I recently had the opportunity to speak at the amazing Ontario Coaches Conference 2011 in London, Ontario. I spoke about communication in the coach-athlete relationship and highlighted the areas of law that could affect these interactions. We also discussed one of the most troubling questions among prudent coaches – can/should athletes and coaches be friends on Facebook?
One of the attendees at my presentation explained that she has two Facebook profiles – one for friends and family and the other for her athletes. Essentially, she has a “coach profile”.
Further, one of my articles from our website was cited on the website gymnasticscoaching.com. The editor of the website agreed with my position that coaches should have a social media strategy for interacting with their athletes. The editor suggested that coaches can actively use Facebook – but in order to avoid Facebook problems the coach should create a persona specific to the coach’s role as coach. For example – “Coach Rick”.
I like that coaches are considering solutions. However, it is certainly questionable whether ‘Facebook problems’ would be mitigated by the coach creating an alternate account. Let’s look at some benefits and drawbacks of creating a ‘coach profile’.
Is the “Coach Profile” the answer to the question of whether athletes and coaches can/should be friends on Facebook? It could be the solution that works for you and your athletes. But other coaches may still prefer alternate methods to engage with athletes in this medium. The “Coach Profile” is but one consideration for coaches who are determining their own social media strategy.
Originally published: Sport Law & Strategy Group website (March 2011)