This morning I attended a great event at the San Diego Hall of Champions. It was the Letter of Intent Signing Party for HS athletes all across San Diego. The event began at 8am, but many of the excited parents and athletes were there quite early. It was fun to see them wear sweatshirts and hats from the universities they’ll be attending next fall. Today was the first of seven days in which athletes who play basketball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, golf, lacrosse, girls water polo, baseball, softball and wrestling can officially commit to college scholarships. (Lots of golfers in attendance today!)
After a welcome from the Marketing Director, Jesse Lovejoy, our own San Diego Padre, Carlos Quentin took the stage to deliver an inspirational message to the families. Carlos is a San Diego native and played baseball for University High School (now known as Cathedral Catholic High School). He went on to play baseball at Stanford before going pro.
His message was very simple, yet profound. “Continue making the decisions you are already making.” He elaborated that the student athletes have already put in hard work in school, made commitments to their team and sport, and made difficult choices along the way to get to a point where they are signing intent letters for some of the finest universities in America. He warned them that they were joining an elite group of people – for some they will be teammates with Olympians and national champions. He even mentioned that they might feel intimidated by their fellow athletes or the geniuses in their classes. But he encouraged them that if they continue making the tough decisions in the fashion they have to date, that they will be the best, they will be elite and they will continue to pave the path to achieve their dreams.
Carlos is a great example for local athletes to follow. He mentioned that San Diego grows great athletes and smart students. He actually graduated in 3 1/3 years at Stanford. That’s pretty impressive. And as a San Diegan, he’s living his dream playing for the San Diego Padres.
After his motivational speech, each high school was called onto the stage and the student athletes had the opportunity to say their name, sport and what university they will play for and attend. There were local news channels there to interview select athletes and I’m sure we’ll see many on the evening news.
Hats off to the team at the San Diego Hall of Champions. It was a very special day for parents and their students and the moment was made even more special by bringing the community together to celebrate the achievements of San Diego’s high school athletes. Congratulations to all of the families. Well deserved recognition and honors today! I look forward to attending the next signing in February!
September 1st marks the date that coaches and recruits may begin contacting high school student-athletes in their junior year. It’s an exciting time! A word of caution and advice to high school student-athletes: Make sure your social profiles are presentable.
While not all coaches are actively using Twitter and Facebook, YouTube or Google+ to check up on you and see what your personality is like, this is a growing trend that you should be prepared for. Here’s a short video from recruitment experts, NCSA and former UCLA softball coach, Sue Enquist. She explains very clearly why you need to present a positive profile online:
So what does your social profile look like? Are you sharing your hobbies and interests, promoting your skills and talent? Or have you posted profanity, explicit photos and/or items that cause people to question who you really are? Coaches are looking for strong character and leadership. They want to recruit well-rounded individuals and student-athletes who will succeed in their program. They want to see great skills on the field, and academic achievers off the court. Are you the leader they are looking for?
Take some time to polish up your profiles. Have a look at this post, 7 Handy Tips for Managing Multiple Social Profiles, for a few tips as to how you can better manage your profiles, or have a look at my presentation to UCLA law school students. It should give you some ideas as to how best to develop your personal brand.
Live in San Diego? Save the date for The Role of Social Media in College Athletic Recruitment at the San Diego Hall of Champions on October 11th at 6:30pm. Guest speakers include former Padre Carmen Bucci of NCSA and Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, as well as other experts. High school student-athletes and parents are encouraged to attend, as well as College athletic staff and coaches. High school coaches can pick up some great tips too! More info to come, so stay tuned to Beaming Bohemian!
This article was originally written for Hoop Group. You can read the post HERE. Hoop Group is the worldwide leader in basketball instruction. Hoop Group has offered premier basketball camps since the summer of 1963. Having touched the lives of over 1 million young men and women since Hoop Group has evolved into much more than just summer basketball camps. Learn about the 4 divisions and what Hoop Group does by visiting their website at http://hoopgroup.com/. You can also learn more by following @DaveKrupinski on Twitter
The slightly altered version….
University athletic programs are increasingly placing pressure on coaches to better understand social media and use any variety of networks to interact with and monitor athletes, converse with students, be available to supporters and identify prospective donors. Coaches are in a unique position to either excel in the sport of social media or walk off the platforms scoreless. Coaches have undoubtedly reached the moment when it is crucial to not only understand how to use these social tools, but also how to use them with purpose and in a positive way. If coaches take an authoritative approach over their accounts, they can very well work to build a positive brand image, not only for themselves, but for their team, sport and school. Here are a five key steps coaches can take to to build their brand and use social media more effectively.
1. Create Your Identity
Before your fingers touch the keyboard, you’ll need to develop your brand identity. Creating your brand identity starts with discovering your core values. What are you passionate about in life? What motivates you? Why are you coaching basketball instead of soccer, softball instead of volleyball? What makes you special? Why is your coaching style unique? These are all questions that you can ask yourself to drive down to the core of your being and determine what you value.
This is an exercise that will take a few hours, but it is well worth your time to discover three to five of your most prominent values. With each core value, it is essential you also write a core value statement. A few corporate examples:
We can generate greater appreciation and loyalty from all of our stakeholders by educating them about natural and organic foods, health, nutrition and the environment.
