Coaching & PE, Fitness & Health

Ever wanted to write a sports article?

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell, Coach Development Officer, Tennis Ireland

If you can teach a sport, you can write about it. When coaching you are used to being brief and informative. Writing about the sport is simply a matter of transferring these virtues to your computer screen.

If you can explain the intricacies of a complicated game to a player or group of players in the practical environment, you should have no problems doing the same thing at your desk where you have the opportunity to rethink, revise and rewrite.

But why write? You are a very busy coach – why take time from your hectic schedule to write an article on your sport?

In my opinion there are very sound reasons for any coach to produce and publish articles. Firstly writing is a learning process and as it demands research you are forced to keep up with new developments in your sport. This inevitably makes you a better coach.

Analysing and explaining an aspect of the sport on paper helps you clarify and develop your own understanding of it and publishing articles makes your name known outside of your normal sphere. It`s also a great addition to your C.V. and can only serve to enhance your career prospects.

There are many facets to your sport and I am willing to bet that new developments occur regularly and as a result there will never be a shortage of subject matter for the prospective author.

Ideas can be sparked off by reading magazines, books and web sites or you can arrange interviews with cutting edge coaches, administrators or clubs. If you can’t do an interview send them a questionnaire and compile the results into an article.

Discussions with fellow coaches often raise controversial topics. You should be the one to research the subject and write the definitive comment on it. What are your observations on, for example, the new technical or tactical developments among top junior competitors?

The best advice on what to write about is probably the oldest – write about what you know. If you work mainly with 6 year old beginners, that should be your subject.

So having got your idea and done the research it’s time to write the article. Most published articles follow a similar pattern:
The title – short and descriptive.
The opening paragraph – try to grab the reader’s attention and leave them determined to read the rest of the article.
The body of the article – where you make your points, state your case and inform (and if possible entertain!) your reader.
The closing paragraph – sums up the article and your argument.

I recommend following this procedure to ensure that your writing is logical and easily understood:

Firstly note briefly and in any order the points you want to make and
then put into a logical order, developing a clear line of argument.

Then expand the ideas into sentences and paragraphs, keeping them both relatively short to help the reader keep track of your train of thought. Commas can often be replaced by full stops. Two short sentences are more easily understood than one long sentence. It follows that two words should not be used where one will do.

Edit the writing by taking out awkward turns of phrase, clarifying ideas, checking grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Finally put the article aside for a day or two and then read it aloud. You may notice small inconsistencies which had escaped you before and then ask someone else to read it and comment. This process leads to a final revision.

Now it is time to dispatch the piece to your chosen outlet. If it is to be published on the internet, your opinions will be available for evermore to billions of people!

Article written by Peter Farrell, Coach Development Officer, Tennis Ireland

If you would like to try writing an article but don’y know where to semd it for publication, here’s your chance. We invite you to submit a relevant article on any topic to Human Kinetics for inclusion in our blog or one of our newsletters. We can’t guarantee to publish every article but who knows – it could prove to be the start of a whole new career!

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