USA Hockey Magazine

September 2015

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36 PHOTOS BY Getty Images; Images On Ice SEPTEMBER. 2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM T ake a look around t h e r i n k a n d count how many players, parents and even coach- es are on their cell phones or tablets. There is no doubt we're living in a wired world. W h e t h e r i t 's F a c e b o o k , Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, social media can play a valuable role in elevating an athlete's or a team's online presence by allow- ing them to connect with fans. And while the nuances of social media may still be foreign to some old school coaches, many are finding that it's a valu- able tool for communicating with current players, prospec- tive recruits and fans. "The one thing we have to do as coaches is to be knowledge- able about the athletes in our locker room who are much dif- ferent than the ones who were there eight to 10 years ago. We as coaches have to be equipped to deal with them on and off the ice and live in their world," said Mark Johnson, who enters his 14th season as the head coach of the University of Wisconsin women's program. "Even though we might be from the old school and have our ways of doing things, we have to be willing to adapt to these young athletes who are presented to us today." And tapping into the power of social media is an effective means of getting that message across through a medium that continues to evolve. "If you're not using social m e d i a , y o u ' r e b e h i n d t h e times," said Derek Schooley, head coach of the men's hock- e y t e a m a t R o b e r t M o r r i s University. "It's important that we use social media, but it's important that we use it wisely." Four years ago, Schooley invited the public relations director from the Pittsburgh Penguins to speak to his team. He used examples of what people have done in social media that works well and what doesn't. He even used exam- ples of players on the team and pointed out things that didn't seem appropriate. Schooley said that his players have done a good job of embrac- ing the message and incorporat- ing it into their daily lives. "In our media releases we use their Twitter handles to make sure we allow people to access our players," Schooley said. "But, we also have to make sure it's done responsibly. Because once it's out there you can't delete it." Responsibility is a common theme that coaches stress when they address their teams about the positives and pitfalls of social media. Just as coaches work with their players to develop skills and learn team systems, they also need to teach their players what is expected from them when it comes to social media. "I believe that this is the world that the kids we're deal- ing with live in," said Tom Anastos, the head coach at Michigan State University. "It's there, it's in front of you and it's all around you. How can you learn to manage it?" Anastos has created a set of guidelines that his players need to follow, such as no trash talking opponents, not associating themselves with i n a p p r o p r i a t e t w e e t s , n o t saying anything you wouldn't say at a public press conference, and not posting things that you wouldn't be comfortable showing to your mother. In general, Anastos said his players have taken his message to heart. Still, there have been instances where he has seen a post he didn't like, but rather than make a player take it down, he uses it as an opportunity to teach them to think twice before pressing Send. " I ' m t r y i n g t o e d u c a t e them," Anastos said. "You're representing the program, The Effective Use Of Social Media Has Become A Game Changer From The Grass Roots Up To The Big Leagues // By TRISH BRADLE Social Side OF ICE THE

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