Teacher resources: How to write sport live text commentaries
One way of covering big sporting events is with a regularly updated page of live commentary.
The BBC Sport website uses them regularly for the latest updates - whether from a Saturday afternoon of football or the Wimbledon final - and the pages are also suitable to tell the story of news events too.
Here are my top tips for making your live commentaries come to life and keep your readers coming back for more!
1) Preparation is key
You won't have any time to do any research during the action, so find out as much as you can beforehand - from things like tricky spellings of players to interesting statistics.
It is really important you know the basics about the event you will be describing and think about what you might write at different times when it is taking place.
2) Get others involved
Part of this preparation is making sure everyone in your team knows what they will be doing and when. Do they know when kick-off is, or what time different athletics events are taking place, for instance?
The live text commentator is the person typing everything in so they cannot always watch the action. it's important to have other people there to help, and to double check your work for mistakes and spelling errors etc.
Make sure the other people who will be telling you information know exactly what you need, and that you will need it quickly!
3) Engage your audience
Live text commentaries should never sound like one person airing their views - make your readers feel part of the action by getting them involved. Invite them to give their views on the action or ask them questions that they can answer.
You can do this with people who might be sitting nearby, or are with you in the classroom. If you are over 13 and old enough to use social networking sites, you might also think about using these to draw in responses.
You can complete the loop by responding to people in your live text after publishing their thoughts. Although don't be too confrontational if they disagree with you!
It helps to get a balance of views in there too. Using football as an example, don't just publish the views of one set of fans at a game!
4) Make them feel like they are there
Even if you are not in the stadium or place where the sport you are commentating on is taking place, you will (hopefully!) be able to see it on TV.
Some of the people reading your live texts won't have images, just your words, so remember that when you come to describe things that are happening around the game, like the crowd singing or even the weather.
5) Tell people what is happening
Make sure you start your live text by explaining the event you will be writing about, and invite some debate about what might happen.
But when the action starts, that becomes your priority. Don't let the debate you started distract you from your main job as a LIVE text commentator, which is telling people what is happening as quickly as possible.
Look out for the 'key events' like goals, red cards and penalties at a football match - and who has scored them. All sports have key events - in some athletics races, for example, simply who won, or who is ahead and how much of the race is left is important.
And if those key events aren't happening, then try to get across what IS happening - is one team doing a lot of attacking?
6) Get your personality across too
When live sport is taking place, things are often happening so fast that you won't have time to think much about what you are writing.
Everyone has a different approach when they are writing live texts, but as long as you get the important information across it doesn't matter whether you do it while telling jokes or just by giving basic descriptions.
As you do more live texts, you will become more relaxed, and find it easier to get your personality across more.
7) Keep your cool
In live sport, lots of things often happen at the same time.
As a live text commentator you should get that information across as quickly as you can, but also as accurately as you can.
Don't lose your concentration if lots of people are telling you things at the same time, because those are the times when you can make mistakes. If things do get a bit crazy, laugh about it and mention how busy you are in your live text.
8) Enjoy yourself
Don't kick yourself if you do make an error. Everyone does it, even me!
Point out what you got wrong, apologise (by cracking a joke if you like!), correct it, and move on - don't dwell on it! You are watching live sport and every sort of commentator - TV, radio or live text - will get something wrong at some point.
You would have fun if you were doing these things while talking with a friend, so make sure you have fun doing the same on a live text commentary too!