So Few Char­ac­ters, so Much Impact: 3 Ways to Help Your Play­ers Uti­lize Social Media

Cor­rect­ly uti­liz­ing social media can be tricky and a bad post can cost a play­er offers. But when uti­lized well, social media can be a boon for athletes.

So Few Char­ac­ters, so Much Impact: 3 Ways to Help Your Play­ers Uti­lize Social Media

Cor­rect­ly uti­liz­ing social media can be tricky and a bad post can cost a play­er offers. But when uti­lized well, social media can be a boon for athletes.

140 char­ac­ters doesn’t seem like much. But some­times that’s all it takes to make or break a player’s recruitment.

We’re in the peak age of social media, where Twit­ter, Snapchat and Insta­gram reign supreme. The thing is, it’s not just friends and fam­i­ly that are fol­low­ing your players.

Col­lege coach­es and recruiters are mon­i­tor­ing social media like nev­er before — the Clem­son foot­ball team has an entire office devot­ed sole­ly to perus­ing the accounts of poten­tial recruits. How those play­ers choose to use social media could help land them a schol­ar­ship or get tak­en off a recruit­ing board.

After speak­ing with both high school and col­lege coach­es, we’ve come up with a few ways to help your play­ers get the most out of social media.

Talk It Through

Most ath­letes sim­ply don’t under­stand the con­se­quences that a poor­ly-word­ed or pro­fane post can have. They’re not aware of the lev­el that their tweets and pho­tos are being mon­i­tored by recruiters and don’t think twice about fir­ing off a post.

I think the biggest thing kids fail to remem­ber when being recruit­ed is that coach­es are watch­ing every­thing,” Mag­gie Grif­fin, head coach of Vol­ley­ball Club Nebras­ka, said. Col­lege coach­es look at social media for play­ers, espe­cial­ly now a days with all of the social media avail­abil­i­ty kids for­get about those lit­tle things. Kids might think they go unno­ticed but they are so, so crit­i­cal in the recruit­ing process.”

So bring up the sub­ject. Make it a part of your pre­sea­son meet­ings. Let your ath­letes know that you are mon­i­tor­ing them, and that it’s for their own good. Just a gen­er­al aware­ness of social media’s impor­tance in recruit­ing could make a dent in the num­ber of inflam­ma­to­ry posts.

Set a Precedent

If one of your play­ers does trip up, there needs to be a set of pro­ce­dures in place to dole out con­se­quences. Your play­ers should know what to expect.

Cameron Ander­sen, the head foot­ball coach at Good­ing High School in Ida­ho, expe­ri­enced this first­hand last sea­son. One of Gooding’s best play­ers took his smack talk with an oppo­nent too far before the sea­son open­er. Ander­sen sus­pend­ed him for two games, one of which Good­ing lost. But the sac­ri­fice was worth it.

Our biggest push is make hus­bands and fathers and cowork­ers, and we’re try­ing to estab­lish those things,” Ander­sen said. When that (tweet) came out, we decid­ed that we had to set the tone right now as to what’s accept­able when it comes to social media.”

The loss stung, but Good­ing didn’t have any future inci­dents the rest of the year. Ander­sen host­ed a team meet­ing explain­ing the dan­gers of social media and the pun­ish­ments that could fol­low. He didn’t ban them from using social media (“That would have been hard on the play­ers,”), but instead brought to light the impact their posts can have.

The kids under­stood that 1) they would receive dou­ble the pun­ish­ment of the first guy, and 2) they under­stood the process of how that affects the peo­ple around them.” Cameron Andersen, head coach at Gooding High School (Idaho)

Get Them Shar­ing on Social

There are ben­e­fits to social media, too. It’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for ath­letes to show­case their abil­i­ties for all to see. Post­ing a high­light video and tweet­ing to coach­es and recruiters can help get them on a school’s radar.

It also allows ath­letes to show their per­son­al­i­ty, who they are under­neath the hel­met or off the court. If they’re able to express them­selves in a pos­i­tive man­ner, recruiters will have a bet­ter feel for them as humans.

Social media is so impor­tant to these kids. It’s how they express them­selves,” Chris Fish­er, the founder of the Texas High School Foot­ball Chat, said. There are kids that earn schol­ar­ships because of their social media cam­paign, just get­ting infor­ma­tion to col­lege coach­es. What hap­pens with them on social media is an impor­tant part of who they are and what mes­sage they’re send­ing to the world. I think it’s real­ly impor­tant that as coach­es and influ­encers we show them the right way of using it.”

Make sure you’re fol­low­ing your ath­letes close­ly. It will help you nip poten­tial­ly prob­lem­at­ic posts ear­li­er, and it can alert you to team moti­va­tions or issues you weren’t aware of. By putting your play­ers into Twit­ter lists, you can close­ly mon­i­tor their actions and track what they’re posting.

The rise of social media has brought both new chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties for coach­es. You must edu­cate your play­ers on the dan­gers of social media, but also teach them to share high­lights and express them­selves in a pos­i­tive man­ner. Chat with oth­er coach­es about how you can max­i­mize social media on the Hudl Forum.