Twitter Tips For Up-and-coming Athletes

It’s probably best to start by addressing the elephant in the room. By writing this blog post, I am not, by any means, saying that I am a social media expert. I have just under 7000 followers on twitter, and I have some experience in managing my “public image”, but that’s about it. However, I am probably in the top 50% of athletes who use social media well, and so, statistically, I am better then most (assuming a normal distribution; lets get the maths out of the way now too). What follows are some rules and twitter tips that might be a good starting point for a young athlete on how to use Twitter.


  • Start by understanding the difference between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tinder, Grindr, etc. etc.


Unless you make your twitter private (something which I absolutely do not advocate), everyone will be able to see your tweets. This is different to Facebook, where you can adjust your privacy settings (and you absolutely should!) or make a fan page, which is a better place to share your personal photos. Instagram is for photos only, LinkedIn more for professionals, and Tinder and Grindr; well, if you don’t know, I won’t tell you.


  • Decide on what you want to use twitter for.


What do you actually want to use twitter for? My goal for using twitter was so that people could see a different side to me; rather than the skin headed, grumpy, reasonably scary, pumped up guy they see fleetingly for 10 seconds making up the numbers of a race somewhere in Eastern Europe, I wanted to show that I’m actually alright. Although I still am quite grumpy. To this end, I post things that interest me, pictures of me doing different things, and updates on non-sporting things that I’m doing. It’s also a really good opportunity to engage with people, apart from trolls (more on them later).


  • Decide on your user name


Remember, this will be how people find you. You can change it, but it’s best not too, as it can confuse your followers when they want to tag you. My username is @craig100m ( which at the time was highly descriptive. When I changed to bobsleigh, I didn’t change it, in part to keep it easy for people to tag me. @allgirlswantme is obviously hilarious, but less so when BBC Sport is tagging you in a tweet to their audience of 2.8 million. Remember, you want it to be as easy as possible for people to find and tag you.


  • Be authentic


This is your chance to show people what you’re really like. Make sure you update your timeline on a regular basis. Engage with people. Be the real you. If you’re only posting to sell/push a product, your followers won’t like it. If its not you posting, people can tell, and again you will struggle to find followers.


  • Don’t be (too) controversial


As I said earlier, everyone can see your profile. What you tweet will be on the internetz for a long, long time. It can come back to haunt you. My general rule is that I won’t tweet anything I wouldn’t want my mum to see. This means that I don’t swear or make inappropriate comments (I’m aware some of you might have a different relationship with your mum). If you slag someone off, assume that they’ll see it, which isn’t ideal, and leads nicely into my next point:


  • At some point, you might well have to meet people you have tweeted in real life.


I’m socially awkward at the best of times. If I have to meet someone who I’ve argued with, insulted, or just been rude too, its going to be about 1000 times more awkward. If you’re an athlete, you’re probably going to be meeting these people at an athletics meet, when you should be focusing on running well, not feeling awkward. Make good decisions.


  • Photos


Guys; I’m sure you look great without your top on. But I don’t need to see picture after picture of you posing with #SunsOutGunsOut. Girls; your new running shorts are great, but I don’t need a full on shorts and crop top selfie in front of the mirror. These are both examples of the Humble Brag, and it’s annoying. Instead, use photos to show something different. Flicking through my profile, my most recent photos of me are; me stood with a penguin; me sat on a rock, and me running on a beach (with my top off, because I’m a hypocrite – but it was used as an example of training in a different environment, honest).


twitter tips

(Me with penguin)

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously


Things won’t always go your way. If you’re a good athlete, things will, at some point, go badly for you in a race. The better you are, the more likely this race is going to be televised. Being able to take a step back and laugh at yourself or the situation is really important. I’m just glad twitter wasn’t around back in 2008……..


  • Deal with trolls effectively


Hey, guess what? Not everyone likes you. The better you are, the more abuse you’re going to get. I like to think I’m quite good at this. Rule #1 is to not take it too seriously – if someone has gone out of his or her way to troll you on twitter, they’re already an idiot. Rule #2 is to turn it around and try to wind them up. Say, for example, someone has said that you’re rubbish and should retire. You might want to point out that they’ve never represented their country, and their girlfriend is quicker than them. Rule #3 is to take the high ground; don’t let it degenerate into an argument. Take the hypothetical situation outlined in rule #2 – if the comeback to my comment was “yea but I’ve got a brand new car and I earn £24k a year in my job”, you’ve won because that person has degenerated into writing nonsense. Remember, this is all hypothetical. Rule #4 – If someone has insulted you, its fine to insult them, but try and be funny about it. And don’t start it. Rule #5 – Beat them at their own game. Nobody wants to troll a troll.


