5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great


Play-by-play broadcasters all have access to information about fundamentals – time and score, ball location, etc. What sets apart great broadcasters is discovering and implementing advice that isn’t available to the masses. A great way to do that is to ask industry pros to critique your work.

great play-by-play

Many sportscasters have shared with me critiques they have received from some of the top play-by-play broadcasters in the industry. Today, I want to share them with you.

Here are 5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great:

1. Rip it off and write it down

Finding different ways to say the same thing can be challenging. When you hear another announcer use a phrase you like, borrow it. Rip it off and write it down.

2. Save some good stuff

When you have prepared well for a broadcast, it is tempting to feature a lot of your prep early in the broadcast. Be patient, though. Vin Scully suggests saving some good stuff for later in the game.

3. Relax off air

Try to be ready to go on the air 10 minutes before airtime. Otherwise you risk taking the stress and anxiety of last minute preparations with you on the air.

4. Relax on air

Doing play-by-play is a blast! Let your listener hear that you are having fun. Let them hear a smile in your voice. If you are saying something clever, let the listener hear the grin in your inflection when you say it.

5. Be you

You don’t have to be a personality but you need to show your personality. Don’t make yourself bigger than the broadcast but do show enough personality to connect with the listener. This is especially important for announcers who don’t have big voices. You need to impress decision makers with all of your other attributes. Tone of voice, style, and personality are a big part of that.

The improvements that result from these suggestions will be subtle. Most listeners won’t even be able to put their finger on them. They’ll simply know that something is different, and that your broadcasts have become even more enjoyable to listen to.

For more help with your play-by-play, download your free copy of the STAA Play-by-Play Pyramid.

Click here to download the Pyramid