Today I was researching the correct spelling of a player's last name before sending him an invitation for Bay Area World Series Underclass. So of course I entered the player's name and his school into a Google search. The results of the search directed me to this player's Twitter account. Interesting.
When I was a college coach and a MLB scout, I did what most recruiters and scouts do, I researched players via social media, looking for as much background information as possible regarding the character and off field habits of players. I searched Facebook, MySpace and had Twitter been as big as it is now, I'd have searched Twitter too. You would think (ok, maybe hope is a better word) kids these days would be much more aware of how their social media musings can reflect upon them. Guess what? They aren't.
Simply put, if you are a player who wants to be recruited or wants to be drafted and you are posting stuff on your Facebook or Twitter account that reflects negatively on your character or off field habits or social circle you run with, you can and likely will be ELIMINATED from consideration by recruiters and scouts. Yes, it's a fact. I eliminated players based on the poor choice of an email address handle, based on what I found on Facebook pages, based on conversations with a high school coach about practice habits. Someday you will want a job and you will apply for one. An employer will check your background.
Read that again if you are a player. If you are a parent reading this, then I suggest you become MUCH more aware of any social media accounts your son or daughter might have and what they are posting and who they are linked to (yes, that matters too). You work hard for your kids. They likely are working hard in the classroom and in the weight room and on the practice fields. However, all that work can and will be undermined by their social media habits.
When I found the player's Twitter account today, the most recent post was just the type that would raise a red flag if I was a recruiter or scout. Then I scrolled his tweet history and found A LOT more disturbing posts, the types of postings that would eliminate him from a recruiter's radar.
I will not throw this kid under the bus and tell you his name or what he posted. I just hope someone helps him figure out that he is well on the way to ruining his chances of playing major college baseball (I have no idea yet if he is that good) if he keeps up the type of Twitter activity he has displayed to this point.
I am not suggesting this player or ANY young player who makes poor social media choices is a bad person, not at all. Clearly kids do foolish things (and doing foolish things is not a market cornered by only young people). I did foolish things as a high school kid that could have limited the interest recruiters would have had in me. However, I was a high school kid from 1987-1991 and social media did not exist.
Players, it's true, as your parents and coaches have told you, you never know who is watching, who is listening, who is paying attention to you. If the guy who runs Bay Area World Series is looking for information about you, I think you can safely assume a Pac-12 recruiting coordinator is looking a little deeper and a little harder.
Make better choices.
Thanks for the insight! My son is a huge middle school athlete who has such a bright future. It makes me feel good about the fact that we havent handed him a cell phone or even have a computer for him to drown himself in. He has a godfather that helped him set up a facebook acct. behind our back but we quickly checked that out and he doesnt even really use it. Its all books, band, sports, and volunteering. Hes said weve limited him and kept him out of social media like its a bad thing. Im going to happily share this with him and my husband. Thanks again! Dawn Kragelund
@dawnkragelund Dawn, it sounds like you are doing a great job protecting your son from the potentially harmful effects social media can have on a child during the recruiting process. Because he is in middle school I would say you have every right to restrict him from using sites like Twitter and Facebook.
However, when your son reaches the high-school level I would urge you to have a conversation with him about social media, and suggest to him ways in which to utilize these sites for his own benefit, rather than peril.
Good luck in the process!