1. COLLEGE COACHES AND PRO SCOUTS ARE WATCHING.
Social media is a public outlet. Whatever you post will be seen by everyone. Even a ‘mistake’ post is still liable to be captured by someone via screen shot, and sent to anyone around the globe. Outside of high school, college, AAU coaches, and parents- the next source of information to tell the world who YOU are comes from social media outlets. As you enter your high school and college careers, the game of basketball becomes a business! The next levels are looking at your ‘brand’ to see if it fits their organization. College, pro teams, and many other basketball outlets, are watching your social media to see how you represent yourself, your family, your current organization, and your community. They WILL NOT bring any kid onto their team that could potentially mess up their reputation or waste their scholarship money. What’s the conclusion? If you post profanity, drugs, inappropriate pictures/videos, bad sportsmanship, etc., you are ultimately gambling with your scholarship and future contract. West Virginia University Golf coach, Sean Covich, is one of many coaches who took to social media himself to address this.
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2. YOU NOT ONLY REPRESENT YOURSELF, BUT ALSO THE NAME ON THE FRONT AND BACK OF YOUR JERSEY
Many time student-athletes can get caught up in thinking it's all about them. They can forget that every move they make, even off the court, represents their family, school, and sports organization. As a student-athlete, you are a walking billboard. Make sure you represent yourself in a way that will help you leave a reputable legacy. You want to be remembered as a great student-athlete that everyone loved and respected. You want that name that 20 years after graduation- the principal, staff, classmates, and teachers would still vouch for the positive character you exemplified. These same individuals could help you with job careers, recommendation letters, and other references if you ever needed it. Make the name on the front and back on your jersey. Posting nonsense on social media could discredit you in an instant! It only takes one time.
3. INSTEAD OF POSTING FOOLISHNESS: POST YOUR HIGHLIGHT FILM, PRESS RELEASES, OR ITEMS THAT PEOPLE WOULD NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU STAND FOR.
Like stated in truth number one, this is a business. Not only do you have to perform well in your studies and in sports, but you have to brand yourself positively. What makes you different? Why do you deserve to be on the next level? Why should you get a scholarship? There are millions of other athletes across the world who are chasing that same scholarship or dream that you are chasing. Before social media, it was extremely difficult to get to a coach or scout on the phone or by mail to let them know about you. If you were really good, it wasn’t a problem because they would find you and send you recruiting letters. Now even an average player can market themselves well enough to get the attention of a program. Being TALENTED is just not enough nowadays! You have to be the all-around student-athlete. Social media makes it easier to connect with coaches and teams. You can directly interact with them and display your talents. Create a highlight film and post that. Share and post information about your successes and goals. Show coaches and everyone else watching, why you're the best athlete for their program and organization. Don’t waste 15 seconds on Instagram posting or reposting things that can ruin your reputation forever. Use that 140 characters on twitter to share your dunks, or a game changing buzzer beater. Display how you and your team helped the senior citizens at a community event. These are the type of things that will help you get recruited.
4. YOU ARE A ROLE MODEL.
Like it or not, once you decide to put on a jersey and play the game, you become a role model. You have your little brother or sister looking up to you. You have your peers looking up to you. You have other family members who never graduated from high school or college, looking up to you and inspiring them to do better. You have to represent! They are watching! It may seem like a lot of pressure, but it is a good pressure. It gives you have an opportunity to make an impact on and off the court. People will go to your page or look at your post to see what’s new with you. If the first thing they see is negativity they may not be as inspired or feel let down. Give them inspiration! Set the example to your friends and fellow athletes. Show them what a good role model and student-athletes looks like. Being a student-athlete comes with plenty of expectations. However, you are built for it!! Just believe in yourself. You can do this. Don’t become part of the normal crowd. Stand on a different pedestal. One that is respected by all, young and old.
5. WHAT YOU REPOST OR RETWEET IS WHAT YOU STAND FOR.
Once you repost, retweet, or share someone else's comments that means you endorse it. That is a reflection of your character and your way of thinking. Think about the content you have share in the past. Do you truly believe what it said? If you didn’t, why share it? We know you’ve heard the classic story your parents tell you about hanging out with the wrong crowds. If that crowd gets in trouble, even though you may not have been directly involved, you still get in trouble by association. Guilty by association. This same principle applies to sharing posts on social media. You are associating yourself with the rapper who is cursing in every other line of the video you shared. You are associating yourself with the party picture post from last week that got out of hand, and the police shut it down. Let your character be valued more than just a post, like, comment, share, or retweet. The ball is in your court.