7 tips for broadcasting a new sport

I will be broadcasting lacrosse for the first time next week. I’ve never broadcasted lacrosse before. Any advice?

I got the nod for some Division I field hockey play-by-play and I’m coming up on my first game soon. Any advice?

broadcasting new sport like lacrosse

These are the kinds of questions I receive often from play-by-play broadcasters who are getting ready to call a particular sport for the first time. It is wise say yes to the work because it might open new doors, but if you’ve never broadcast the sport before, how to you go about sounding your best?

Here are seven tips for broadcasting a new sport:

1. Study others

Compile a list of questions you have about how to call the sport. Then listen or watch somebody else do it and answer your questions as you review their broadcast.

2. Seek advice

For the questions that remain unanswered, pose them to someone who broadcasts that sport. It doesn’t have to be someone you know. Seeking advice, if done politely and respectfully, is a great way to meet new people.

3. Know the rosters

Immediate identification of players will help to hide your inexperience.

Broadcaster Phil Giubileo wrote about the three things he does to commit players to memory, and I have previously shared tips for memorizing rosters.

4. Study the terminology

Don’t try to learn everything, just learn the basics. Google is your best resource here. Search phrases like “basic lacrosse terms” or “lacrosse terminology for beginners.” You’ll find all that you need.

5. Know the rules

Again, Google will help you a ton. The answer to most everything in life is on the Internet!

6. Use the STAA PBP Pyramid

Use the STAA Play-by-Play Pyramid to guide you. The pyramid features the fundamentals of great play-by-play and they are the same for each sport.

Download your free copy here

7. Be prepared

The degree of nervousness you feel when you go on the air will be in direct inverse proportion to how thoroughly you have addressed the six tips above. The better prepared you are, the less nervous you will be. Like John Wooden used to say, “failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

For more solid, basic tips for preparation, I suggest this post.

Your best advice?

What is your best advice for someone calling a new sport for the first time? What have I omitted from my list of suggestions that should be here? I would love to hear your advice.

More importantly, our STAA community would love to benefit from your expertise. You will be a big help to all of us if you will please add your suggestions below.

Thank you!


  1. Logan Anderson

    My friend Alex Rawnsley has a site where he has multiple articles on this exact subject (I wrote the second one as a guest contributor). My experience was covering hockey for the first time ever and I found the “Hockey for Dummies” book that I checked out from the library for free. It not only gives you the terminology but also gives context and history behind the terminology. I found it incredibly valuable to learning the game quickly.



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