I’ve been doing some thinking lately about social media and the impact that it has had on our kids, our society and the way we do things both in and out of basketball. I don’t want this post to be perceived as an old guy looking back wistfully at the way things used to be, instead I’m going to lay out both the positives and negatives of social media as it relates directly to basketball.
If you are a basketball coach and you are not using social media you are missing out. There is a wealth of information and resources out there to be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you are looking for insights from some of the great minds in the basketball world you can find them almost instantly. Obviously, you must pick and choose who to follow, but I know that my knowledge base has grown from reading social media posts and links. Social Media is also a great source of inspirational quotes to use with your team. I love quotes and have been able to find great quotes that address just about any situation.
As a coach, social media is also a great way to share your knowledge with the basketball community. When I started writing this blog in August of 2014I had no idea if or when it would find an audience. I’m thankful every day for those of you that take the time to read what I write and find value in it. Coaches should not be afraid to share what they know to help grow the game of basketball and make it better for the kids that play it. If you are a middle school or high school coach you should be on social media to stay on top of what your players are posting. Help guide them in proper use of social media. If they wouldn’t say it or show it to their grandmother they shouldn’t post it either. A player’s digital footprint is forever and cannot be erased.
That leads to this piece of advice for players. Be very mindful of what you are posting on social media. College coaches, admissions officers, potential employers, high school coaches, basically everyone, looks at social media to get a quick sense of who you are and what you are all about. Googling someone who applies to be a coach at one of our camps is the first thing I do when I get a resume or application. Don’t let some foolish post have a long lasting impact on your future. If you have aspirations of playing college basketball someday, don’t post pictures of yourself drinking at a party on Facebook or make bigoted statements on Twitter. I can guarantee college coaches are looking at what their prospective recruits are posting and it does influence their decisions. On the other hand, social media is a great way to improve your knowledge of the game the same way it is for coaches. There are tremendous resources for improving your game if you look in the right places.
If you are the parent of a young athlete in any sport, be aware that college coaches are watching your social media accounts too. If it is clear that you are a “headache” parent that is constantly bashing the coach, program, or other players on social media you can be sure that coaches will think long and hard about whether your son or daughter is worth the aggravation that you are sure to bring to their college program. If you aren’t supportive of a high school or AAU coach where presumably your child is the star or at least one of the better players, what will happen when your kid gets to college and they aren’t the star right out of the gate? Learn to keep quiet in the stands and on social media. Your young player will benefit from your restraint.
Social Media can be a wonderful thing that keeps us in touch with other people and opens our world to new connections and knowledge. Coaches, players, and parents can all use social media to enrich their lives. None of this was even possible just ten years ago and it is not going away. But with the right to share and use information on social media comes great responsibility. As parents and coaches we must demonstrate for our children how to use social media in a responsible way. We must never forget that we are role models and kids pay much more attention to what we do than what we say, no matter whether those words or actions take place in person or online. Remember to ask yourself before you post, “Would I say this to Grandma?” If the answer is no, then keep it to yourself.
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