You will never get a full appreciation for a program just by talking to a coach, but you can learn how to use social media outlets to connect with athletes at the programs you will potentially play for. Athletes can give you a candid evaluation of a college and the athletic team because they have already gone down the same path you are going. Here is how you can use social media to get inside information from your potential teammates:
First Things First: Don’t Paint a Bad Picture of Yourself on Social Media
If you are going to use social media (for recruitment or for personal use), you need to be aware of the things you say.
It is too easy in this day and age to lose a scholarship because of what you say on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.
Start by Looking at a Team’s Roster
Go to the schools you are interested in and look at the rosters. Pick out the names of athletes that are currently on the roster. Try choosing a few athletes from different graduating years. Contacting athletes from different years will give you a better impression of how the program has developed. It is always a great idea to do some research on a program before reaching out, whether you are contacting a coach or an athlete. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs with questions that could have been easily researched. In addition, it will give you insightful information to bring up in conversation.
Search for the Athletes on Social Media Sites
Start with Facebook because it is easy to search for someone’s name and school on Facebook. You can use Twitter as well, but it may be harder to find people. On Twitter, try using the search function and select the people option. You can also look at an athletic department or team’s main Twitter handle and see if those athletes follow them or are mentioned by those Twitter accounts.
What You Should Say to the Athletes
Once you have found athletes to contact, you can send them a message introducing yourself as a potential recruit. Tell them you are interested in learning more about the program and the university and you want to know if it is all right to ask them some questions. Some athletes may say no, but don’t be discouraged because many of them will be open to sharing their thoughts and answering your questions. You can ask them questions about practice schedules, off-season training, campus life, or any other aspect about a college or sports program that interests you.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefit of talking directly to athletes is their ability to tell you more about the student life and how athletes perceive a university and the coaches of the team. Coaches will be honest with you, but they may not address some negative factors (for instance, how much the cafeteria food stinks). Athletes will have inside insights into all aspects of college life at a particular university.
You Still Need To Be Recruited by a Coach
Don’t think that all it takes to get recruited is to develop a good relationship with a college athlete. The coach is still the person who will decide whether you will get a scholarship. Make sure to continue your conversations with coaches as well as their athletes.