The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Most high school students spend hours a day on social media. Tweeting and posting has almost replaced talking for many young adults. For that reason, college coaches have become more and more active on social media and to some extent use it as a way to communicate with potential recruits. Right or wrong, most college coaches will assume that how you act on social media will be how you act on campus. Given that fact, here are some thoughts to consider with respect to your social media accounts.
You only get one shot at a first impression
A college coach’s first impression of you will most likely happen sooner than you think. In fact, it might have already happened. College coaches generally do their homework on recruits well before the first phone call or email and they may start with your social media accounts.
Many college athletic programs actually have someone in charge of reviewing and monitoring the social media accounts of prospective athletes. Coaches feel they can learn a lot about a recruit from their social media behavior. Many potential scholarships have been lost before an athlete is even considered a prospect just because of their behavior online. Keep in mind that while consistent profanity or negative posts are certainly red flags, coaches also monitor social media for other warning signs. If it is apparent from your posts that you don’t get along with your coaches or teammates, that you dread practice or hate homework, that might be a sign for a college coach to steer away from you.
Think twice, post once
Based on the above, every high school athlete looking for an athletic scholarship should seriously think about each and every share, post or tweet. Today, more than ever, we are sharing, posting and tweeting every detail and activity of our day right down to the jelly doughnut you had for breakfast.
Keep in mind that whether you like it or not, your posts are a reflection of your character – good or bad. There is an old saying carpenters use to avoid mistakes: “Measure twice, cut once.” The same thought process holds true for social media: “Think twice, post once.”
If you make a mistake on social media, fix it
The best thing you can do when you make a mistake of any kind is to admit it, learn from it and don’t let it happen again. Don’t make excuses or try to hide it. If you realize that you tweeted or posted something you shouldn’t have: 1) Delete it immediately, and 2) Take responsibility for it. I’m not telling you to issue a blanket apology across all your social media platforms, but if the subject of an inappropriate post comes up with a college coach or anyone else, just be honest, take responsibility and let them know it was just a mistake that won’t happen again.