Keys To Great Pre and Post-Game Interviews

One of the toughest challenges for play-by-play broadcasters is the pre-game and post-game interview. They can easily get monotonous because you feel like you are asking the same questions over and over again.

Keep this in mind, though: Every interview should be different because each game is different.

Photo credit: Eric Kilby via photopin cc

Here are some suggestions for keeping your interviews fresh. We’ll address post-game first, because it will partially set-up the following pre-game interview as well.

Post-Game Interview Tips

  • Keep two categories of notes DURING the game – team notes and player notes. Team notes are questions you can ask anyone on the team. Ex: “Why was the zone defense effective?” Player notes are specific to an individual – a big game, key plays, an injury, etc.
  • Ask about turning points, big plays and key injuries.
  • Ask about why certain strategies were employed. Ex: “Why did you change to zone defense in the third quarter?”
  • Explore the ramifications of this win or loss.
  • At the end, it is okay to ask a question about what’s next for the team.

You might also keep a list of canned questions. I listed many examples in my post, Standard questions for your post-game interviews.

Pre-Game Interview Tips

  • Start by asking two or three questions in review of the previous game. They will likely be about the same topics you discussed in your previous post-game show.
  • Ask about what the team has stressed in practices since the last game.
  • Ask about anything notable that has happened since the last game.
  • Ask for updates on injured players.
  • Ask for a scouting report on tonight’s opponent.
  • Ask about one or two of the opponent’s key players. What do they do well and how do you slow them down?
  • If you played this opponent earlier in the season, briefly revisit something relevant about that game.

For any interview, be a good listener. Your best questions will almost always be follow-ups to something your guest has said.

I would LOVE to hear your suggestions for pre and post-game interviews, and our readers most certainly would, too. Please share one or two of your ideas in the comments section below. Your input in valuable and greatly appreciated.

Good luck on your interviews!

5 Comments

  1. Darren

    This is good stuff. For postgame, or anytime for that matter, ask relatively short questions doing your best to avoid any that could possibly lead to “yes/no” answers. Make the interview subject explain something. It’s always a much better question, inevitably leads to a better answer, and typically leads to a strong follow up question.

  2. Jimmy "The Saint" Christopher

    Bravo again Jon for another spot-on article. As post-game reporters for the Texas Rangers on the Fan in Dallas we are allotted 90 seconds for app recorded interviews. I explain to the player before we record that we only have 90 seconds. Generally they give succinct responses. If a player is know to give long answers, I will ask just one or two questions.

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Hi Saint. Thank you for the nice compliment. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      I used to cover the Chargers locker room. I can’t imaging 90 second limits for player interviews. I would love to receive input from folks about how common this is across the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

      • Jon Chelesnik

        After posting this question on Twitter and reading the replies, I now understand what you meant, Saint. There are
        certainly situation when the media relations guy tells you that your
        time with a particular individual is limited because he has other media
        obligations. Initially, I thought you were talking about a blanket
        rule that applied to everybody.

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