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I stumbled across this article titled “Coaches, colleges explore new frontier”, explaining the ways coaches and conferences are using social networks more and more for recruiting, and to gain exposure.

Before even reading it, I was reminded of an interesting topic that John Savage, the Head Coach of the UCLA baseball team, shared with parents and players during closing words of the 2012 UCLA Winter High School Prospect Camp regarding how UCLA has a budgeted, full-time staff of folks that do nothing but monitor their baseball player's social activities and report, block, ban, at will!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=4308218

I promised that I was going to share my experiences but keep the post light, real, funny, etc., so here we go with the first discussion and tips.  I’d like to continue to share these tips, but as part of the deal, I hope for participation and knowledge transfer of all recruiting related experiences, so help me out by sharing an opinion, your own tips or funny stories related to the topic, and most important share this with others!

OPINION:
If you’re a parent that has a child expecting to be, or is currently being recruited to attended "any" high-education institution, AND play "any" sport at a higher-level as a student athlete and you are currently allowing yourself to loose the battle of "It's my life!", you are slightly disillusioned.  Simply trusting that nothing is ever going to be posted that could impact a door opening opportunity or slam the doors on an existing one that may have taken months to bring to a near close is not an assumption I was willing to use while I mentored my son through the process.  

Let me just say that me and my wife were there, tough discussion, yep, tough parenting, “Kinda”, I’ve heard of worse battles from other parents we met throughout the process face with delivering the same message to their kid.  

In general, we all were/are faced with explaining a non-transparent off-line, real-time critical path filled with hoping, denials, great performances, poor performances, GOOD GRADES under a microscope, networking, research, self-promotion, activities, financial posturing, travel planning, weird video request to be posted where they can be seen to support a very specific topic … I think you get my point because that crazy list can go on and on.  

My biggest battle was the initial peer pressure and non-supportive comments from fellow teammates that would post the “it’s not cool to put a speed & agility video on Facebook” type comments while ironically communicating offline that he wish to be recruited himself. so with that, I’d advise that you also consider what type of individuals your athlete is being encouraged by and build an online community that demonstrates an a clear understanding of the importance of positive support for your athlete during such a life changing process.

I personally think that as a people we all are aware that an athlete has to be recruited, and that process is as simple as a kid was in the right place at the perfect time and played really good in front of a College coach that just happened to be at his or her game and they liked what they saw and then offered the kid a scholarship.  LOL

To summarize, as a people we are all filterless for various reasons and generally without regard to knowing about a complicated recruiting process.  Honestly, kids have a harder time understanding a big picture, let alone understanding that these social tools are being extended past the purpose of supporting their social bubble of activities, and that their statements do impact "word-of-mouth" which could be a positive thing depending on what is being shared.  Have that tough talk with your athlete, be as transparent as possible throughout the process, educate as many folks involved in their everyday life to the process, and stay consistent and true while monitoring your child’s online social life.

I’d also advise that other athletes posting on any social network in support of another athlete to take a long look at not only what they are posting, but how that message could be perceived by way of support.  Think about it, it’s a direct reflection on the type of leader you are going to be within a program yourself.  The things you tend to say online is also being seen by the same College coaches you may be wishing to impress next month at their camp, and if you’re posting, you’re also telling them who you are before you get there, so make it count.  They are watching, reading, making judgments, based on social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.  They told me.  :)
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