As social media has greatly increased in popularity it has become a common tool for gymnastics recruiters to use to research potential athletes. Especially in the online world created by COVID, they will be looking into your social profiles more than ever. This can be a bit unnerving but in this guide, we will go over everything that you need to know about creating a great social media presence that will help you greatly in your college recruiting process.
What role Does social media play in college recruiting
Colleges are looking at all of your social media channels, that is a fact that you cannot ignore. They look through your social profiles in order to get a better gauge of your personality and character. After all, coaches are selecting you to add to the team and their choices reflect directly on their livelihoods. So coaches will be doing the due diligence to leave no stone unturned in their recruiting process.
It is important that your profile shows positive signals that you would be an amazing fit for their team. It is great to show your ability to be a team player, hard worker, and kind individual. Even if you have great scores many coaches might be scared away by someone who comes across as rude or arrogant as they could bring down the team as a whole.
So when applying to different colleges be sure to present the best version of yourself on social media and showcase all of the great reasons you would fit in well on a college team. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and think about what they are looking for and what they would like to see.
How College Gymnastics Recruiters Use Social Media
Gymnastics recruiters will be using social media to skim through profiles and watch highlight reels. They will be present on many social media platforms, but social media will probably not be their main research method. It is just too slow and there are too many applicants to get through. Instead, it is better to think of social media as a supplemental tool that they will use to research each gymnast more thoroughly.
These recruiters will often use social media to post about their programs as well. After all, they are also advertising to potential applicants. It is important to follow the college gymnastics pages that you are interested in and stay up to date on what they are doing and posting. This is also advantageous if they ever call you out of the blue you will have a great jumping-off point to show your genuine interest in their school.
Although coaches might be liking posts it is important to know that they are not permitted to publicly comment on your posts until you have committed to their program. This is often called the “click don’t type rule” and can explain why you might be getting many likes but no comments from your ideal coaches.
Coaches also use social media to receive and send private messages. Every coach is different in how they want to use this feature, but consider sending coaches direct messages as well as emails to flag them down in whatever way is best for them. Each coach is different and might prefer different communication methods so try them all to find what your ideal college coach prefers and then adapt to that. This can go a long way to winning them over.
Best Practices on social media for college recruiting
When it comes to social media it can be a double-edged sword. Just as easily as it can build you up it can also tear you down. That is why your profiles need to be managed with a great degree of care. There have been many horror stories of promising athletes missing out on scholarships from one inappropriate post. Don’t be that person! In this section, we will discuss some of the dos and don’ts of social media.
What To Do
Make sure to fill in your descriptions on your various social media platforms with information including your club team, GPA, Class year, Gymnastics accomplishments scores, and location. This will help recruiters find all of this information quickly which they will be grateful for. Having all of your information easily accessible on different social media channels helps to promote your name and your likelihood of being selected.
Post your achievements, highlight reels, and your most impressive skills. Social media is a great place to showcase your talent so feel free to post all of these clips on your various social media platforms. Don’t worry about posting videos before you are at your “peak” as an athlete. Especially for younger athletes coaches understand that gymnastics is a long process of growth. If you can show how your skills are improving regularly now then they can assume that the same growth pattern will continue through college. Which is exactly what they are looking to see.
Make sure to monitor your social media to keep all inappropriate information off of your page. You cannot be too careful when it comes to posting inappropriate, controversial, or even illegal content. College boards are on high alert for this information. As a general rule if you would not show your social media post to a potential boss you should not post it online for colleges to see.
Post your college offers if and when you receive them. This needs to be done in a tasteful manner. Getting an offer from a college is a big deal so it is ok to share it. Be sure that you tag the college and express your thanks to them. If you do receive multiple offers always show each offer the same amount of care and consideration.
Follow the college gymnastics programs that you are interested in. Coaches will notice who is liking their posts and take note of the students that are actively engaged with what they have to say. Be polite and courteous and take interest in their programs. You cannot expect them to give you the time of day if you would not do the same for them.
Post things that show your work ethic or ability to overcome adversity. Colleges know that you are not perfect, and they do not want to see a perfect profile full of easy achievements and effortless scores. Although they would love to see great scores, the blood, sweat, and tears that go into something as difficult as gymnastics cannot and should not be covered up. Tell about your story and your struggles in gymnastics, it might just be the thing that sets your apart.
Be a human! Showing that you are a human who has hobbies and a healthy life balance is also great for college recruiters. However, make sure that this is always done in a professional manner.
What Not To Do
Don’t post illegal or inappropriate content. This one goes without saying but it is important to mention. Don’t post anything like this on social media at any time. It will only negatively affect your chances of getting accepted by a college or a future job. If you do have any of this content delete it as soon as possible for the best chances of it being forgotten.
Don’t post controversial or negative emotions. Social media can be a great outlet to let the world know about your views on a certain topic or issue. For many, this can be a wonderful way to spread awareness or try to right some wrong in the world. But for this period in your life posting controversial things on social media can hurt your chances of being accepted to various colleges. Especially keep this in mind if you are applying to many colleges across the country. Chances are that not all colleges will agree with your opinions so it is better to keep those to yourself, it would be horrible to be denied a scholarship over a difference in beliefs.
Don’t keep your social media accounts private. This often indicates that you have something to hide from college gymnastics recruiters. Try to make everything as public as possible to get the greatest chances of being found.
How To Reach Out To College Gymnastics Coaches Through Social Media
Reaching out to coaches through social media has become a reliable way to get their attention and interest. In many cases, recruiters are actually faster at responding to direct messages than they are to emails. Direct messages can be a great medium to reach your ideal coach, but make sure to use this tool delicately. You do not want to blow up a recruiter’s DMs and come across as arrogant or annoying.
When messaging a recruiter always do your research just as you would with a professional email. Make what you are sending to them personal in some way by including recent achievements or events. Don’t send the same message to every recruiter or they will be able to recognize your boilerplate message.
Add in your personal information and introduce yourself. Include your GPA, class year, location, club team, and potentially a national score or important meet performance. This first touch point is all about making a good first impression and earning a spot on the list of possible applicants. You are not asking directly for a scholarship, but rather an opportunity to get to know them, their school, and their team.
Always be professional in your messaging through social media. Avoid abbreviations and other lingo that is more traditionally used on social media. Instead, phrase it like an email.
What Social Media Platforms Are Best For Gymnastics Recruiting
The best social media channels to work through currently are Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Another social media(ish) platform to consider is also to create an account on YouTube to post your highlight reels and other important videos. This can be another place where recruiters can find you.
These are the major social media platforms that coaches will be looking through during the application process. Any others are probably too obscure for most to be checking.
NCAA Rules – What Coaches Can And Can’t Do On Social Media
It is important to keep in mind that coaches need to follow their own set of guidelines detailed here:
- High school athletes can reach out to coaches at any time public or private
- Coaches can communicate to new applicants privately through a direct message after their contract has begun
- Coaches cannot comment publically on recruits’ pages or social media profiles
- Coaches can like potential recruits’ posts
- Specific colleges might have specific rules in addition to these so be mindful of all rules coaches must follow.
If you want to read up on more that coaches can and cannot do check out this article for more in-depth information
Conclusion on Social Media For College Recruiting
Social media can be one of your greatest tools or your greatest hindrance to getting accepted to a college gymnastics team. By following the rules in this guide we hope that it is much more of a help to you in your search for a college gymnastics scholarship. We wish you the best of luck in your college application process!