Communication, Social Media and the Coach

I am meeting with Robin McConnell‘s undergraduate Advanced Coaching Studies’ group on 29 April.
My discussion topic is Communication, Social Media and the Coach.
This blog post is the start of a conversation with the group in advance of the meeting.
I am keen to discuss:

  1. Coach and athlete communication.
  2. Opportunities provided by social media to share ideas and discuss performance.
  3. Augmented information.

This blog has a number of posts on these topics. I am hopeful that the students coming to the meeting have an opportunity to look at:

There are many more posts that might be of interest (and some SlideShare presentations) but I am keen to explore how students in the group engage with social media and cloud computing. I will be asking about slow reading too (Kingsley, 2010). I will recommend SIRC’s excellent social media resource and mention Wirearchy via Harold Jarche’s post Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise. I will point to Tom Slee’s post on social media (via Kent Anderson), Jason Kramer-Duffield’s discussion of communication ecologies and evidence about the Internet and civil society. Brian Solis posted about the social genome in his discussion of The Three C’s of Social Networking (consumption, curation, creation).
A recent report from Canada (2011) points out that:

Cloud computing is a loose and evolving term generally referring to the increasing use of computer applications that are web-based. A cloud-based application does not need to be downloaded to a user’s computer or institutional servers, and the data used by the application and inputted by the user is housed on servers elsewhere. The application works remotely: it’s not physically present, it could be anywhere in the world (hence the term “in the cloud”).
Social media applications are by definition cloud-based: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogging services like, Blogger, Tumblr or Posterous, or link sharing sites like StumbleUpon, Digg. Any individual may sign on and start using such services independent of their institutional affiliations.

The students in the group will graduate this year at a remarkable time. As coaches in a digital age they will become produsers of learning resources that can have profound impacts on personal learning environments.The scale of this age is indicated by Gary Hayes’ Social Media Counts (13 April 2011):

(For an alternative set of metrics see Is Social Media Ruining Students?)
I hope to end our discussions on with a consideration of leadership behaviours that will resonate with Robin’s discussion throughout the unit. I hope too that we can explore the role augmented information plays in short, medium and long-term coach-athlete relationships.
I will be suggesting that the students follow up on a great case study of the use of social media. Mark Upton and Robert Oatey have developed Mark and Robert are strong advocates of coach education and are “true believers in the potential of the online medium to deliver content that can enhance a wide variety of coaching methods and disciplines”. I think Mark’s post, Creating the ‘coachable moment’ with PlayerTube and online video, exemplifies excellent use of social media based upon profound understanding of the coaching process.

After all this discussion I will recommend reading Connectivism & The Relationship Era. The post includes this observation which seems a great place to end the day’s conversation:

In the connectivist learning model, the flow of knowledge is more important than the knowledge itself. In other words, the process is more important than the content. The main reason for this is that there is a constant need for quick adaptation. In this era, knowledge must be directed quickly to where it is needed to be applied. Once it has served its purpose, it is archived and momentarily forgotten. Notice that discarding information is now practically unheard of because once the connection has been made (i.e. something is learned), it will be stored somewhere. The additional task is mere retrieval or recollection.

In this post I am considering free social media. There are a variety of third part software services available too. A recent white paper on Becoming a Social Business (2011) observes that:

The rise in consumer-oriented social networking applications and platforms over recent years has drawn curiosity from enterprises both large and small. IDC believes that curiosity has turned into business opportunity as the lines between consumer and enterprise continue to blur. Unfortunately, adoption of social software in the enterprise has encountered some skepticism due to the hype surrounding the technology and the perception that it is the younger generations’ means for socializing with friends. It has also been criticized as being a waste of time. Yet there is evidence to suggest that this doubt is shifting and that enterprise social software is becoming the next generation of collaboration tools to enhance organizational productivity.

As an example IBM has a social software available (IBM Connections):

Photo Credits
Coaches watching the fight
Coach with the wrestler’s hat
Wrestler with his coach
QR Code for this Post



  1. Hi Keith,
    As you know I am a big believer in the topic of this blog post and how it can assist coaching.
    If you want to reference a “real-life” case study at the elite level when you present to the students get in touch with me (we are using hosted wordpress + cloud-based video platform to do some nice things)

    • Mark
      Thank you for reading and commenting. If I may I am going to include your work as a case example of innovative use of social media. I have subscribed to your RSS feed too. I apologise for my tardiness.
      I am really impressed by what you are doing.

  2. Great resource page, Keith! Thank you for the reference.
    On topic, I’d like to mention the importance of ENTRAINMENT in the coach-player relationship especially in team sports. The strong bond of communication and trust of this relationship will be crucial in team play. The most entrained relationships will create highly efficient forms of code and body language where the players will not double guess what their coaches want them to do especially during crunch time. Sometimes it may even seem psychic when players can anticipate what their coach will say.
    This kind of entrainment can also be seen in other relationships where synchronization of thought patterns is critical in capturing a “moment”. For example, photographer-model, producer-recording artist, boss-assistant, and in VIP service providers with their clients (such as hotels, restaurants).

    • Ari
      What great points to make. I agree entirely.
      I think trust is particularly important in this context.
      Best wishes

  3. […] I like the idea of a revitalised genre and in my own work have been thinking about ‘skin in the game‘ synchronous meetings with an audience that draws upon media shared in advance, available during the meeting and transformed afterwards as a dynamic resource to support ‘teachable moments‘. Last month I tried this approach with a post on Communication, Social Media and the Coach. […]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here