Painting the Picture is Not the Most Important Part of Play-by-Play. This is

How would you answer this question: What bad sportscasting advice do you hear being shared most often?

The bad advice I hear most often is that painting the picture is the most important aspect of great play-by-play. Painting the picture is important, but there’s something that’s more important.

Your most important job as a play-by-play broadcaster is to make the listener care by turning your broadcast into a story.

If I don’t have a vested interest in either one of the teams, you won’t make me care by describing the teams’ uniforms or a great one-handed diving catch.

You’ll make me care by featuring the plots and subplots and by developing the characters In your play-by-play story.

Share the plot

Every team goes into a game knowing what’s at stake if they win and what the consequences are if they lose. Consistently weave those themes throughout your broadcast.

Identify the subplots

Subplots develop within the course of the broadcast. Whether it’s scoreless droughts or injuries or something else, weave those in and out of your broadcast.

Develop your characters

Why is it important that this guy just went to the bench with his third foul? Who is the team’s leading receiver or top tackler?

The plot, subplots, and character development are revealed by answering the questions, “Why does this matter?” and “Who is important?” These questions form the middle row of the STAA play-by-play pyramid.

They are the most important part of great play-by-play.

What do you think?

Do you agree or disagree that telling the play-by-play story is more important than painting a picture? Please leave your opinion in the comments section below.

Give it a try

Joining STAA gives you access to a pool of resources to help you polish your play-by-play so you’ll be ready to move up next season.

You might also enjoy these resources:

What to do when your season is over

Our YouTube football play-by-play playlist featuring Joe Davis, Adam Amin, Wes Durham and Learfield IMG’s Tom Boman.

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