Thursday, May 2, 2013

Canadian Coaches & Twitter... Twitter How?

So I took a break from this to give it some real thought but I'm back to beating the drum on this thread of blogs...

Phase 3.

In phase 1 there was a call to action, and in phase to there was a deeper explanation as to why Twitter is an important tool on it's own and as a symbol of willingness to evolve.  If the objective is greater collaboration and beginning the process of evolving with technology, and Twitter is likely the simplest of web technologies... a "gateway technology" if you will... then it's time to explore how to use Twitter effectively as a swim coach.

Is there a fool-proof blueprint.. obviously not, but some trends start to emerge with great Twitter feeds...

Honest.  Follow someone like Bolles' Sergio Lopez Miro (@sergiolopezmiro).

Insightful.  Follow someone like USC's Dave Salo (@Sprintsalo).

Motivational.  Following someone like University of Tennessee's Tyler Fenwick (@VolsDCoach)

Informative.  Follow someone like GoSwim's Glenn Mills (@goswim)

Community oriented... involving their swimmers, giving the outside world access to elite programs without fear of "sharing secrets"... follow University of Michigan's Mike Bottom (@MikeBottom) or SwimMAC's David Marsh (@dmswimmac)

... and many other layers.  The most important thing about feeds like those listed above and other's like them is they are unfiltered and followers feel they are getting a true representation of what these coaches are about and in cases like Salo and Bottom I'm willing to guess it really helps them in recruiting.

As a coach who does not yet coach athletes of the caliber of Division I Varsity coaches, I am developing a Twitter feed based on my internal monologue and put forth honestly through Twitter.  I will call out fuckery in the swimming community and I'll tell a bad joke or two, the feed is equal parts serious and fun but 100% honest... and if my honesty is no good in the opinion of others then that's fine.

The cherry on the top of twitter are hashtags.  Anyone who follows me sees my #G2PAIN hashtag, I wear it on a hat at swim meets, and the #G2PAIN meme is 100% for my swimmers.  They chose to do the work everyday in the pool, in the weight room, and on the running paths. I believe in the challenges of my group and as a result we share G2PAIN (Gold 2 being my group's name and the rest is academic from there) as a hash-tag to safely lament about the challenges of being a swimmer in this Gold 2 family.

I think a clever or representative hash-tag is a flag to wave. Watching Tennessee's Tyler Fenwick tweet during NCAAs was a clinic in effective Twitter usage.  Informative, using pictures, fun hash-tags, the whole package that serves to bring followers closer to the Vols swimming experience.  Pretty amazing stuff.

It's a great time in the coaching community to collaborate because the access to do so is greater then ever before.  The technology is in place to assist in leveraging more information and in this era everyone has a thirst for information.  It's time to jump on board the ship or be left behind at the port and the swim to catch up to the boat is not an easy one for those who wait too long.