Screaming The Big Plays? Here’s How to Fix It

When I was the play-by-play voice for the old Anaheim Piranhas of the Arena Football League, I had a conversation with my dad. He said, “Jon, I listened to your broadcast last night.”

I prepared myself for a bunch of compliments and superlatives.

Instead, Pop blindsided me.

He said, “You scream on your touchdown calls.”

My first thought was that the Piranhas are the lowest scoring team in the League – of course I get excited when they finally find the end zone! My second thought was that I’m not one of them. I’m not a play-by-play screamer.

I went back and listened to the tape, and you know what?

Pop was right. I was screaming.

Here are three tips for beating the scream as a play-by-play broadcaster.

1. Practice your big play calls with a VU meter

As long as you’re keeping the meter out of the red, you’re not screaming.

2. Check your form

Using a program like Audacity, view the audio waveform on your big play calls. If you’ve got peaks on your waveform, you’re probably entering the scream zone.

3. Practice the 1-through-5 scale

Imagine your play-by-play as the transmission on your car. You’ve got five different gears. You want to vary the gear in which you’re broadcasting based on the game situation. The 1-through-5 scale is a way to practice increasing your energy and finding your pocket in each gear. Practice moving through five increasing levels of volume without going into the red on the VU meter.

Practice those three things, and it’ll help you beat the scream.

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