Tag: college athletics
What does every coach want? For his or her team to be as healthy as possible to produce wins and create a winning culture. The same is true inside each department. What if we focused the same amount of energy to help grow each team member to their highest possible level, while creating a culture where everyone plays in their sweet spot? What would that look like? What impact would that have on your team and athletics department?
That’s the idea of a 100X Leader. That is what we intend to help you do.
As we head full speed into a new year, it’s always good to step back and reflect on the previous year. To understand where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. And, hopefully, to celebrate. Thanks to you, 2015 brought us many reasons to celebrate.
Many things keep administrators up at night. One of those things, not surprisingly, is what their student-athletes are doing online. “What are they posting? Who will see it? Will I get an email at 2:00 in the morning about it? Will I wake up to find one of our players on Deadspin for something she tweeted?”
What players post is out of the control of administrators and coaches – no matter what policies you have in place. It’s one of the main reasons social media education is so important. Given how much time college students spend online, and how much of a magnifying glass is on what student-athletes post, we must be intentional to educate, equip and empower them to use it well.
In our leadership sessions with teams and departments, we use a tool to decrease gossip and drama. It’s a visual tool that asks 3 questions.
Blueprint: a detailed plan of how to do something
We talk a lot about social media use of college athletics departments, and of course how student-athletes and staff use the various social media platforms. We tweet out a lot of links to something inspiring that one department did, or something unique that another program published. These ideas help to get creative juices flowing, to see what works for others that might work for you. The problem is that, without an actual strategy, none of these are really helpful. You don’t just throw graphics or videos or stories up independently of one another. Each has a place in your overall brand story, each serves a purpose in establishing and furthering your voice. You got a lot of RTs on that great pic but what now? That funny YouTube video you posted went viral, but you didn’t have a plan in place to capture that momentum. You are doing social media, but you aren’t really doing social media.
In our visits to over 80 athletics departments and conferences, we ask a lot of questions and learn about where people are succeeding and where they are struggling when it comes to social media.
These discussions (along with our work with athletics organizations and studying the social media industry as a whole) resulted in a presentation that we’ve given over the past two years at a number of events, on creating a blueprint for social media success in college sports.
Three and a half years ago I began a journey. A journey that has taken me, along with friends/colleagues, to more than 65 collegiate campuses to talk with tens of thousands of student-athletes, as well as thousands of athletics administrators. Building and running Fieldhouse Media has been some of the most rewarding, difficult, exciting, stressful, beautiful times of my life. I’m tremendously encouraged about the road ahead for Fieldhouse, which has now become a full service digital strategy and training firm.
Student-Athletes have a lot of critics. From fans to media to opponents, even parents and coaches can, at times, be critics. It seems everyone has an opinion on what they should do. When it comes to shaping behavior, what they really need are models. Critics tell them what not to do, while models show them what to do. Critics call them out, models call them up to what they’re capable of being.
At practice, coaches spend a significant amount of time reinforcing good technique, good habits, good decisions. If you continually tell a player to not drop the pass, they end up focusing so much on not dropping the pass that, of course, they drop the pass. There’s so much tension and anxiety around not screwing up.
Instead, we coach them on what needs to happen in order to reach the desired goal of catching the pass. We focus on good route-running skills, timing and proper hand position. When they drop it, we step out and show them how it’s done so that they can see it. They can visualize it. We model the right way to do it. Then we send them back out to practice it over and over until it becomes second nature to simply catch the pass. The fear of dropping it is no longer there.
When it comes to social media, too often we are doing the exact opposite. We are coaching them on what not to do, continually criticizing their poor behavior and decisions. We bring in speakers who are unfamiliar with social media, who only know the negative side of it and try to instill in them a fear of messing up. We have coaches who don’t use the platforms preaching that same message. They only thing they know about social media is what not to do. When that’s all you are focused on, you are bound to slip up.
What student-athletes need on social media are models. Someone to guide them on how to use social media well, to help them develop goals for their social media use. Leaders who can explain what that looks like and why that matters. Someone who uses it often and can show them how powerful social media can be when used with a purpose. They need coaches, staff members, people in the community and business world to follow online who can show them what it means to use social media for more than just talking to your friends. People they can learn from and model their social media behavior after.
As educators, it is our job to model. To preach purpose over fear. To prepare them for success online. We have the opportunity to shape how they view and use social media. Are we taking the best approach?
To quote John Wooden, “young people need models, not critics.
Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 130 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.