With a retention rate of over 90% that includes waitlists in many of his programs, Player Sports Academy franchisee Brian Hirsch is a dedicated business owner that is finally able to make a living doing what he wants to. As an educator and coach who has spent nearly 35 years in the Tampa Bay area, Brian decided to use his background as a tool to improve his future. Currently operating in 12 local schools, Brian’s organization helps 180-plus kids learn the valuable ideals of team sport, hard work, and setting and accomplishing goals.
Having only recently made the choice to start living on his own terms, we sat down with Brian to discuss his growing business, the passion he has for his kids and how PSA helped him start his own sports business.
Starting a Sports Franchise for Kids
The one piece of advice that Brian keeps repeating is, “You get out what you put in.” This sentiment has been his motto for years, and he finds it rings true in almost every aspect of his life. There are no frills, no magic shortcuts and no easy ways out: hard work breeds positive results.
Through his time spent as an educator, Brian already had a head start in being able to pitch his new PSA franchise, but recognized the value of connections that PSA brought to the table. With an insider knowledge of Tampa Bay’s school system, he could schedule meetings and get face-to-face with the right people. However, the complex network of insurance forms, regulatory work and state specific guidelines were an unexpected hurdle that PSA’s Allan Flott and his co-founder Ricky Burke were able to handle for him.
With PSA’s support network and understanding of the back-of-house work required to start these kinds of after school programs, Brian was able to focus on his strengths while getting much needed advice in the areas where he was lacking. With zero franchising experience, Brian credits his initial success to the backing he received from PSA’s team of experts.
This is where the system became an invaluable tool in getting Brian’s franchise off the ground. Regulatory paperwork is a daunting task, and ensuring that you’ve correctly filled out every form before you pitch your first school, can be a nightmare. The confidence of having experts in your corner, coupled with the certifications you can show to school officials at any meeting will accomplish two things: one, your confidence in yourself will translate into them having confidence in you; and two, with the paperwork to back up your words, you can prove that you’re not only serious about what you’re proposing, but have done your regulatory and safety homework. Without the background and expertise offered by PSA, Brian admits that starting his own after school sports franchise would have been nearly impossible.
Sports for Kids of All Ages
Having spent 35 years as an educator, Brian has the added benefit of experience working with children of all ages, and the disposition necessary to properly motivate young people. Alongside the connections he made within Tampa Bay’s education system, he further credits his business success to his love of working with kids. Beyond needing the desire to venture out on your own, Brian says that knowing how to work with children should be high on the list in your consideration of a PSA franchise.
Noting that the kids return more than he feels he gives, Brian’s obvious devotion to his teams and students is admirable. Without knowing how to handle groups of children, and without understanding how to gain their trust, running a team isn’t possible. There is an obvious need to understand the ins and outs of the sports you choose to coach, but without the ability to convey those ideas, rules and principles to children, you run the risk of losing their interest.
Along those same lines, Brian truly believes that being a star athlete is not correlated with being a star coach. Kicking a ball 100 yards, running a five second 40 or making trick shots might impress a few times, but none of these feats can guarantee ongoing cooperation from an inattentive kid. Gaining a child’s respect is massively important in successfully running any after-school sports program, and is the number one factor that determines whether they’ll sign up again next year. Showing parents that you know how to listen, and to properly engage with their kids will encourage them to be more passionate about your programs as well. Any parent who thinks that their child is benefitting from a service that you’re providing will be much more likely to spread the word: marketing that you don’t have to pay anything for.
Read More: Life After College Sports - Jobs for Athletes
Compassion and confidence are the keys to Brian’s success. Making specific note of these core principles, he implores anyone considering an after-school program to concentrate most of their energy into these aspects of coaching. By being able to understand and communicate with your kids, you can quickly gain their trust, and, more importantly, their respect. By reflecting your confidence in the knowledge of the sport, the trust you have built and the respect you’ve earned, coaching can become a rewarding career that enriches you as much as the kids that you mentor.
100% Passion for His Youth Sports Franchise
Nothing Brian does is done halfway. Fully committing to everything in his life is one of the ways that he defines who he is, and what he is about. Through this steadfast devotion to hard work, Brian has secured for himself the freedom to be his own boss, and to make passion his business.
Of course, this is a driving factor in the operational successes of his business, but it is also a key element in coaching. Passion for sports compels athletes to push themselves and overcome boundaries that they previously didn’t think possible. Giving kids goals and the focus required to accomplish them are fundamental in breeding a successful after-school sports program. Without the passion needed to run your business, your sideline presence will lack the momentum to inspire your players. Your ability to approach a PSA franchise with the passion required to run the business will follow you into the locker room and onto the field.
Brian writes his own curricula (although PSA provides programming for new franchisees to use at their discretion) and ensures that each of his sessions fall in line with the strict standards that PSA so prizes. His ability to reflect back on his career in schooling has allowed Brian to branch out from the program suggestions provided to all franchisees, tweaking and supplementing in areas he knows that his kids will love. Finding the initiative to test out new methods and modes of training his kids, it is Brian’s passion that has allowed him to flourish in the Tampa Bay area. By not taking the program for granted, and by not assuming that one-size-fits-all, Brian has put his mark on the PSA model, and his continued success is a reflection of the passion with which he greets his new profession.
Final Thoughts on Starting a Sports Business
More than his passion, or his drive, Brian recognizes that the programs offered by PSA are needed. Loved by the kids and their parents, and appreciated by his partner schools, the only thing holding these classes back from nationwide adoption is widespread knowledge. Once he learned about it, Brian’s experience allowed him to immediately recognize the demand programs like this would garner in his community. With the practical advice PSA offers, he was able to quickly put together a curriculum and start pitching it to schools.
Brian’s awareness of a deficit was the starting point of his journey. Hard work, passion and the help PSA provides, are the keys to his continued success. Reflecting the positivity he received from PSA, Brian noted that if other franchisees are putting in the work, and still need help, he will personally be willing to make sure that they succeed. Going above and beyond to spread his message of positivity, inclusion and his love for sports, Brian Hirsch’s PSA franchise is a perfect example of why we’re so enthusiastic about this business.
If you think owning a kids sports franchise is an opportunity of a lifetime, we encourage you to complete an application for an initial interview. With the PSA model, you can open a sports academy in your home town or city, and with hard work and passion you can be as successful as Brian!
“If this is something you’re passionate about—both working with children and working in a sports model—both Alan and Ricky will guide you, 100%. Without them it wouldn’t have worked” - Brian Hirsch
Allan Flott is a former collegiate and professional soccer player who believes in the powerful role that sports play in helping children develop confidence and a strong sense of self. After his playing career, he applied his passion for youth sports to start The Players Sports Acadmey.