It’s hard to find someone who isn’t on social media these days. Everywhere you turn someone is chatting, posting, liking or sharing something on their phone.

While you may remember a time when such a thing didn’t exist; for millennial athletes, social media is a reality they grew up in. As with everything else in life, the influence it has on young athletes can be both good and bad.

If you don’t teach your young athlete to use it responsibly, it can hurt their sports career before it even begins. On the other hand, if they don’t use the advantages of social media, they might never create a job in sports. And with all of this to take into consideration, what is the impact of social media on young athletes?

Distraction from Sports

It is common that social media hurts a young athlete’s career. Coaches know this all too well, especially during practice when someone forgets to park their phone in the locker room and starts posting a live story on the field.

Young athletes need to understand that there are a time and a place for these kinds of things. But until they do, coaches and parents need to step in.

A coach can issue a “no phone” policy that applies to everyone, even himself. Once everyone suits up, it’s off the phones for the whole team. Since everyone is equally treated, it will be easier for athletes to accept the policy.

(Anti-)Social Development

Young athletes who participate in team sports can miss out on an opportunity to socialize with their teammates by not disconnecting from their phones.

Real-life interaction with same age children is one of the ways we learn and develop different social and communication skills. A practice session is where this can easily happen since there are a lot of situations where you need to speak and read body language to receive information.

Lack of personal interactions can seriously harm group dynamics and prevent the establishment of teamwork, especially in new teams.

On the other hand, connecting with players online from the same team, even the coach can improve communication off the pitch. Staying in contact with another person is how people remain relevant to each other. If practice occurs only once or twice a week, it’s hard to consider your teammate a friend.

However, when athletes remain connected via social media, it allows them to communicate with one another, which can improve how they speak during games.

Connecting with Favorite Athletes

One of the ways professional players (active and retired) remain relevant is by interacting with fans through social media. It is a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to connect with their role model which can boost their motivation.

It doesn’t take much to come into contact with an athlete, all you have to do is send a request and initiate communication. And since many pro athletes post tutorials and tips, their younger followers can learn new things which can improve their game.

Accept It

Despite the effects of social media, it’s here to stay. For young athletes, this means understanding the negative side and use the positive aspects to benefit their career. And being smart how they manage their time on social media, their athletic performance will improve when they come on the field.