When having your play-by-play on SportsCenter is bad

I once received a call from a college senior who was interested in pursuing a play-by-play career. He told me his name and where he attended college. Then he was very quick to add, “I am the guy who was on SportsCenter recently with my call of that dramatic game-winning play.”


Uhhh…dude. Don’t brag about it. You made SportsCenter’s Top 10 not because your call was good, but because you screamed so loud and so long that you sounded like a caricature of a sports broadcaster.

Screaming is not good play-by-play.

In 1997 I was doing play-by-play for the Anaheim Piranhas of the Arena Football League. I visited my folks the day after a game. My dad said, “Nice job on the broadcast last night son, although you were screaming on that one particular touchdown.” My first thought was, “Pop, we’ve won two games all season. Touchdowns don’t come around very often.”

I went home that night and listened to the tape. Sure enough, I was screaming. Not like the press box was on fire, but more than a professional broadcaster should have been. In that moment, I sounded amateurish.

There are two reasons to avoid screaming during your play-by-play:

  1. It sounds unprofessional
  2. It can make you hard to understand

Emphasize the game’s most dramatic moments by increasing your energy instead of your volume.

The VU meter on your mixer serves as a great visual reminder. If you are going into the red, you are going over the top.

Screaming is not a mark of a great play-by-play broadcaster. Voice control is.


  1. Jimmy "The Saint" Christopher

    Righto Jon. So many announcers today think that “losing it” during a play-by-play call makes it great play-by-play. Screamers sound fake and unreal. You don’t have to go crazy on every hit, basket or first down.

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Right on, Saint. You know how SportsCenter has impacted high school and AAU basketball because everyone is trying to make SportsCenter with great dunks? On a smaller scale, it is doing the same thing to play-by-play where guys doing high school games in Paducah are trying to get on TV by going nuts on their broadcasts.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Saint!

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