AU Women’s Basketball recharges with social media cleanse


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From left: Sophie Fortner, Annie Roshak, Erin Daniels, Sara Price, Kayla Sanders, and Sam Chable


Each year, the Ashland University Women’s Basketball team participates in a social media cleanse where players and coaches challenge themselves to focus on the present moment and communication.

The reason that Head Coach, Kari Pickens, decided to implement this within her program is to promote mental, emotional, and spiritual health for the individuals on her team. 

“The social media cleanse includes eliminating all access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat (for scrolling), and Youtube (unless required for assignments or education) for 6 weeks,” said Pickens. “We encourage finding new and healthy alternatives to numbing our minds on social media; such as coloring, journaling, or being purposeful in face to face relationships.” 

For some, six weeks off of social media could be incredibly difficult because so much time is spent scrolling through apps like Instagram and Facebook. However, junior Intervention Specialist K-12 major, Hallie Heidemann is not having a difficult time. 

“For me, personally, the social media cleanse has not been hard. I really value being present and enjoying the moments that are right in front of me, so having this social media cleanse has enabled me to be better at that,” said Heidemann. “I have been able to focus more on the people and tasks at hand, rather than being distracted by social media.”

In addition to the six week pre-season cleanse, the team will also be completing a project during this time that will educate them on a topic that inspires each individual. 

“Additionally, a new concept we are trying this year is a project during the social media cleanse. The average American spends over an hour and a half on social media EVERY DAY! Over the span of 6 weeks, that is 72 hours that you are getting back in your life,” said Coach Pickens. “We want to be intentional about utilizing that time for our betterment. Our project is to find something that we are passionate about and research it. At the end of the 6 weeks, each player is going to have to present to the team WHY they picked their topic, WHAT they learned during their research, and WHAT they are going to do with the information they gathered.”

The coronavirus pandemic has gotten in the way of the community service opportunities that AU Women’s basketball normally partakes in. However, this social media cleanse and project will still educate and empower the team.

“Our program is committed to making a positive impact on all who cross our path, and while community service will be hard to do this year, we all can be intentional about educating and empowering ourselves on things that matter so that we have the tools and knowledge to know how to make a difference,” said Pickens. 

The four years spent at college go by incredibly fast and with this social media cleanse, these players and coaches are spending more time communicating with their loved ones and making the most of their time that they have left here at AU. 

“I think this social media cleanse is challenging me as a player and as a teammate because it is helping me become more intentional about investing in the people and things I love,” said Heidemann. “Getting to play college basketball, especially at Ashland, is such a special opportunity. It is also one that goes by way too fast, so I want to be present with my teammates as much as I can. The social media cleanse has definitely taken away a distraction and freed me to be more fully present. At convo, in the dorms, and in the car, I feel like I have been able to have more genuine conversations with my teammates. I have been able to live in the moment with them, make memories, and build better relationships with them that I know will last a lifetime.”

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