Have you been lucky to experience this in sportscasting?

Do you remember the iconic video of Michael Jordan versus Portland in the NBA Finals? He couldn’t miss a shot. After drilling yet another bucket, he retreated to the defensive end of the floor with his palms up to the ceiling and a look of bemusement on his face as if to say, “This is even amazing by my standards. I can’t believe it either!”

MJ was in the zone.
in-the-zone

As a sportscaster, have you ever been in the zone? What did it feel like?

I don’t remember it happening a lot during my own sportscasting career, but I vividly remember the feeling. I felt well rested. I felt like the action was moving slowly, that I was seeing all 10 players on the basketball floor or all 22 on the football field, and that I was choosing the perfect words every single time.

The feeling was similar on the rare occasions when I was in the zone on my sports talk show – high-energy, clarity of thought, and the perfect word choice every time.

I wonder if the difference between the all-time greats like Hearn, Scully, Michaels, etc, is that they are in the zone much more often than the rest of us.

I always wish folks would contribute their thoughts on our posts. Unfortunately, they rarely do. I encourage you to do it this time. Please take two minutes to share your experience of being “in the zone.” Just write a couple sentences below or join in on Twitter.

How do you describe the experience of being “in the zone”?


Your comments will be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. Perhaps the more we learn about what being in the zone is feels like, we’ll be able to replicate the experience on a more regular basis.

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts!

7 Comments

  1. BoysofSummer

    I noticed this phenomenon most when I was calling minor league baseball and really familiar with my team. Then if I had seen another team a lot, I could broadcast the game with my eyes closed. But even your press box matters. If you’re at home and you’re used to the view and you know all the story lines for that night. Every once in a while it feels effortless and you wish you could just bottle that up.

    How to get that every night. Well isn’t that toughest question to answer.

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Right on — feeling supremely prepared certainly helps. It isn’t guaranteed to land you “in the zone,” but it sure will move you closer. I found that my degree of nervousness before a broadcast was always in direct inverse proportion to how well I was prepared.

  2. Alvin Washington Jr

    Sometimes the moment itself allows you to be in the zone. I can count a number of major high school state tournament games where, with the right preparation, I have had some of my best broadcasts of my career. It all has to come together in one major synergy.

  3. Jay Sanderson

    I feel in the zone when I just get lost in the game – more like being a fan rather than a broadcaster. We all prep and our ego wants to work elements of that into the call, but there are just times when the game strays away from anything you’ve prepared and you just let it fly entirely with what’s happening in front of you. Our basketball team here is 4-17 entering tonight’s game, but more often than not I’ve felt like I’ve been “on” because I just make the game the star. I wrap myself in it…I try to tell the fans the things they are wondering or would make them say “oh wow, I didn’t know that” in a given moment. So, when I can get to that point where prep meets the storylines of a game, that’s when I’m in the zone.

  4. Jon Chelesnik

    My first job. I was doing McPherson College (KS) at Southwestern College in Winfield. They played in an old gothic looking gym. Anyway, that is the most I have ever felt locked in a game. I saw everything, including how guys were fairing in their individual matchups. I remember saying that Mac’s 2-guard couldn’t guard the opponent’s 2-guard and that Mac needed to put its backup into the game because he was quicker. Sure enough, the coach did it moments later. That kind of thing happened several times during the broadcast. It was a super cool feeling to be so dialed in.

  5. Jon Chelesnik

    My first job. I was doing McPherson College (KS) at Southwestern College in Winfield. They played in an old gothic looking gym. Anyway, that is the most I have ever felt locked in a game. I saw everything, including how guys were fairing in their individual matchups. I remember saying that Mac’s 2-guard couldn’t guard the opponent’s 2-guard and that Mac needed to put its backup into the game because he was quicker. Sure enough, the coach did it moments later. That kind of thing happened several times during the broadcast. It was a super cool feeling to be so dialed in.

  6. Your favorite sports broadcasting career memories - Sportscasters Talent Agency of America

    […] didn’t happen often for me but it happened at least once — McPherson College men’s basketball at Southwestern College. I remember seeing […]

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