COURTSIDE WITH COACH EDMONDS: How social “ME”dia can make or break a student/athlete.

Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003.

During this time away from viewing sports as we know it, I’ve had the opportunity to see and read what players are doing to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of their particular team, AAU organization, or even more importantly the eyes of the nation’s top collegiate coaches.

They make/receive phone calls, send out video highlight tapes and emails, but the one thing that is becoming the most prevalent in the recruiting process is SOCIAL MEDIA. Today’s players have become adept in using various streams of social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and now Zoom conferences.

These tools are important in getting information out about player’s strengths and weaknesses as colleges evaluate them in hopes of offering scholarship opportunities towards them as they progress through their competitive high school years. This can assist high school coaches and prove to be valuable in promoting student-athletes in their programs throughout the country with the very difficult process of recruiting.

As we take a look at the tools of social media that are out there in cyberspace, we must also be aware that for as profitable as social media can be for our student-athletes, it can also be a deterrent to their progress and ruin a tremendous opportunity with one tweet (Twitter) or a bad status post (Facebook).

Athletes enjoy promoting themselves in the media because of the sensationalism that comes with it, but there are times that “self-promotion” can go astray and have irreparable damage for them in the collegiate world. I read where one college coach stated that “Each student/athlete should Read each tweet about 95 times before sending it. Look at every Instagram post about 95 times before you send it. A reputation takes years and years and years to build, and it takes one press of a button to ruin. So don’t let that happen to you. Just be very smart about it.”

College coaches pay close attention to how potential recruits handle themselves on social media. They have assistants and pay to have someone sit all daily and WATCH SOCIAL MEDIA posts of their top recruits! This is not to scare you as a recruit but to keep you aware that many eyes will be on media sites that you frequent so be mindful and make informed decisions before you push SEND! 

Social media is a resource that can be an awesome tool for student/athletes to use as they move forward in the recruiting process but they must understand that the tools that are in front of them can make or break them in one swift key press! Could it be that maybe (just maybe) there are times that athletes should allow their TALENT to speak for them? Just a thought…

Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday during the prep basketball season at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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