USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
With every passing season, college coaches are becoming more and more active on social media. Most coaches even use social media to communicate with potential recruits. In fact, the majority of college programs actually have someone on staff monitoring and reviewing the social media accounts of all prospective recruits. They take the time and resources to do that because college coaches know that how you act on social media is how you’ll act on campus. If playing at the next level is something you really want to do, make sure you’re being careful on social media. Follow these simple rules to make sure your social media game is in check!
Make a good first impression
A college coach’s first impression of you will likely happen sooner than you think. In fact, it’s probably already happened. College coaches generally do their homework on recruits well before the first phone call or email and they probably will start by checking you out on social media, first.
Coaches feel they can learn a lot about you from your social media behavior. Many potential scholarships have been lost before an athlete is even considered a prospect just because of what they see online. Consistent profanity or negative posts are certainly red flags, but coaches also monitor social media for other warning signs. If it’s obvious from your posts that you don’t get along with your coaches or teammates, that you dread practice, or hate homework, most coaches will move on to the next recruit.
Think twice, post once
So, if every college coach who’s interested in you is going to look through your social media, you might want to be aware of that! On a daily basis, you should seriously think about every post, tweet, share or like. Whether you like it or not, your social media is a reflection of you as a person – good or bad.
There’s 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.” Being thoughtful of your online behavior shows college coaches that you have discipline and the ability to make sensible decisions.
Own it, don’t make the same mistake twice
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 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.