Discussing Social Media

August 3, 2018

Last week, there was discussion of racially charged and offensive tweets that resurfaced from Major League Baseball pitchers Josh Hader and Sean Newcomb. In response, the Gainesville Times asked high school football coaches in Hall County, Ga, to talk about how they deal with social media.

“We can try to hide from social media and we can talk about the failures of social media and all that sort of thing, but at the end of the day, this is the language that these guys speak,” said Heath Webb, head coach at Gainesville High School.

Krofton Montgomery, head coach at West Hall, said that he educates his players about using social media, so that they can project a positive and professional image of themselves.

“It definitely changes things,” Montgomery said. “Kids don’t always necessarily understand how serious something that you put into writing can be.”

Social media can be useful to student-athletes, as Webb said that “every college coach in the country is on Twitter.” Montgomery agreed, saying that it helped some athletes get noticed by college coaches.

“And it’s a great way for coaches to be able to look you up quickly and kind of look at your highlights,” Montgomery said. “Some of our kids have been really lucky to actually get some different calls for having done it right.”

Shaun Conley, head coach at Chesautee, said social media can be a good and bad thing. He said it was an essential tool for communicating with his team, but it has also forced him to think about things he never would have considered in the past.

“Five years ago, 10 years ago, that was never even talked about at football practice,” Conley said. “But we do talk to them about that now. Be careful what you say and what you do, because somebody is always watching.”

Webb said that since social media is not going away, he and other coaches must learn how to adapt to it.

“As a 42-year-old man, I can say ‘We don’t need social media,’” he said. “But the reality is, for teenagers, it’s there. So if it’s there, let’s use it and use it the right way.”

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