Thursday, November 1, 2012

Coaching: Using Social Media to Get Ahead

     Social media has become a large part of today’s society; 850 million people have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account.  In the world of coaching, there are positives and negatives to players being able to express themselves as openly as they want, whenever they want through social media.  There are two main social media websites, Hudl and Facebook, which have had a major impact on coaching.
     Hudl is a web-based video editing program that is used by almost every high school, and some colleges, in the nation.  It allows coaches to upload game, practice or opponent video to their personal website and share it with players and other coaches.  Coaches can watch film, breakdown an opponent, and communicate with their players through this website.  Hudl allows coaches to spend less time in the office and more time at home with their families by allowing them to have access to everything that they need to make a game plan and study their opponent.  Praise or corrections can now be shared instantly from coach to player by using the voice recording and drawing feature.  Instead of driving all night to meet another coach half way between schools, Hudl allows coaches to exchange video instantly.
     Hudl has also affected recruiting by allowing players to instantly create their own highlight films that can be “Googled” by a college coach.  This feature has made recruiting easier, because now a college coach does not have to wait on the high school coach to make the highlight film, put it on tape or DVD, and send it to the college via FedEx.  High school coaches can share the film featuring multiple players with college coaches as well as through the traditional email route.  Hudl has revolutionized the sport of football; video editing and sharing are as simple as a ‘click of the mouse’ enabling high school and college coaches to effectively and efficiently coach and recruit players.
     Facebook has changed the way people communicate and stay in touch.  Friends who haven’t seen each other in years are able to keep up with one another through messaging and posting on one’s “wall”.  Facebook has had both a negative and positive impact on sports.  A coach should be aware of how instantaneously a Facebook post can ignite controversy or shed a negative light on a program.  Coaches need to constantly monitor their players’ Facebook pages to ensure that these players are not sharing information or pictures that could potentially hurt the athlete or the program.  Conversely, with the new NCAA rules college coaches can use Facebook to their advantage.  Contacting potential recruits and being able to find information about them, such as a phone number or their behavior outside of sports, is vital to building a quality program.  Facebook is also allowing coaches and players to connect without the trouble of going through third parties.
     Social media is changing the way our world communicates and shares information.  It has aided in many aspects of coaching, such as video and information sharing. However, coaches should be aware of the positive and negative aspects of online information, know what to expect, and how to protect their players and program.

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