Information technology has brought incredible advances in sports. Computer literacy has become a necessity and need of modern sport, and the use of the internet and social networks an integral part of the life of a coach in the sport. At a time when such a significant amount of our daily lives are being facilitated by the internet, knowledge of digital communication skills is key to ensuring that messages are delivered and received correctly.

As I am also spending a good deal of my time on various digital platforms, I have noticed that the behavior and communication of some of the coaches are not in line with cultural, civilizational, sports and social norms. The same as in offline communication, some communication rules have been developed in the online community to avoid or prevent possible misunderstandings and conflicts and to convey messages and information more easily and effectively. It is useful to know the rules of communication in the online world because you would be surprised how many people are interested in what a sports coach writes, thinks and publishes. And this is not surprising since a sports coach is a public figure – the person whose actions, including comments and posts on social networks, are being watched closely. The coaches are followed by players, parents, journalists, sports staff and all other interested public.

Things to keep in mind when communicating online:

Network communication

The unwritten rules of online communication are very similar to the unwritten rules that we normally follow to behave decently in accordance with social standards (etiquette). Ignoring these rules may result in your arrogance, simply unorthodox commentary or posting, coming back as a negative boomerang later, damaging all your potential relationships before you even started them. And this stays forever because the Internet does not forgive, it creates a lasting record of your communication that can mark you as an arrogant and ignorant person at all times. Avoid such communication at all costs; you do not need the sins of the past, which will damage your reputation every time when typing your name in the search engine.

I also take the opportunity for one small tip: do not use capital letters exclusively for writing emails, comments, or posts. THE CAPITAL LETTERS LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.

Discussions on social networks

When reading texts and comments on social networks, we are often encouraged to engage ourselves and to express our views in the discussion. Carefully choose the discussions you will be part of. Most people do not have a broader picture and enough information to discuss many topics on social media in an even and meaningful way. This is especially evident in the professional discussions of specialized online sports groups, where people who do not understand the subject matter like to be involved in the discussions. It is desirable for each of us to contribute through the expression of our opinion, but sometimes we have to admit that we are not competent enough to involve in the debate. The key is to ask yourself, ‘Do I have enough information and do I see the broader context to be able to argue in an argumentative way?’  Keep in mind that you are a guest on someone’s wall and that writing about a matter you do not know well exposes you, thus you won’t be perceived as a valued and desirable interlocutor, but rather as an ignorant eager to stand out.

Publishing photos

Be very careful when posting your photos on social networks and other online channels. You need to know that your published photos are the highest quality source of information about you because one image speaks like a thousand words. Therefore, only post photos that show what you want to share and how you want to present yourself. This is your image creating an impression that will be left in public.