If you’re a fall/winter sportscaster like me, you may be smack in the middle of a much-deserved off-season. If you’re a spring and summer sportscaster who’s season is in full swing, well, let me thank you for taking time out to read the articles on sportscasterlife.com and assure you, it won’t be much longer until you get a well-deserved break of your own.
No matter when your off-season is, don’t keep your sportscasting gig in a dormant part of your brain. The best time to work on our skills is when we aren’t forced to use them. Here are some tips and tricks to stay on your game, even during the off-season.
Set A Dedicated Time Each Day to Focus on Sportscasting
Whether it’s something as short as 15 minutes or as long as a couple of hours, make it a point to set some time aside for the sole purpose of improving your skill set. Minimize distractions where you can, including shutting off cell phones and email alerts. Use this time to do the things which popped up last season that you glazed over, saying something in your head along the lines of “I’ll deal with that when I have more time.”
Check Your Equipment and Make Necessary Repairs
If you’re like me and the equipment you use is your property, the off-season is a perfect time to give everything a once over. Make sure screws are secure, frayed wires are handled, and that power cords are in safe working order. If you’re using equipment that belongs to the team or some other entity, the off-season affords you the chance give it a once-over and make any requests for repairs or to order new equipment for the gear that has no life left.
Evaluate Your Preparation Process and Start Now
Were there times that you felt behind the 8-ball, that your prep just wasn’t 100% working for you? If so, try giving other methods a fly by to see if there’s a road that works better for you. If you are comfortable with what you have, this is a great chance to prepare what you can, so you don’t have to worry about it later. Buy your scorebooks, create (or download) your spot chart templates, and fill in whatever information you have at this point.
Evaluate Your Calls
Some sportscasters like to listen to their calls in the immediate days following the game, while others like to save it all for the off-season and evaluate when their mind is clear. For those who listened during the season, reach back into your tapes and give it another go. See if you can find any crutches or recurring themes that are distracting to a listener. Don’t just listen to your call but also your sound. You might pick up on something and make a change to your sound settings or even equipment for the upcoming campaign.
Update Your Resume and Demos
How many of us update our resume regularly? It’s something we usually delay doing until right before starting a job search. Not only is that another hurdle we have to leap, in addition to the arduous task of job-hunting itself, but sometimes we leave out critical duties or bullet points simply because we forgot. Use the off-season to update your resume and improve your demo reel with the most accurate representation of your work. Even if you don’t plan on leaving in the foreseeable future.
Practice, Practice, Practice
What more needs to be said here? Head to a local field and call a game from the stands and work on those crutches and distractions you found when replaying your calls. Try out your new prep set-up if you’re attempting something new and see if it works for you. The pressure is non-existent when it’s just practice, so make it second nature now, and during crunch time it’ll be no sweat.
It may be the off-season, but don’t let the mental downtime turn against you. Create those solid habits that will transform your time off into a developmental sweet spot. No reason you can’t stay on your game, even when it’s the off-season.