Building a successful children’s sports franchise requires commitment and a little bit of fun and games, explains Cricket tots founder Steve Fitzgerald
I’m a big believer in the power of sport to improve all areas of someone’s life, no matter their age.
This was just one of the reasons why I launched Cricket tots, which provides fun and educational cricket classes for young children, and why I’m so pleased to see so many successful franchises promoting children’s sports.
In fact, these types of franchises are on the rise. But what do you have to do to make them a success?
For young kids, getting active is fundamental to their growth; skills learned during play contribute to their development physically, mentally and emotionally.
Effective classes are focused on helping children discover some key values, including teamwork, fair play, respect, honesty and the challenges of coping with winning and losing - knowledge they will continue to use as they grow into adults.
While classes can help increase a little one’s independence as they learn these skills, it’s also so enjoyable and important to see parents and guardians participate too, something we know keeps them coming back week after week.
Follow the rules
But it’s not all fun and games - although it feels like it. There are some regulations and compliance checks that need to be followed in order to run a successful class.
All involved will need to pass an enhanced DBS check (a check on someone’s criminal record), which is an absolute requirement for people working with children.
A registered first-aider also has to be on-site, which not only keeps the little ones safe should anything happen, but puts a parent’s mind at rest, too. Lastly it’s commonplace for everyone involved to have attended a safeguarding and protecting children course or workshop to help them gain the knowledge to deal with safeguarding issues.
A successful business needs everyone involved to be committed to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for children to explore the game. Key to this is finding the right coach.
You may well be the owner and coach of your franchise, and while experience in sport is not a requirement, an enthusiasm to learn is.
At Cricket tots, all our lead coaches are qualified by the England and Wales Cricket Board. Our classes are for children from 2½ to 5 years old and the training coaches receive as part of this qualification helps them understand the best way to teach children the rules of the sport, while having lots of fun too.
Other organisations such as ukactive, Sport England and This Girl Can provide invaluable support and inspiration to help your class stand out from the others.
One not to be forgotten is the Children’s Activities Association, the first not-for-profit, industryled organisation that aims to raise standards in all organised children’s activities across the UK.
We have achieved Gold accreditation by the CAA and this approval by an independent body gives parents the peace of mind they need when picking Cricket tots as their activity.
We encourage our franchisees to become key parts of the community that they’re working in too.
Running free classes at local nurseries or schools not only gives teachers the opportunity to see children explore a new sport or skill, but it gives the child a taster of your classes to see if they like the sport as well.
Launching and running your own franchise may seem daunting, especially in the early days, but classes and clubs are a much-loved part of most children’s growing up, something you have the opportunity to contribute to.
Now if that isn’t motivation to get your classes up and running, we don’t know what is.