This post is an excerpt from our Digital Citizenship Conference event in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for educators and parents to openly discuss issues and solutions for helping students in the digital world. All of the content from the Digital Citizenship Conference is available as a Virtual Replay Ticket.
Here are the online safety experts who contributed to this blog:
Here are some key takeaways from the Impressing the Sports Coach panel:
- Make and post a high-quality video to show your abilities
- Paint a positive picture
- Social media research is a two-way street
- Coaches care about your digital footprint
Our experts recommend a video should show off your best skills related to the sport/position you play as well as some regular play time. Showcase it on YouTube, Vimeo and Hudl.
Along with videos of your performance on the field, show sports coaches what makes you interesting and a great asset off the field. Create a web page that shows not only your athleticism but character and academics—then connect it with your other social media platforms.
Social media is a great way to get the attention of recruiters, but it’s also a great tool for students and their parents to find out more about what coaches and current players are like. Decide if these are people you trust and want to be around as a college athlete.
Just like admissions officers, coaches care about the personal character you reveal in your social-media posts—and with admissions officers increasingly looking at prospective students’ social media, they’re also sharing what they see with coaches.
Navigating the sports recruitment and scholarship process adds another full dimension to applying to schools. We want to talk about how your kids can use social media to help them in this process—especially when more coaches are on social media to “meet” students they may not be able to see on a normal day or in a tournament. Social media also allows coaches to have more contact with more kids.
How is social media shaping recruitment?
Social media platforms expose high-school students to what college teams are doing. —Sonja Montiel
Social media platforms expose high-school students to what college teams are doing, how they are interacting with each other, and how they are highlighting achievements in their sport. For a high school athlete, this helps paint a picture of what this world is going to look like for them once they graduate and enter college athletics. —Sonja Montiel
It is important for our kids to not only do the research but then to create a story about their skills and assets that fit the schools they are trying to play for. We help students create web pages that present a picture of who they are in regard to their character, their athleticism, and their academics. Then we connect these web pages with their Twitter account and other platforms for social media. —Dr. Kellye McKinna
Use social media to check on the behavior and standards of the current athletes and the coaches. —Amy Poblete
From a parenting perspective, I used social media to check on the behavior and standards of the current athletes and the coaches. Both of my children were 17-year-olds being sent out of state to college basically under the care of the sports coach, and we wanted to know, are these good people? Are they going to take care of my kids? Do they care about the other girls or guys on the team? —Amy Poblete
Another thing to be aware of is that the NCAA rules, in almost any social media platform, allow direct messaging between the coaches and athletes from the college side to the high school side as long as the student athlete is past July 1st of the end of their junior year of high school. Coaches can follow athletes and athletes can follow coaches, but they cannot be tweeting each other or leaving messages on public spaces until this age is met. If your kids are interested in learning more about what these rules are, those are available for each division on the NCAA website (NCAA.com).
When you’re talking about how to use social media in a positive way, first and foremost almost every kid I work with uses YouTube for their athletic recruiting video. That is something that every student athlete is capable of creating on their own. You can use YouTube, Vimeo, or Hudl to showcase their recruiting video, and this makes a great first impression on coaches. —Katie Charles
Help students create web pages that present a picture of who they are. —Dr. Kellye McKinna
I think it is really important to personalize your footprint. If you are just using CaptainU or one of the other organizations, everyone looks the same. I think it is important that each kid create their own space. I have also heard from coaches that it is important that those videos are not just you in the middle of the game kicking the ball and making the best shot, hitting the home run, etc. They need to see you in a variety of aspects of your game, and they also need to see you as a person, so they are looking for something that shows a little bit of character, a little bit of commentary from the student him or herself. —Dr. Kellye McKinna
The quality of video is also important. Make sure that you utilize the tools and people available to you to create a clear video with a high-quality image for coaches to look at. Separately, remember that admissions and athletic recruitment are related, so both departments will be looking at all aspects of your online profile, including social media, and talking to each other about what you have out there. If you have social media accounts that reflect poorly on who you are, admissions will find these and share them with coaches. —Sonja Montiel
As a former sports coach, we used to get inundated with about 200 to 400 emails each week, and when you are in season and there are all of these different rules about when you can talk to or start to recruit students, you focus instead on the girls that you already have on your team that are actively playing for you. You don’t have enough time to focus on anything other than winning.
To be honest, we didn’t watch any of those videos or read any of those emails. We would rather see a person on travel or club teams. That’s where we find out whether or not you should get the scholarship and whether or not we want you. I have seen too many videos where the students are not good or the video quality is bad, and I don’t get to see the way that you respond to challenges on the field or on the court. I talked to my softball college recruiting friends from UCLA to Florida State, and they all said the same thing—they want to see how the girls respond on the field, and that determines whether or not they are interested in recruiting them for their teams. —Franciska Morlet
Use YouTube, Vimeo, or Hudl to showcase your student’s recruiting video. —Katie Charles
I would say that tends to go by sport as well. There are some sports where video is helpful—including football, where they are only getting a couple of plays. In sports where video is helpful, coaches want to see consistent repetition of a skill. For volleyball, a good recruiting video for us is a couple of minutes of highlights of skill based on the position that the kid plays and a few minutes of just watching the kid play, because coaches may not be able to make it out to every game. So use video to give them a chance to see you play. —Katie Charles
As a parent, make sure that you do a good job listening and reading between the lines when coaches are contacting your kids, and be very careful as you assess who really wants you. I know I read guidelines that said, “The first thing you need to do is pick out four schools that your child really wants to go to,” but is that really reasonable for a 14-year-old? One thing that we did know and were able to identify as early as 14 was who was really interested in her and who was sending a form letter back to us. When we started to understand that certain schools were interested in her as a person and were going to take good care of her when she got to their campus, those are the schools that you want to give extra consideration as you move through the recruiting process. —Amy Poblete
When personalizing your emails for coaches, talk about why you want to come to that school. —Franciska Morlet
One of the reasons I committed to the school that I committed to was because of the dynamic that the three coaches had. They had so much passion that they were really like a group of sisters, and I knew as a student athlete that I wanted to be a part of something like that. So I did my background on the coaches before I committed. I really wanted to play for someone I felt could be a role model and mentor for me, so doing a lot of homework and background on the coaches is really important.
Another thing to remember is that when you are personalizing your emails for coaches, talk about why you want to come to that particular school. That really stands out. —Franciska Morlet