This post stems from a conversation I had with fellow hockey broadcaster Jonathan Kliment. Kliment reached out to Sportscaster Life to discuss prep techniques, namely the volume of information put onto spotting boards and a few issues that he’d been having while covering the SUNY Broome Hornets in the NCJAA. Here’s Jonathan’s questions:
JK: A big question for me is with spotting boards how much info do you work with on yours? I always feel I put way too much information on my spotting boards and end up losing things
SL: Here is the one I use. There’s a PDF download available, however it’s best if you contact Andy about getting a Word/Excel template. There is a link on the download page. As for info, it’s no more than one or two lines for me. I found my spotting board getting less and less work as the game and season went on. It’s there to provide you a couple of talking points, things to comment on when you’re in a stoppage or have a moment with the puck behind the net. It’s a way to break up the call of the game and make it more of a conversation rather than a monologue. Work on abbreviations, a code that you understand so that you’re still able to get a lot of information in a small space. For example, if I was going over stats for a player last year, instead of writing “30 games, 12-15-27, 30PIMS last season with Knights” it’d be 30,12-15-27,30PIM LY w/ KNI. That leaves a second line for a more generic tidbit that you can fall back on it you need to during a game.
JK: I don’t have a ton of previous stats to work off. Most of the kids who play at the NJCAA level come from club teams who don’t keep records. I just have what they’ve done this year.
SL: Talk to coaches. Many are very willing to talk about their players. I’ve developed good relationships with most coaches in the league, and many are only too happy to give me a tidbit or two on their players. This has led to interviews with opposing team players on milestone games, streaks, etc. As for stats, agreed, it can be very tough to find stuff. I used to call major midget in BC, Canada and players were coming in from minor hockey programs where stats were impossible to find. In that case you focus more on stories than stats. Talk to players, coaches, sports directors, whoever you can.
I want to thank Jonathan for his questions and for allowing me to make our conversation into an article for the site. If you have any broadcasting questions that you’d like to see written about, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @sportscastlife
What are your techniques for prepping when information isn’t readily available? And on the flip side of that, how much is too much on your spotting boards?