In 2013, I wrote an article titled “Can Facebook or a Social Network Site Affect How I Am Recruited?” Four years
later there are many additional and seemingly even more popular apps/social media sites amongst teenagers. Examples are
Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. I know this to be true as I have two teenagers of my own who have these apps on their
phones. It’s certainly not what I grew up with, but this is the new normal. To this end, I felt compelled to address and
update this topic and touch briefly on the subject of phone etiquette when interacting with coaches/adults. From my own
experiences as a parent and hearing from countless junior golf parents, I realize the phone has become an ever-present
appendage of our youth (and for that matter society) of today. I’m not trying to provide a worldwide solution or expound
on the social ramifications of phone dependence, but I do want to simply share with junior golfers how their
phone/social media can potentially impact them in the recruiting process.
College coaches have always evaluated prospective student-athletes’ tournament results and academic achievements.
Additionally, attitude, mental toughness, and the like are also factored into a coach’s decision when recruiting a
player. Recruiting prospective student-athletes who have good values is a very important aspect of the recruiting
process for college coaches. Coaches understand that each incoming player will greatly influence team chemistry and the
culture of the program, as well as be an ambassador for their university. Now, in the age of the cell phone and
corresponding apps, it’s important for junior golfers to pay attention to what they post or comment on social media
sites, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. In today’s world, everything can be sent out to cyberspace with a
simple touch of a button on your phone. Your reputation and image can be affected, both positively and negatively, by
what you post or comment, and hence, you want to be aware that anything you post should represent you in a positive way.
College coaches will certainly look at your social media activity during the recruiting process to learn more about you,
whom you associate with, your reputation, and your off course behavior. I have heard from more than a few college
coaches who have stopped recruiting players because of inappropriate content they saw or were told about on a recruit’s
social media site(s).
These sites, if used correctly, are great for keeping in touch with friends and expressing yourself by sharing funny
stories/experiences, following people you find interesting, and posting your favorite pictures, movie lines, videos, and
music. However, you need to be aware that posting inappropriate content and/or communicating with people you do not
know personally could jeopardize your image and reputation not only with your teachers and college admissions
counselors, but also with college golf coaches. Just as attitude and behavior are important to college coaches, so too
is the image you portray on these social media sites. The content you choose to post on your site should be something
you would feel comfortable showing to a college coach who is recruiting you.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, I did also want to briefly touch on the subject of phone etiquette when
meeting and interacting with college coaches and, for that matter, people in general. When meeting with a college coach
and or interacting with someone, I’d encourage you to turn on the “do not disturb” feature and put your phone away. When
you have the opportunity to meet a coach, you’ll want to make the best first impression possible (e.g., firm handshake,
look him in the eye, etc.). It’s important you’re able to communicate and articulate directly with a college coach, be
engaged in the conversation, and provide a coach your full attention. It’s easy to develop a habit of always checking
your phone during a conversation, so please ensure you put your phone away during any visits or contacts with coaches.
Some things to keep in mind with respect to social media:
- Think first prior to posting your photos and opinions of other people and always use appropriate language.
- Do not post personal information, such as your address or cell phone number.
- Make sure you or your parents are the only people who know the passwords to your sites.
- Do not reply to inappropriate comments posted on your profile, and make sure to delete any followers who post these
types of comments.
- Do not accept someone as a follower unless you have personally met him or her.
- Always remember that teachers, college coaches, and others may go online to find out things about you from your
profile. Make sure you’re comfortable with these people viewing the content on your profile and/or social media
Continue to enjoy connecting and sharing with your friends and family via social media. Using good judgment in what
you share and with whom you share is critical, ensuring that anyone viewing your profile, posts, and comments, including
college coaches, will come away with a positive impression of you and your character.
Road to College Golf