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Social Media's Impact on Today's Players

By Aaron Wilbur, The Coaches Site, 10/10/20, 9:45AM EDT


Everyone has been given a platform to share their opinion

Photo Credit: Digital Sports Photography

Social media has become an everyday part of our lives, even more than that, it’s something that we check every few hours. With the ability to connect with all of our friends and teammates across multiple platforms, sharing pictures, notes and messages has never been easier. It’s a great way to stay up to date on everything going on in the lives of family and friends.

However, there is also unfortunately a negative side to many of these platforms. Players can constantly be aware of what is being said about them, both the good and the bad. With a cell phone in almost every pocket, everyone has been given the platform to share their opinion.

“Social media has definitely changed the way people think. It’s changed the way people act and what they put priorities on sometimes. Players now can go onto Twitter and type their name in the search bar and see what comes up. Some of it can be really good and some of it can be really bad,” said Mike McKenzie, guest on the Breakaway Podcast. He is the current General Manager and interim head coach of the Kitchener Rangers.

“It just brings so many negatives, I find, to especially teenage players and kids who have brains that aren’t fully developed yet and it can really affect them in negative ways. That’s one challenge. That’s life in general but it trickles over into hockey but I’m sure every teacher or person that deals with young kids now finds that same thing happening.”

Parents often share exciting moments and accomplishments online because of how proud they are of their kids. However, for some it can be frustrating and they find themselves saying “Everyone’s kids are winning trophies and scoring goals but mine is not.” They can fall into a ‘have and have not’ state where they think they aren’t keeping up with their peers or doing their best for their child.

It’s important not to get lost or upset with seeing everyone else ‘winning’. People often show their best selves and accomplishments online. The ‘before’ photos of a skater falling on the ice won’t make your social news feed but the final moments ‘after’ all the hard work and trying over and over will.

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McKenzie suggests coaches educate players on proper cell phone etiquette, how it can get you in trouble and appropriate times to use them.

“Teach them that your self worth as a player or person shouldn’t be tied to how many likes you get on a post or how many comments or what someone is saying about you online that doesn’t know you.”

Youth sports should be a source of enjoyment for players and spending time with teammates and friends should be more important than how many Likes a picture gets. Just because you don’t have a Trophy picture to post every weekend doesn’t make you a bad parent… we can bet you have plenty of pictures of your kid smiling on the ice to share!

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Aaron is the Founder and CEO of The Coaches Site, the #1 online resource for hockey coaches, and also the host of the Glass & Out podcast. He is married with two boys, believes Major League is the best sports movie of all-time, is scared of heights and is mildly obsessed with the Alabama Crimson Tide football program.

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