Social media can be a very useful tool during the recruiting process but it can also cost you opportunities if you don’t use it wisely. While there are rules for coaches about connecting with recruits through social media, they can still do their homework to investigate what you are posting about, what your friends are posting about, and how you present yourself when you aren’t in front of them.
If you use social media sensibly, it can be a great way to learn more about the coach, the golf program, and share your own progress throughout your junior golf career.
How social media can help you:
- Many coaches and programs are required to maintain social media sites so take advantage of this as a way to learn more about the coach, the program, and the overall atmosphere.
Use the information posted on a team’s account as a way to have things to chat about when you speak or email the coach.
- Posting occasional pictures from your practice sessions and workouts can show a coach what you are doing on a daily basis. Just don’t go overboard by posting everything you do.
- Posting pictures from your tournaments, especially when you play well, is a great way to let coaches know how you are doing.
- If you have some extracurricular activities, hobbies, or volunteer work that you are involved with be sure to post about that. It shows you are a well-rounded person.
How social media can hurt you:
- NEVER post any bad language or inappropriate pictures. Just keep it clean!!
- Keep the pictures classy. Yes, a picture or two of you on vacation at the beach is completely fine, but know where the line is with too much and too many.
- Posting your college decision before telling the other coaches who were recruiting you what your decision is. ALWAYS call and email those coaches before you post it on social media!
- Coaches aren’t stupid, they know what red solo cups usually mean in pictures.
- Be very cautious of who you have as “friends” on social media. Even though you may not be posting bad messages, if your friends tag you in inappropriate messages that can influence a coach just as much.
- Keep your settings private and only allow people you know and trust to follow you and be friends with you.
- Make sure you don’t complain, make excuses, or seem ungrateful after bad tournaments
- Don’t share too much about your personal life. If it looks like your life is full of drama in high school, coaches will assume the same will happen in college
Clemson University Women’s Golf Coach, Kelley Hester shared her thoughts on the use of social media:
“We are a little limited on who we can friend and things like that, but there’s probably a good chance that I might have players that are friends with some of the kids and if there’s a lot of drama popping up then that’s probably going to come to the surface.
Just like we tell our college kids that a future employer is going to monitor and go back to look at somebody’s Facebook photos and language and things like that. This is one level down but college coaches are gonna be looking at some of this junior golf business so I think it’s important to be careful what you put out there about yourself. And I will tell my college players the exact same thing, it doesn’t change or get any better and it’s really only going to become more so as you get older and once you put things out there, they are out there.
We didn’t have this was when I was a kid, thank goodness, but kids have so much more responsibility in terms of the things that could have a potential impact on their lives. I would just say that if your grandmother’s not gonna be okay with it, then it probably doesn’t need to be up there”
These days social media can be a scary world for young kids so if you aren’t comfortable using it or your parents don’t want you to use it then don’t feel pressured to. Yes, it can be a great tool to utilize during the recruiting process but it needs to be monitored and used appropriately.
Keep in mind, as a prospective student-athlete, you are under a much bigger spotlight and radar than non-athletes. Everything you do, every decision you make, every picture you take, every post you make, can all affect your future, not only as a college athlete but also as a future employee.
Brandi Jackson had a stellar collegiate career at Furman University, then she went on to play professionally for 8 years on the LPGA and Symetra Tour. In 2012 Brandi was inducted into the Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame and she serves on the Board of Directors for The Blade Jr Classic. She runs her own business out of Greenville, South Carolina where she consults junior golf families all over the world on competitive junior golf and the college recruiting process. For more information on Brandi Jackson visit her website at www.brandijacksongolf.com. Follow Brandi on Twitter @bjacksongolf and Instagram @bjacksongolf.
For more information about college golf recruiting and competitive junior golf, including Brandi’s innovative online Golf Recruiting 101 Course and Recruit Caddy Service, visit www.brandijacksongolf.com.