From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “3 Steps to Marketing Your Sports-Massage Practice,” by Bob McAtee in the September 2009 issue. Article summary: The past decade has seen a surge of interest and growth in sports massage. From weekend warriors to Olympians, and at many levels of professional sports, athletes and their coaches know massage therapy helps keep them at the top of their chosen game. Sports massage is a niche that allows therapists to target a specific clientele and market themselves to a broad spectrum of athletes.

by Dennis Lisaius

If sports massage is your calling, how do you find those elusive athletic clients? Network!

Networking is nothing more than building relationships. It’s a way of reaching out to individuals and groups. With effective networking, athletes will be aware of you and your credible skills, and they will feel safe in your hands.

1. Decide on your target sport. The athletic world is diverse. Are you interested in golf? Beach volleyball? Running?

2. Know your sport well. Athletes trust someone who “gets” their sport. Know the jargon, big stars and major events of your target sport.

3. Find the teams and clubs for your sport. Nearly every sport has a local club or association. (If not, focus on local events and competitions.) Do an Internet search to find them.

4. Join and support them. If runners are your target, join their club. Attend their meetings and events. Clubs appreciate help, so you can volunteer. Participate!

5. Offer free post-event massages. After an event, give free 15-minute massages to athletes in your club. They will love you for it!

6. Know the “gatekeepers.” Make friends with the club president and leading athletes. Their opinion can make a big difference in the size of your client list.

7. Be generous. Give more than you expect in return. Be liberal with free massages, especially for gatekeepers and star athletes. The law of karma really works.

Dennis Lisaius is a certified sports massage therapist from Santa Monica, California, as well as a triathlete, runner and cyclist. He is the founder of LA Sports Massage in Marina del Rey, California (, which provides SPORT Therapy—a fusion of techniques from sports, deep tissue, Active Release Techniques, trigger point, Structural Integration and facilitated stretching—to world-class professional and amateur athletes. The company’s client list includes such notables as Natascha Badmann, six-time Ironman World Champion; Chris McCormack, 2007 Ironman World Champion; and WNBA star Candace Parker.