Even before a child is born, parents plan to enrol in martial arts courses, football or tennis clubs or even boy scouts. If they could, they would register their child before it is born. Why? Because their child will succeed in everything! If a pre-school... sports marketing plan were aggressive enough, school operators could get a signed contract from every expectant mother in town. It may sound a bit extreme, but it's a fact! when the Sports Marketing Survey Group, the world's largest sports survey agency, conducted surveys of pre-school age 3-5 year olds in 1970, it found that 31% of 3-5 year olds were already enrolled in some form of pre-school program. By 1998, this figure had almost doubled. Parents now enrol 61% of all pre-school children in an organised, daily programme. In this survey, parents expressed their desire to prepare their child as well as possible for success in today's challenging world. Furthermore, overweight among children is an enormously motivating factor. Parents now believe that physical activity is one of the most important criteria for a healthy child. Kimber Hill, Century's spokesperson for the Lil' Dragon programme, has noticed this trend and together with her husband Damon has created a child-friendly programme for 4 to 8 year olds. "It's so easy to recruit children of this age because they think they can do everything. They haven't experienced any self-doubt, nor are they even aware of this feeling," Hill said. "This age group is easy to reach because the media, such as the Power Rangers or the Kung Fu Panda, are already encouraging people to try all kinds of "tricks" at home. This also makes parents aware of martial arts and helps them to find a suitable martial arts school for their child. The media play a major role in getting children registered with us. We have an incredibly successful kids program for 4 to 8 year olds thanks to the influence of the media. Kimber and her husband Damon, who jointly own and run the Modern Martial Arts Academy in Deland, Florida, have not always been so successful in teaching children. When they opened their school in 1997, they did what most schools do today. They used the same programs for both children and adults. The children were expected to learn the same material, to meet the same requirements in belt tests and to participate in the same physical training. The turnover was average. However, because Hill appreciates the abilities and potential of children, she soon realized how absurd it is to expect the same from children as from adults. At this point, she realized how desperately needed was a program that would be fun, satisfying for the children, give them positivity and be lucrative for the school.