  • Retweets


A retweet is a defacto endorsement of whatever it is you have retweeted. It’s fine to retweet interesting articles or tweets. It’s probably not a good idea to retweet anything that doesn’t conform to point #5.


The higher your profile, the more you are likely to be asked by people to retweet something for charity, or to highlight something they are doing. It’s best to have a policy to deal with this. Generally, I won’t retweet something that I have been asked to retweet unless I really believe in it. Asking for retweets is very annoying.


  • Remember you have Direct Messages


Some things shouldn’t be tweeted. I don’t want to see awkward flirting on my timeline. View @N_Togun ( or @Jrsmallin ( as examples. Also, remember point #6 – you will have to meet them one day in real life. Decide now how awkward you want that to be.


  • Model yourself on athletes that do it right:


@daigreene ( and @andrewsteele ( are examples of very good twitter profile management. Dai in particular is good, as it is actually him that posts, and he puts up pictures that show him doing different things, really allowing you to get an insight into his life away from athletics. Andy is an example of someone that engages with people as much as he can, across a range of social media outlets, which is exactly what you would expect from London’s top hipster.


So, that’s it. 12 points that I thought of off the top of my head to potentially help up and coming junior athletes better manage their twitter profile. If you found it helpful, please retweet (I’M JOKING). You can always ask me further questions on twitter at @craig100m.

Speed Training Masterclasses

A busy few days for me last weekend with two Speed Masterclasses. On Saturday I was at Salisbury AC, working alongside Lee Ness, and on Sunday I was at Andover AC. Over the course of the two days I worked with thirty athletes, showing them the drills that I use to correct speed mechanics, and then taking them through acceleration and maximum velocity sessions. I was able to film these sessions with a high speed camera, and give individualised feedback to every single athlete there. I think they found it helpful, and I really enjoyed it. If you’re interested in me coming to your club to deliver a masterclass, then please get in touch.

Strength and Conditioning Level 3

This weekend I’ll be delivering part of a Strength and Conditioning training course at Leeds Met University.

My session is at the start of Day 2 and is on Speed Development and Plyometric Training.

Strength and Conditioning Education

The course is a 3 Day Accelerated Coach Development Level 3 Programme – 1st4Sport Level 3 in Strength and Conditioning run by Strength and Conditioning Education

If you’re already going, then come and say hi!

strength and conditioning


Sprint Training – Oxford


Post from

Craig Pickering  has recently retired from a career in top class athletics
Craig has a 100m PB of 10.14 so he is seriously fast!
His career highlight was a World Championship Bronze medal in the 4x100m Relay
For the past 2 years ( 2012-2014) he switched  from athletics to Bobsleigh and was poised to become one of a very few people to represent GB in a summer and winter Olympic games before he had a serious back injury just weeks before Sochi in 2014 that forced him to retire.
Craig  has a degree in Sports Science and is about to move to  Exeter where he will be developing his coaching career.
We are lucky to have Craig come to Oxford and do 3 x 90 minute Coaching sessions at Oxford Harlequins Marston Ferry Road, OX2 7EE on
Tues 19th August    6.00-7.30 (FULL)
Weds 20th August  6.00-7.30
Thu    21st August   6.00-7.30
These sessions are open to children 10-18 that play any sports not just rugby.
There are a maximum of 15 spaces available per session and you can book to come for 1,2 0r 3 sessions
If you have any queries then contact
You can book your space by Paypal
Individual session £10
See the full details and to book here:

Speed Training with Craig

Craig will be taking a speed training day at the City of Salisbury Athletics Club on 13 September.

Speed Training

Speed Training

If you would like to arrange your own speed training day with Craig, leave a comment below with an email and we will get back to you to discuss. Speed training can be arranged for athletics, team sports (rugby, football, basketball etc) or for individuals.

Sessions can include learning speed drills, maximum speed techniques, acceleration and motor skill development.

Craig is happy to share his experiences as an elite athlete in both athletics and bobsleigh and the sessions can include photographs and autographs.

Depending on numbers and cost, Craig will also take video and provide individual analysis.

Ongoing support

For those who wish for Craig to develop individual training programmes for them, this can be arranged for a modest fee.