Sports reporter Hunter Atkins explains the key elements of sports writing

Aspiring to be a sportswriter? Learn the 6 key elements of sports writing from sports reporter Hunter Atkins.

Sports writing is equally important as sports reporting, business reporting, and other journalistic work. Hunter Atkins, a contributor in Rolling Stone, Forbes, and The New York Times, says that sports reporting requires additional input as it consists of different kinds of stories, which can be a challenge.

Atkins started reporting for the Chicago Sun-Times when he was just 17 years old. He states that sports reporting involves thorough preparation and anticipation, watching the actual game, checking replays and highlights, and discussing the entire game afterward. Sports writing plays a critical role in stirring expectations and providing fans with credible information using highlights. He explains the following key elements of sports writing.

Highlights of the Game

Providing game highlights simply means highlighting the most significant or interesting parts of the game. In most cases, they should be accompanied by short videos featuring the real stars, real action, and real match commentary. Sportswriters have to summarize and provide all this information to the viewer or reader using one or two sentences. According to Hunter Atkins, an aspiring sportswriter must learn to capture the most important details of a game, such as when a goal was scored, who scored it, how it was scored, and the exact minute the goal was scored.

The Type of Sport

Sportswriters also need to include the type of sports they’re talking about to capture their readers and viewers. While naming the teams mostly covers the type of sport you’re talking about, it’s more critical to include the type of sport, especially if it is not popular.

Where the Game Was Played

Where the game is played is also a critical element of sports writing. Your readers will want to know whether their teams were playing home or away, Hunter Atkins says. When you mention location, you may want to include weather, injuries, and other factors in the area and how they might have affected the overall outcome of the game (only mention when they directly affected the game).

Names of the Teams Involved

Any sports reporting should include the teams involved. Along with the teams, you can briefly describe them based on how they appeared in the game, who scored, and other critical details your readers might want to know. Hunter Atkins recommends mentioning what the coaches, captains, and other leaders in the game had to say before or after the game.

The Outcome

Whether there were scores or not, it’s important to mention whether the game ended with a winner or draw.  If there were any scores, note down what each team scored and include the names of the players who scored. It would help if you also mentioned the minute when a score was made and how it was scored.

Quotes and More Info

As a sports enthusiast and reporter, Hunter Atkins recommends focusing on passing interesting information that fans would be more interested in knowing about. This is where you can include quotes from the coach, big players from both teams, and other involved parties.