1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

My first gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by kuballer2369, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. kuballer2369

    kuballer2369 New Member

    With the help of you guys, my first time covering a game went smoothly. The game was a blow \out but other than that everything went well. Thanks again for all your helpful advice and feel free to give me some feedback. Please note that the game was a blowout so I was told to keep my story under 15 inches.

    MENDON, ILL— There's an old coaches saying;
    "You play how you practice." Illini West proved this saying true in their 72-38 rout of Unity on Tuesday night in Mendon.
    Illini West (12-5, 3-0) came into the game only allowing 36.8 points per game and would continue that trend as it only allows Unity to muster 38 points.
    Through textbook defense and full-court pressure the Chargers were able disrupt the offensive flow of the Mustangs (6-11), and were able to force 25 turnovers, many of which came as a result of their press.
    “We work on our press daily (in practice). We press our sophomores, and each other, and it’s a really big part of our game” Illini West Coach John Hughs said.
    Not only does Illini West pressure it’s opponents, but Coach Hughs substitutes frequently to have fresh legs on the court so their press can be as effective as possible.
    “They have a lot of guys. (Laughs) I mean they bring 5 guys at you, pressure the heck out of you, then they bring in 5 more and pressure you again.” said Unity Coach Keith Carothers.
    Illini West knows a thing or two about offense, as well.
    Led by the dominating duo of Jacob and Drake Schmudlach, who scored 19 of the teams first 22 points, the Chargers quickly jumped out to a 9 point lead and never looked back.
    Jacob led all scorers with 22 points, hitting three 3-pointers and converting on 7-of-8 free throw attempts, while younger brothers Drake and Zane Schmudlach had 5 and 3 points, respectively.
    “He’s (Jacob) a solid player, the whole Schmudlach family is” Coach Carothers said. “He’s a big, fast, and strong athlete and it was tough for our smaller guards to match up against him.
    Unfortunately for Unity, the Schmudlach family had lots of help on the offensive end, especially from behind the arc, as 5 different players hit at least one 3 point basket.
    The team finished with a season-high eleven 3-point field goals for the game.
    “We have good shooters. But tonight feels like the first night the monkey’s off our back, and we finally had some guys shoot with confidence.” Coach Hughs said.
    Cody Carson had a game-high four 3's, and finished with 12 points. Also in double figures was center Jack Carlisle who had two 3-pointers of his own, and finished with 14 points.
    Unity was led in scoring by Kody Bowman who finished with 12 points.
  2. OCsports

    OCsports New Member

    Hey KUballer,
    I'm going to be a little picky in my critique of this and point out even the smaller errors that I see, but I see some promise here. You got the score high which is obviously important and writing a blowout story can be difficult. Here's some things to clean up your copy and impress your editors next time out:

    Lede has some problems. First graph ends with a semicolon, which is odd. Did the coach say you play how you practice? Is that how you got the idea? If so, a little adjustment to the same idea would provide a cleaner and less cliche lede.

    A team is an it, not a they. "Illini West proved this saying true in its 72-38..." When using the nickname, like Chargers, they is fine.

    Some verb tense changes. Need to watch out for these. Should be written completely in past tense, generally.

    Fourth graph should look something like this to avoid unnecessary wordiness, "The Chargers were able disrupt the Mustangs' offensive flow and force 25 turnovers with their full-court press defense." This gets rid of cliches like "textbook defense" and says the same thing with 16 fewer words. Put the Mustangs' record in the third graph, as well.

    Insert your attribution after the first full sentence of a quote and I don't feel like we need clarification about where they work on their press daily. Avoid the parentheses whenever possible. "'We work on our press daily," Illini West Coach John Hughs said. "We press..." The reader wants to know who is talking as soon as possible.

    Next graph - Get rid of coach in front of Hughs. You only need to refer to him by his last name after first reference. Fresh legs is a bit of a cliche. Substitutes is another tense change.

    Quote - Attribution earlier again. Get rid of the "(laughs)."

    "Knows a thing or two about offense" - another cliche. Maybe "Illini West kept up the pressure on offense, as well," or something like that.

    Next graph - "Doninating duo" - cliche. Apostrophe on team's. How quickly did they jump out the the nine point lead? Two minutes in? At the end of the first quarter? I want to know and some readers probably do, too. Any number below 10 is always spelled out in AP style, unless it's before a measurement like miles or feet.

    Don't refer to people by just their first name. I know you were dealing with three people with the same last name, so in that case you always include first and last name on all references. In fact, Drake and Zane could probably be eliminated entirely because they only scored eight points combined. Again numbers less than 10 are spelled out. Players' years in school are always nice to know. Senior, junior...

