I’ve maintained for some time now that, in our divided political world, coaches should refrain from posting their political views on social media. In our current political climate, you run a 50% chance of alienating yourself from the prospect family you are recruiting, no matter which side of the aisle with which you identify.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s your choice, Coach. This is free advice you didn’t ask for, and is merely my opinion based upon observation of the process from both the coach and prospect sides. This is not me telling you to give up your first amendment right to free expression, just that exercising that right can have negative effects when it comes to your chances of landing the prospect you really want.
In short, your recruits – and their parents – are reading what you’re posting.
Case in point: This email from a parent we received on the topic, which speaks to how your social media can affect their view of you and your program:
I am a parent of a student athlete and I wanted to share an observation I have had in recent months. Coaches, recruiters, organizations and respected professionals are showing political stances on twitter and other social media. As you mention in your messaging, what you put on social media will be seen by others and can have a lasting effect, and this goes both ways. As a parent, I feel its my job to understand the process and get to know the coaches and programs as best I can. To do that, I follow several schools and coaches, and listen to podcasts from all perspectives, including yours. You talk about first impressions and how important they can be. As a parent, it is often through social media that we gain our first impressions. And as you also talk about, parents have a strong influence on a prospects final decision.
Back to my reason for emailing, I think it is extremely important for coaches, recruiters, organizations and respected professionals to be aware of the impression they make when they retweet, like or comment on a political post. Is it really the impression they want to project as an organization, or is it just the personal opinion of the person in charge of Twitter?
Unfortunately, we live in a divided political world but it doesn’t belong in sports. Does a coach want to turn off a family because they choose to support a political issue that is against those beliefs of a prospective family? If the school or coach plans to bring those beliefs into their program, then maybe they should be upfront about that, but they should make sure they are speaking on behalf of the whole organization, and are willing to live with the consequences of their communication.
Sports are a wonderful unifying experience, let’s help keep it that way. Keep politics out of sports.
Thank you for your time and Happy New Year!
Food for thought, Coach.