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DOS AND DON’TS FOR ATHLETES

 

DO remember your sponsors. If you’re having your photograph taken wear a branded top showing the name/logo of your sponsor(s). A picture really does tell a thousand words.

DO be aware of your appearance and the message you want to put across about yourself and your sport.

DO check what’s on your social networking pages and your privacy settings. If you’ve selected ‘everyone’ then journalists can read all about you too.

DO give examples of what your life as an athlete is. Journalists love stories.

DO make eye contact when talking to the person interviewing you.

DO be patient even if you think the journalist doesn’t know as much about you, or your event, as they could.

DON’T be late.

DON’T leave your phone switched on during interviews.

DON’T chew gum.

DON’T use social networking sites to be rude about team mates, coaches or your sport.

DON’T give out your mobile phone number or your email unless you want to. You can always ask the journalist to contact you via a parent or coach if you would prefer it that way.

DON’T forget to tell the journalist if you change your mind and decide you don’t want to do the interview or if you need to change the time. Journalists often travel long distances to do interviews so give them plenty of warning.

 

Before the interview

 

  • Ask who is doing the interview and where it will appear.
  • Feel free to ask what areas the interview will cover so you can prepare.
  • Think about the awkward subjects that affect your sport. What is your position on those subjects? Discuss these things with your coaches / mentors / sports body so you’re prepared should a difficult question come up.

 

The interview

 

  • Keep your answers short (20-30 seconds max) when talking to TV or radio.
  • Be honest. You’ve just lost a race and are gutted? Say so and explain what happened.
  • Don’t presume knowledge. Neither interviewer nor audience will have your intimate understanding of the sport so avoid abbreviations, technical terms and team mates’ first names (e.g. say ‘personal best’ not ‘PB’).
  • Don’t feel you need to fill awkward silences between the end of your - answer and the next question – that’s the interviewer’s problem.
  • In a mixed zone situation where the reporters are all asking similar questions (e.g. ‘How do you feel about your performance?’) you can give the same answer to all of them.

 

After the interview

 

  • The interview only ends when the reporter has left or hung up the phone so don’t make any unguarded comments because you think the microphone has been turned off.
  • Try and watch/read the interview and think constructively about how you can improve.
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