Huddersfield Town’s youth-team got more than they bargained for during a recent pre-season training camp in Oakham, Leicestershire.
While the 5 day trip was used to build fitness ahead of the 2013-14 season the players were also subject to other preparatory work around lifestyle and behaviour to ensure it befits that of a professional athlete.
With that in mind – National sports journalist Cathy Wood was called in to deliver a presentation which highlighted the positives and negatives of Social Media.
Wood, who is also a former Great Britain Triathlete, gave Town’s young players her view on their existing social media output across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The youngsters were then asked consider whether they felt the content truly represented them and whether their output made them a risk or role model to their clubs and themselves.
“It came as a bit of a shock to realise just what possible effects your own actions – and those of ‘friends’ – online can have on others, particularly team mates,” said second-year apprentice Joe Wilkinson.
“The information about ‘tagging’ was new to most of us and something we all need to consider carefully in the future.”
The session, which also spelled out the dangers of paying scant attention to security settings on social media sites and how this can be an issue to footballers, was welcomed by Huddersfield Town’s Head of Education and Welfare Karen Crosland.
“Regardless of whether or not our scholars go onto enjoy careers as professional footballers or not, the ability to communicate is an essential life skill and we aim to give our Academy players an all-round education,” said Crosland.
“Cathy gave a great insight as to how journalists can use social media to learn about individuals, as well as examples of how the scholars can change their online behaviour to showcase the many positive activities which they are involved in.”
“The presentation was informative, interesting and hard hitting and I believe that our players now understand that they are role models and their online presence should reflect this.”