5 Details To Make Your Basketball Play-by-Play Great

When 10-time NCAA basketball champion John Wooden was head coach at UCLA, freshmen would arrive for the first day of practice eager with anticipation. They would gather around this great sage of basketball waiting to learn about how to be winners.

Wooden stunned them when the first thing he taught was how to put on their socks.

The reason was Coach Wooden believed if you didn’t put them on properly, the socks would get wrinkles, you would get blisters, you would be slowed or missed practice, which could impact your performance in the game, which could lead to the team losing.

The point is this: attention to detail leads to greatness.

Here are five details to make your BB PBP great.

1. Tell your audience which team has the ball

It sounds fundamental, but listen to a broadcast and count how many times the broadcaster doesn’t let you know. You can’t assume your audience knows which team has it based only on the names of the players. Clarify it each change of possession.

2. Avoid “good and no good”

Instead of saying good and no good on made and missed shots, describe the makes and misses.

3. Don’t over-reference the shot clock

There’s no need to reference it when it’s over 10 seconds, unless you’re coming out of a dead ball. At 10 seconds or less, be certain to mention it. At that point it has become an important part of the story of the possession.

4. Minimize mascot names

Many mascot names are shared by several schools. If a college broadcaster references the Wildcats, are they talking about K-State, Kentucky, Northwestern, Arizona, Villanova or another school? Use school names most of the time when doing high school and college games.

5. The one-ear headphone

I don’t know if I invented it, but I invented it for me. Wear one ear of your headset behind your ear. You’ll hear coaches yelling at players, players yelling at each other, the public address announcer. You’ll hear a ton of additional information that will help bring your broadcast to life.

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