You might have heard the phrase “self-made man” thrown around from time-to-time. Personally, I have a problem with the term. In my mind, there is no such thing as a “self-made man.” All of us need support and guidance from others to be successful – and naturally, that holds true when it comes to the world of sportscasting. In my travels, I’ve come across many different kinds of mentors, and here are the three types of guides, coaches, and teachers which you could probably find right now in your own life to help make you a better broadcaster.
A Peer Mentor
When you think of mentors, you probably think of a wise, older professional, sharing their knowledge with you akin to Yoda bestowing the ways of the Force on Luke Skywalker. While that’s true, many times, the best support options are your peers. Think of them as a close friend in the business who’s at a similar level professionally as you are.
Peer mentorship is so crucial because no one knows what you’re going through better than someone who’s experiencing the same thing themselves. These are the people who truly understand your plight. The beauty of peer mentorship is not only do they get where you’re coming from, but they also have their own experiences which naturally will differ from yours. You can hear how their experiences in the sportscasting world differ from yours and learn different ways to attack your career goals.
A Technical Mentor
Perhaps the most “stereotypical” guide I’ve come across, is the technical mentor. These mentors help you become a master at your craft and sometimes they don’t always mean to! Remember, seldom learning “what not to do” is just as important as learning the ins-and-outs. Keep in mind too, that technical mentors don’t always come from someone above you or in a position of power. It could be a third-party such as a broadcast or vocal coach who helps you break down tapes and offers pointers.
It could be a co-worker who at one point was in your shoes and takes you under-wing. Someone who acts as an older sibling to you in the business. And naturally, a technical mentor could be a superior who sets a standard of success which you’re able to emulate while creating your individual style. Someone who shows you first hand how important preparation, execution, and professionalism truly is. This type of guidance is directly related to your success, and it’s great because they’re the easiest types of mentors to come across. You’ll come across them in every stage of your career, I promise, you just have to keep your eyes open.
A Non-Sportscasting Mentor
I think we may be quick to overlook a non-sportscasting mentor when thinking about those who have helped us the most over the course of our careers. They’re available to you from well before your first day to well after your last. For those times when the inevitable happens and stress mounts, those OUTSIDE the sportscasting world are far enough away to help us put things in perspective. Sometimes we, and our peers in the profession, are just too close to the situation to really decompress when things get hectic. Your friends, family members, and spouse/significant other want to see you succeed and they too, have their place as your non-sportscasting support system.
Mentors are for everyone, for those who have been sportscasters for decades or for days. It doesn’t matter where the mentors come from, or what their experience level is; the truth is we can all learn something from everyone. We just have to be listening. So remember, there is no such thing as a self-made man and by surrounding yourself with the right people, by asking the right questions, and by having the right attitude you’ll continue to improve in your craft.