    When you clarify with parentheses just substitute the person for the pronoun. Or to avoid the parentheses, insert a graph above that gives context.
    "Carothers said Jake Schmudlach's size created matchup problems on both ends of the court.
    (Caothers' quote)"
    Then you can leave he in the quote. Also, I'd like to know how tall Jake is and what position he plays. Is he a 6-foot-3 guard? A 6-foot-8 post? How many inches did he have on the players who were guarding him? Or is that he's stronger? Information like that should be available and could become something to make a lede out of.

    Next graph - "Jake Schmudlach wasn't the only player who contributed from behind the arc, as four of his teammates also hit at least one 3-pointer to reach a Chargers' season-high of 11.

    The next quote is not explained. Why is the monkey off their back? Have they shot poorly most of the season? Do they normally only score a lot less? Could use some context. First sentence attribution again. With some context this is a great quote to end your story on. The last two graphs just read like a box score and end the story too abruptly, so I'd get rid of them or move them up to where we talk about the three point shooting. Get rid of Jake's brothers and talk about these guys. They meant more to their team.

    I know it seems like I may have said to get rid of a lot, but some things could have been included to make this about the same length.
    1. A quote from a player. Jake seems like the player of the game. Talk to him about how he played. Does he normally score this much? What was he more proud of, the great shooting or the defense? Could add a few inches with that.
    2. Who are they playing next? Do they have a big game? Did they leave the starters in for longer than normal to prepare for it?
    That should keep you around 15 inches and keep you from having to throw out so many stats.

    It's what I normally would see from someone's first gamer. I assume it was on deadline, which probably took some getting used to. The critique I gave above is very similar to the one I got on my first one. You seem motivated and you have a good attitude, that's the biggest part. Good luck! And don't be afraid to share your future stories.
  3. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    You believe correctly, as that has been AP style, with a few exceptions, for a long time.

    Congrats on making it through the first night without puking on the court, ku.
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member


    OCSports was pretty dead-on. However, I would raise a different suggestion here:

    When I went to my second paper, I had a BIG problem writing passively. So I would suggest rather than going with the softer "were able to" you could just say "The Chargers disrupted the Mustangs' offensive flow..." It's a stronger verb, feels more powerful and also cuts out some words.

    Try to avoid things like "were able to."
  5. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    thank you, thank you, thank you. i see this mistake way too often.

    oh, and "Not only does Illini West pressure it’s opponents ..." should be "... its opponents..."
  6. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Some people will disagree and we're all guilty of it, but I'd try to avoid the cliche lead and go with something specific to the game. You'll get plenty of cliches from your sources, no need to add them.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Never do this. It's what TV people do, and it's wrong and awful.
    Also, it should be "allowed Unity to muster 38 points." Unity hasn't averaged 38 points each game against Illini West, nor will it score exactly 38 every time.

    There's also a lot of unnecessary words throughout the story. We're all guilty of this at one time or another. Read some critiques on here and you'd think nothing beyond "Illini West beat Unity 72-38." should be in the story. But you can trim the fat here and there on this one and probably cut an inch or two off.
    If you have a couple extra minutes the next time you write, read over it and ask yourself where you can replace three words with one. If you've ever done layout or seen people cut, pretend like you have to cut three lines to make your story fit. Then do another three, and another three, until all of those extra "as", "would continue to" and "as well" type things are gone.

    OCsports covered most of the problems with this one. It's not bad for your first time, and like he said, you seem motivated to get better. Don't get frustrated or discouraged. Writing is a process. You'll look at this story five years from now and cringe. Five years after that, you'll look at a story from 2015 and cringe.
  8. kuballer2369

    kuballer2369 New Member

    Wow, thank you OCsports for taking the time to critque my first story.

    That's exactly why I submitted the rough copy to you guys before my editor touched it. I wanted to see the things I did wrong and learn from them.

    My editor caught almost every single thing OCsports said, and my story actually turned out to be a lot better, which is great.

    As a matter of fact, it was good enough to make the front page of the sports section! I almost fainted when I saw it lol.

    I made a lot of rookie mistakes, but I see where I made them and I will deffinately do my best to catch them next time.

    Thanks again guys, especially OCsports, you have no idea how much I appreciate it!
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member


  10. kuballer2369

    kuballer2369 New Member

    thats what spell check is for lol
  11. something I was told when I first started that I still use is when you come back to the office or talk to someone about the game, what's the first thing you're going to tell me about the game? More times than not that's going to make a good lede for you. Doesn't work everytime, but does more times than not.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page