We have certainly experienced a few crazy months of uncertainty. It’s taken lots of focus and energy to keep our athletes moving forward, on the path to college sports success. The road has not been easy for many parents, and has been especially hard for our go-getter athletes. It’s important however, that strategies are put in place that will allow your athlete to hit the ground running. Yes, strategies had to change to suit current circumstances, and routines tweaked, but the end goal is still the same. Our athletes need to be strategically placed in front of the right people. This will help build that early exposure and create impactful breakthroughs. Today, I am going to share some ideas on how to impress college coaches on social, and emerge from quarantine with the leading edge.
It’s All About Social
Yep, I said it! It’s all about social media. It is daunting to think about our young athletes being on social. However, the reality is, if your athlete isn’t on social, they are missing out. It’s almost a certainty that your athletes rivals are on social media. They are gaining all of the early exposure and advantage, while your athlete is not. Over in my sporting community of parents and elite athletes, we are going over this topic this month. I am kicking off a 4-part social media creation series on the 31st of May at 1 PM AEST. We are also creating walk-throughs on how to set up each platform, and lock them down safe. If you would like to take part, you can join in here.
As the world stands currently, almost the entire population are online, including college coaches and admissions staff. So if your athlete has not yet created a social profile, I strongly suggest you get started. Always keep cyber safety in mind. Go right through the parental controls. Make sure settings are private. And only those who your athlete needs to be in front of are seeing the content.
Each platform has its own set of parental controls. However there are 3rd party apps out there that can help keep your athletes profiles safe. Whatever you do, make sure you have gone through all the terms and conditions. Learn together with your athlete, how to maintain social profiles and keep them locked down safe. Once these set up, you can begin being very strategic about the audience you are putting them in front of.
Strategic Keywords to Find Coaches
To find the right eyes to place your athlete in front of, is to get very strategic with keywords. And you must remember, those people are not going to find your athlete, you need to search for them. Using any old keyword won’t work. You must be very specific. So the names of the colleges on your list are a great place to start. From there you can search for coaches, admissions, teachers, students, student services etc. That’s if that college is online. If it’s not, that doesn’t mean the coaches, staff, and student-athletes are not. It simply means you need to retarget your key words.
Search for the sport your athlete competes in, event names, team names, and if you know coaches names, even better. You can almost always find the names of sporting staff and departments through college and university websites. Before you begin searching, sit down with your athlete and make a list of very strategic keywords. You will be amazed who you can connect with.
Fill Your Pages With Mind-Blowing Content
It’s time to load those pages with the mind-blowing goodness your athlete has outside of test scores and grades. Think of your athlete being on social as an opportunity. A chance to show coaches the deep inner passions your athlete has outside of the classroom or sports arena. Your athlete can show they are a good fit for the college community. Their achievements, goals, missions, and ability to lead and be their own person while contributing very positively to the community. Social media is a great place to showcase your athletes uniqueness and amazing abilities.
When you begin to think about what content to include, you should think EVERYBODY is watching. What do I mean by this? Even if a profile is locked down, content must still be created with your target audience in mind. If a post is set to private, and it’s inappropriate, someone not intended to see it, still could. So every post must be appropriate and relevant to your athletes cause.
You should post photos, videos, papers, articles, and projects that relate to your athlete and where they are going. They must be professional at all times. Celebrate wins on social, but also share their losses with very positive, motivating, and inspirational words for the next game. Coaches want to see your athletes wins, but they also want to know your athlete can lose with grace. They want to see your athlete pick their team up after a loss. That’s what true leaders do.
Contribute To Your Target Community
The best way for your athlete to put their name out there, is to contribute to their target community. Find colleges that are on your athletes target list online. Many colleges have forums and groups that you can contribute to. Have your athlete find them and ask questions, comment, and offer advice if they have any. Find college groups, sporting groups, and student-athlete groups. These are the places coaches are hanging, even if they are just watching. There are college apps that allow athletes to create a profile, and upload photos etc. This is where you can begin placing your athlete long before they go to college. Just think, if your athlete is starting their journey, and they contribute to these communities for the next four years. Imagine how well your athlete will be known before they even think of college applications. Coaches will already know your athlete is a good fit for the community because they have been contributing for years.
Give Them Somewhere Else To Go
If you or your athlete are tech smart, you could create a website. There, your athlete can write a blog and upload content. It will give an extra place for coaches and admissions to visit and see the whole picture. Your athlete can show design abilities, technical abilities, writing abilities and so on. The one thing I will ask you to consider, make sure all content is relevant, applicable, professional, and non-controversial. Make sure everything your athlete adds or creates is something they are confident they are knowledgable about. They don’t want to be caught out with a chain of negative comments. Watch all punctuation, spelling and grammar. Your athlete wants to come across as a good college candidate. Everything they put out must be a positive reflection on them. Having a website will give coaches somewhere else to go outside of social.
Continue Good Social Practices
When your athlete is accepted into a college or university, that doesn’t mean good social practices should be relaxed. There are harsh penalties and your athletes admission can be revoked. Their sports scholarships can be taken away and their future will become much harder than it ever had to be. Finding another college or sports scholarship that will look past your athletes previously revoked admission, will be extremely difficult.
You will need to really stress this point to your athlete. Even conversations that happen in private chat groups have a way of coming out. If your athlete is part of any old groups that are not relevant to their cause, get rid of them. Check through a Google search what comes up when you search your athletes name. If you find something you don’t like, you need to change it. This can be difficult as you can’t remove things from Google. You can however, have your athlete writing their own blog and contributing to those communities to change what appears first. All positive comments, reports, blogs and articles will gradually bump the ugly bits down the search chain. So essentially, your athlete will be changing their story to positively reflect who they are.
It can be hard to fathom our young athletes being put out into the world, exposed to very particular people. The reality, your athletes competition is online right now. They are doing everything they can to maximise their opportunities, and that includes being on social media. In order to gain a leading edge, your athlete needs to be where the competition is. They need to be doing something that is helping them to advance to the next stage. College coaches don’t use social media as part of the admissions process. It can however, play a very big role in the recruiting process. Show them everything your athlete is capable of and passionate about. Showing their skills outside of the class room or sports arena, is what you should be doing RIGHT NOW!
Brand New Livenar
I would like to invite you to our new Livenar. It’s kicking off on the 8th of June 2020 at 8 AM AEST (UTC +10). Live in the Locker Room: The Parents Blueprint to College Sports Success is a LIVE session. I will literally be walking you through my blueprint to create effective planning strategies for your athlete. Your athlete will maximise opportunities and create professional breakthroughs. They will gain a leading edge on the road to college sports success. If this interests you, there are early bird bonuses available for those who register before Sunday May 31st. You can qualify for those bonuses by registering here. I would love to see you and your athlete there.
Leading up to the Livenar, we have decided to open a few spots on the calendar for connect calls. We simply connect, have a chat about your journey so far, and get to know each other. It’s an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. If you would like to jump on one of these calls, you can do that here. Just select ‘connect call’ for the appointment type, and you will be directed to my calendar to book your call. It’s that easy. I look forward to connecting
Don’t forget to pop over and visit our sporting community. Check out all the great content and valuable resources, and join in any one of the wonderful conversations. You will find us waiting for you here. Take care, yours in sport – Brooke Hamilton x