The Importance of Social Media for an Athlete

Social media as a tool of inspiration

Athletes are more than people participating in sports. They are an inspiration or a role model for most of us. Reading a fact about our favorite athlete on Wikipedia or somewhere else is not enough. We want to get into their life, follow their lifestyle, see what they do during the training, what they eat, where they go, what they do when they are not training.

There are lots of reasons why we follow athletes. For example, I started following them because I needed new exercises – that could be both on court and off court. Most of the athletes make small videos of their exercises and share it on their social sites and that can help someone like me to make a plan of an effective training or try something new and interesting in their program.

Social media is a great way to promote the sport you are doing. I started posting videos from my trainings because most of my Armenian friends didn’t have any clue what sport I am doing. Now they do. Most of them even wrote me saying that they never thought badminton is that hard and serious sport!

Athletes have to be concentrated on their sport and not think about anything else but their performance, however it is in fact also important to get closer to the people and inspire them by posting relevant content on social media. 

I have always been inspired by Armenian athletes, because knowing where they train, the conditions and facilities they have, they still go out on international stage and compete bravely – winning European, World and Olympic medals. This is not about Badminton because my sport is a lot different from the famous Armenian sports – wrestling, weightlifting, boxing. But recently I found that I only see our athletes and get news about them whenever they compete. I don’t see their lifestyle which is also very important on the way to building up the future victory.  

I found that I started to be inspired by foreign athletes more because of the fact that they constantly share glimpses of their everyday life. This is how you get to know your idols. You see them as a normal person and not someone who only goes to a competition and wins a medal. You start to see the sweat, the tears, the suffer, the losses they have to bear until they achieve sweet victory. I found that they have the same problems as me – it can be an injury, it can be a distance, it can be anything else – and I tried to use their solutions. 

For Armenian athletes, we only know when they win and we are proud of them all the time. Most of them are not so active on social media. But it’s not like they are training the whole day or they are only concentrated on sports, etc. Ask any athlete – there comes a time that they really need to have a break from every day trainings. In addition, there is no athlete who is always succeeding. The problem is – we think they always do! It’s good of course, but just have a look on the other side of the medal.

This is one of the reasons why the parental pressure is very strong in Armenian sports world. I have seen many cases when the parents get really discouraged when their son/daughter loses a match and they think that their child is a complete loser and doesn’t have to do anything with sports.

What they do is they kill their child’s dream and they kill their child’s confidence. The child will never feel confident on court because they don’t feel the trust from the parents – the people who are meant to support and encourage them even when they lose. So what happens here is – parents only see the victories of athletes and think that this is the successful athlete life and that everything seems very easy to achieve. Once their child tries out the sport and meets the first failure, the parents think this is not the right road. It was supposed to be a victory but it’s not. So they think their child is not made for sport.

Training camps – one of the most important and interesting parts of an athlete’s sports life. I myself have participated in a number of training camps abroad. Each of them brings lots of good memories with stories to tell and share inspiring those who are just starting a sport.

Think about this – someone who is relatively new to the sport sees the pictures that you share and likes the life you are living and what happens next?  You inspired someone and after some time he/she will inspire someone else. So we are showing them the life of an athlete – giving them an opportunity and making easier for them to choose whether they want to pursue this career or not.

One more important thing here – most of the time they will like it because we are sharing a positive content AND even if it’s something negative (losses, injuries etc.) we show it in a way that defines us as a warrior and a fighter, the life will keep on going after that and we will keep working hard to achieve our goals. What happens in this case is we are teaching our followers to never give up.  

Some people may think that some athletes are just advertising themselves on social media even if they have never achieved any major award in their life. Frankly speaking I myself have thought about this a lot and still I’m not confident sometimes when sharing a blog post or a picture on social media. Who am I and why should they believe me? Why should I inspire them? These were the questions I was always asking myself until one of my young teammates from Armenia, a 12 year old girl, sent me a screenshot of one of my Armenian articles about the connection between sports and education, telling me that she was inspired by what I wrote there.

You know, many athletes have inner fights and they always try to find solutions to that. Young athletes, they mostly look up to someone who they consider as a role model. Finding a person who deals with the same problem and most importantly someone who found a solution to the problem, is a great feeling, nobody would deny. You want to try to approach to the problem the same way the other person did and that is what happened to my teammate.

All my life I have balanced between my trainings and classes and yes, I managed to succeed more or less. Today as they become older, I can see that my teammates are having the same problems as me. They sometimes have to miss the trainings because of too many lessons. I gave something like a solution and this girl, she was inspired by it and she decided to try to implement it in her life.

More thoughts and feedback from other people followed. Now I can feel I am helping some people to deal with their problems. I am inspiring some of them. I am living my life and giving them a chance to choose to live a similar life or live a completely different life. Because, you know, I am having problems, everyone is having problems and sharing the solutions is an interesting idea. In a world of fast changing ideas and information, innovations and inventions, social media is making it easier for us to follow what’s going on around us. They make it easier to find inspirations and follow their life with just one touch on the phone screen.

And what are athletes for if not inspiring future generations? In my opinion, athletes have the most interesting lives ever. The country, the government, fundraisers, sponsors, stakeholders, fans, coaches, parents, friends…these are all supporters who are always there working for the athlete. So it’s not a personal life, it’s something the above mentioned people achieve together. Sharing your life to the people who contributed to the successful road you chose can be a right option of being grateful to what they do for you.

Because you don’t want to just live your life and lose the crazy and interesting stories happening to you every day, right?

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