We demonstrate integrity every day by practicing the highest ethical standards and by ensuring that actions follow our words.
Collaboration and Partnering
Providing opportunities to meet, communicate, collaborate, and partner within the information industry and the business community.
2. Craft Your Brand Message
Using your core values and statements, draft what is your vision. Incorporate your core values, but also give some thought to what your audience wants to hear from you. What are their core concerns? This will set the tone of your brand communications and define your purpose for using online tools. Why should people follow you? Why should they engage with your posts, read your content or share with their circles of friends? What information are they expecting from you? Keep this in mind as you draft your brand message. It’s not only about what you want to tell them. It is more about what your audience wants to hear from you. Maybe you know your fans love behind-the-scenes photos. Perhaps they go crazy for post-game analysis. They might want to know what it’s like in the day of a coach. Fans could be looking to you for inspiration.
Even the biggest brands have gone through these first two exercises. The best brands incorporate their values into their brand message and communicate that through various channels, particularly social media. Another way to think of these first two steps is to imagine that you are building your house of communication. Your core values are the strong, solid foundation and your vision and brand message serve as the framework for your communications. Without these, there is no house. Step into the world of social media without these game plans, and you are planning to fail.
3. Choose The Right Channels
One easy mistake to make is to have the desire to be all things to all people and exist everywhere. We tend to want to gain as much exposure as possible, and find we’re signing up for every social network ever built. But in order to hone your skills, it is better to narrow your focus. Just think in terms of sports. If you coached football, water polo, lacrosse and tennis how good of a coach would you be at any of those sports? If you cut out the others and focus only on football, how much greater of a coach would you be? You would see your skills refined and improved.
But the question remains, how do you choose the right channel? We have to think about your audience again. Where do they “live?” If the majority of your fans, friends, community members, etc., use Facebook, then by all means, zone in on Facebook and utilize the features to your advantage. If you enjoy using Twitter to share news, gain a following and Twitter turns out to be a great method for telling your story, then go nuts on Twitter. Choosing the right channel is a blend of where you know your audience will receive your communications and what channels best promote your brand message. You may have to test a bit and find what works and where your audience engages with you the most. Rest assured, you will find what works best for you. In order to better understand how each network functions, gain the help of the person who manages social media for your athletic department. They will be delighted to help you. If one of your athletes is a social superstar, ask for their help. They would love the chance to give their coach a few pointers! And what a great conversation to start with your players! (That’s an entirely different blog post!)
4. Be consistent
You’ve taken the steps to create your brand identity, to craft your brand message and choose the right channel to communicate, now you have to keep at it and build your brand. One simple tip to brand yourself across your chosen channels is to use similar images for your profile or background photos so that fans will know they’ve landed on your page. Use images that well represent your team or even pictures which promote your schedule. Put some thought into the photos. Don’t underestimate the power of a great photo. It’s valuable real estate for promoting your brand and lends a lasting image.
Just as a business would, you should plan ahead and create a content plan. You might not need to get super specific, but some outlines of what you might consider posting on a weekly or monthly basis can come in handy. This will help you with consistency. Luckily, you have a practice, game and tournament schedule that can guide you in what information to post. Check out a few professional teams like the Boston Celtics, The LA Kings or the Chicago Cubs. Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll does a great job on Twitter. Mimic what is working for the pros. The more consistent you are, the more you will see your following grow. They will learn they can depend on you for either specific bits of news and information, or expect dedicated times when you are online and available for conversation. Coaches may want to consider a weekly window of time to be present online and allow the community to chat with you about an upcoming game. This type of chat can be neatly executed on most social channels. So again, find the one where your audience is present. You might also do something like welcome game-day quotes that you’ll retweet or posts of photos of fans in school-spirited gear on your Facebook Page. There are lots of opportunities to create regular and consistent conversations and sharing of great content.
5. Be Valuable
Not only should you create content of value, but you should work to be valuable. A few questions to ask yourself: Are you promoting your sport? Your team? Your school? Your league or division? Are you cross-promoting the other sports at your school? Giving accolades to your players or to other athletes at your school who excel? Are you sharing content that is a positive reflection on your personal brand? Are you sharing information your audience wants to receive? Do you really look at who your fans and followers are? Any prospective donors in the mix? Can you name the team’s biggest fan?
If coaches take the time and make the effort to promote their brand, they will grow to serve as valuable assets to the team, the athletic department and to the school. Coaches with strong personal brands can positively affect recruitment, player performance and professional development, community support, ticket sales, donor relations and public image. When your contributions off the field are just as significant as your work with your athletes, you bring added value to your team and to the athletics program. You can serve as a social media example to your players and, in turn, help them improve their communication skills.
Far too many coaches have written off social media as something that exists only to get their players in trouble or as some silly thing kids use to broadcast which sandwich they chose for lunch. In reality, social media serve as incredibly powerful communication tools which, when approached professionally, purposefully and positively, can set you up for the winning goal.
Beaming Bohemian, unconventionally brilliant communication, was founded to infuse communications with positivity and purpose and to empower you to build meaningful, personable brands which connect and inspire people. If you are a coach in need of more guidance, we’d like to help you. We can consult with you privately to get you active on the social networks which best fit your goals, or we can bring the Coaching the Coaches program to your campus and allow all the coaches on your teams benefit from personal branding and social media education. Contact us!