so. Now is the time to be a leader, in the truest sense of the word.

…But There Are Ways to Help

LEAD your clients and athletes! Don’t just throw some free workouts online. Your athletes and clients don’t need you or anyone else telling them what to do. They need a leader. They need someone listening to their struggles but also holding them accountable. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do need to support them through this time.

Here are a few ideas to help you not only retain your clients but also GROW your business by focusing on those you are already working with.

Ask them what they need.

 This may seem very basic, and even a bit silly, but this is where we should start. ASK your clients what exactly they need from you, and how you can help them right now. This lets them know that you CARE. If you’re on the Human Vortex Training Newsletter email list, you likely received an email from me recently that was very straightforward, instead of the usual newsletter.

No fluff or personal interpretation of “these difficult times” or “being stuck at home.”

The email just asked:

“Hey, What do you need from me right now?”

That’s it. 

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone who opened that email understood the message: I care. I’m not going to throw stuff (free workouts, sales, etc.) your way. Just tell me what you need from me right now. Feel free to borrow this for your athletes.

Listen to what they say.

The answers I got varied immensely from what you may have expected. Sure, I got a handful of “How should/do I adjust my training now that X has happened,” but there were far more responses of “I really just want to talk to someone,” “I could really use a hug” and even “Nothing right now. I’m reading your new book, so I’m just going to try what’s in there while I have all this free time.”

There is immense power in empathetically listening to what your athletes, clients, and staff members need right now.


It seems like nearly every personal trainer and coach on the social channels is posting “free workouts.” While this may seem like a good way to build your business ecosystem, engagement with your CURRENT audience will go much further.

Start with Facebook Live or YouTube Live. Let your athletes, clients and staff know what day and time that you’ll be on, and explain that you’ll address some of the concerns or questions they asked. Gear it 100% to your current clients and staff.

I’ve been doing this the last few days with my “(Almost) Daily Coaches Vlog” on the HVTraining YouTube Channel. These are done solely for those I coach—allowing them to build a community, and share information among themselves, should they want to. By serving this content up in a public forum, others outside your initial ecosystem can “sit-in” on what you’re sharing, and see how much you care about those you coach. Who knows, these “sit-ins” might come back to you for coaching once things stabilize.

Send a handwritten note or postcard thanking your clients/athletes and staff.

This is something that goes a LONG way. It’s so simple and easy to do, yet nobody seems to do it. Write each of your athletes a personal, handwritten card or letter thanking them for the opportunity to work with them, and to be a part of their life.

Create a clear, concise action plan, that fits your clients’ needs

The previous four suggestions are just that, suggestions! What’s really important is that you take some time to be creative and figure out how to connect and build a deeper relationship with each of your current clients. 

Think outside the box, and look to build a deeper relationship. 

If you’d like some help coming up with client retention ideas or refining what you already have, I’m happy to jump on a 15-minute call with you. Of course, there is no charge for this call—we’re in this thing together, and together we will help each other succeed.

Email me at HumanVortexTraining@Gmail.com, and we’ll set up a time to talk.

Stay safe, stay healthy!

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Coach And Author Menachem Brodie Portrait
About Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie is a USA Cycling Expert Level & Power Based Training Certified Coach, Training Peaks Level 1 Coach, SICI Bike Fitter and Strength Coach who holds the NSCA-CSCS Certification and the only McGill Certified Practitioner who is a Triathlon, Cycling & Strength Coach. Since 2007 he has been helping endurance athletes from around the world to increase their in-sport abilities, return from injury, and attain new levels of performance. He has worked with Professional Cyclists, Triathletes, NBA players, EuroLeague Players, USA National Champions, and Amateur athletes from around the globe. Learn more from Coach Brodie at www.HumanVortexTraining.com or by purchasing one of his Pre-made Training Plans offered exclusively on TrainingPeaks.com!