Late August and early September mean many hockey, football and basketball teams are holding their annual training camp. It’s an opportunity to shift back into “game mode” for sportscasters as the players are put through their paces and sportscasters get to shake off some ‘ring rust’ via some exhibition games and scrimmages.
Training Camp can be a tough time for sportscasters to not only call games, but to collect interviews and cover the action for fans back at home. You never truly know who will make the team and you never truly know how things will go. The one thing for certain is that some players will have their hearts broken handling news they’ve been cut or traded. Here’s some things to consider when you’re covering a training camp:
When in a training camp situation, you’ll face a lot of moving parts. New players in, players moving out and a roster in a constant state of flux. Always remember that while you’ll want to get some good interviews and cover what’s happening, make sure that coverage and the way you go about things is classy, respectful and acknowledging that you’ll likely be talking to or writing about someone going through one of the worst days of their life.
Covering early exhibition games or training camp scrimmages can be one of the more difficult assignments as a sportscaster. Training camp games or the exhibitions that typically follow are notorious for late rosters, inaccurate rosters or often no rosters at all. Even returning players who you might be familiar with could be wearing different numbers during camp than they wore during the season. The key to this situation is to try and compile as much information before the game as you can and keep your call very simple. You likely won’t have the chance to prep properly for everyone, but making sure you’ve got rosters, and you’ve got them memorized, can help you get through the broadcast.
Know What Questions to Ask
Interviewing players at Training Camp can be a great way to shake off some ring rust before your voice hits the airwaves this season. Interviews for the team website carry a little less pressure than if you’re live on air…however it’s important that you know what to ask. Never assume a player is making the roster, despite their stature on the team. Questions and topics to focus on are their off-season training, expectations for what is ahead, comments on the depth and structure of the camp rosters and their personal goals for the season ahead.
Refrain from Opinion
Know your role and shut your mouth…a golden rule of sportscasting. We spend all season giving opinion while describing the play however this is the time to stick to the facts. The coaching staff making the decisions this time of year and to have the voice of the team contradict a coaches decision when it comes to cuts can put both you and the coach in a difficult situation. Stick to the facts and let the coaching staff do their job.
It’s an exciting time of year. Covering training camp can be a great opening act to the season ahead. Use it to sharpen your skills, shake off any rust and get yourself in mid-season form come the opening game…however understand there are a lot of balls in the air and that it’s more about how you cover a camp, rather than what you actually do during it.