17 tips for rocking your Jim Nantz Award reel

If you plan on applying for the 2017 Jim Nantz Award and STAA All-America program honoring the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sportscasters, start thinking now about what’s going to make you stand out.

Jim Nantz Award

Every year, the same errors in broadcasting fundamentals cause many applicants to not rank as high as they might have hoped. The broadcasts you do this Fall and Winter will help you win the award in the Spring.

These 17 tips will help your 2017 Jim Nantz Award reel rock:

  1. Don’t just give the score; Give context to the score. Did the team that just scored extend a lead or cut into a deficit? Are they leading by double digits for the first time or trailing by six for the first time? Giving score context contributes to the story lines in your game.
  2. Give time and score consistently.
  3. Make me care about your broadcast by consistently reminding me what’s at stake in the game and in the moment.
  4. Tell me which team has posession. Don’t assume I know based only on the names of the players.
  5. Don’t do a radio call on your TV broadcast
  6. In baseball, don’t just say “hit to Jones.” Tell me what position Jones plays.
  7. Use adjectives . . . please!!
  8. When doing TV, don’t neglect the score just because it is already on the screen. If you don’t give the numeric score, at least give me context. Tell me that the home team extends it’s lead to seven or the visitors crawl to within three.
  9. Be a good writer.
  10. Don’t say “no good” on missed shots. Describing made and missed shots is as important as describing the action.
  11. Don’t use the shot clock as a crutch. I don’t want to hear “the shot clock is down to 20.” It isn’t relevant until it gets to 10-seconds. Then its mandatory that you reference it.
  12. Smile when you’re on camera.
  13. Vary your pacing. Don’t always broadcast in third gear. Use second, fourth and fifth as well.
  14. Stop trying to sound perfect and let me hear you having fun.
  15. Don’t narrate every basketball pass. If it’s early in the shot clock and the ball is near half court, use that time to revisit your story lines.
  16. Be energetic on your TV packages.
  17. Avoid clichés. They’re lazy.

Finally, if you’re a play-by-play broadcaster, download the STAA Play-by-Play Pyramid. It’s what I’ll be using to evaluate your work.

I look forward to receiving your Jim Nantz Award application in the Spring!


  1. Ben Simon

    Fantastic tips!

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Hi Ben — super! Glad you found the advice to be helpful. I hope the football broadcasts you’re doing for your local high school are going well!


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