SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media refers to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking. Popular platforms include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Below is a guide created specifically for soccer coaches, offering insights and strategies on guiding and understanding their players' social media usage.
Social Media Usage
Symptoms of increased social media usage
Ways your players can be impacted by social media
How can you be better understand your players use of social media
Communication and Support Strategies
We hope you find this toolkit helpful in understanding and managing these mental health issues that could affect your young soccer player.
Note: Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating health problem or disease; anyone seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed professional.
Social Media Usage
Online Play: A Coach's Guide to Understanding Player's Social Media Usage
Hey Coaches! In the digital age, our players are not just navigating the challenges on the field, but also in the online world of social media. As the captain of your team off the field as well, you have a role in guiding and supporting your players in their online interactions.
Let's contextualize the impact of social media usage within a scene on the soccer pitch to help you understand and support your players.
Imagine the Scene:
It's an exciting day with a big match ahead. The team is buzzing with energy during the warm-up. However, Sam, one of your most reliable players, seems distracted. Every few minutes, they pull out their phone, thumb swiping rapidly, eyebrows occasionally furrowing. They're physically on the pitch, but mentally, they seem miles away.
The team's chatter includes whispers like:
"Did you see the comment thread on Sam's latest post?"
"Someone started a rumor about Sam online, and it's all over our school's Instagram."
“Coach, Sam's really upset about some messages they received.”
When the game starts, that distraction becomes more pronounced. Sam hesitates during plays, misses cues, and their confidence seems shaken. Each time they make a minor error, you see them glance towards the stands, perhaps searching for faces of those who might've been behind the online comments.
That constant need to check the phone, the shadow of doubt in their actions, the fear of real-world confrontations stemming from online interactions? That's the impact of unhealthy social media usage.
Witnessing a player being affected by their digital interactions, the erosion of their self-esteem due to virtual chatter, and the shift in their on-field performance? That's seeing the real-world consequences of social media in action.
As a coach, understanding the pull and pitfalls of social media for young players is crucial. A comment, a rumor, or a message online can deeply affect their mental game. Coaches have the role of helping players navigate not only soccer challenges but also those off the pitch, including the digital world. By being aware of and addressing the influence of social media, coaches can help ensure their players' well-being in both soccer and life.
RECOGNIZING THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON YOUNG ATHLETES
While social media offers connectivity and opportunities for personal branding, it also comes with potential pitfalls, from cyberbullying to performance pressure.
Signs of Negative Social Media Impact
Mood Changes After Going Online: A player becomes visibly upset or withdrawn after checking their social accounts.
Obsession with Online Image: Overemphasis on likes, followers, or online validation.
Distraction and Disengagement: Player is frequently on their phone during team activities or seems preoccupied with online interactions.
Coaching Strategies for Healthy Social Media Habits
Educate on Digital Etiquette: Host a team session on the do’s and don’ts of online behavior, emphasizing respect and privacy.
Encourage Digital Detoxes: Designate specific team gatherings or trips as device-free, allowing players to connect face-to-face.
Set Team Online Guidelines: Create a set of standards for online behavior related to the team, promoting positive interactions and discouraging negative behavior.
WHEN TO SLIDE TACKLE THE ISSUE
If you suspect a player is facing online harassment or is deeply affected by their social media interactions, it might be necessary to involve their parents or even seek advice from professionals who specialize in digital wellness.
CHAMPIONING A BALANCED ONLINE-OFFLINE GAME
The virtual world has become a significant part of our players' lives. By understanding its impact and promoting healthy habits, you're ensuring that your players are well-equipped to handle challenges both on the field and online.
Leading a team is about more than just soccer strategy; it’s about guiding young individuals in all aspects of their lives. Through awareness and action, you can help them strike a balance between their digital and real-world interactions.