Don’t be afraid to exit your ‘comfort zone’

One of the things that I noticed over the years working in pro hockey is that players often have a meticulous routine to their lives, especially on game day.

Not unlike a military boot camp, a pro hockey player has a pretty standard routine on a game day, and some players are more particular than others. There are certain activities that are common to all players, from the pre-game skate (even with an optional, the players usually still have to show up at the arena, regardless of whether they take the ice) to the pre-game meal (pasta and some sort of chicken) and of course, the pre-game nap. Once the players reach the arena, the routine is still similar, but can vary a little bit based on personal preferences (not ALL players take part in two-touch for instance).

As broadcasters, we’re also creatures to routine as well, which isn’t always a bad thing. From how we prepare, to how we set up our gear, when we conduct pre-game interviews, etc. I’m sure that if we examined ourselves, while they might be different, we can probably concede that we follow some sort of routine.

I think routine is important, and it’s something I’ve written about before—consistency. But they also say that variety is also the spice of life, and maybe there’s something to that in terms of our broadcasts. Sometimes when we’re so mired in a routine, the creative flame within us loses a little bit of spark. If you’ve listened to some of your recent broadcasts and you think that something is missing, or you’re not “growing” in your ability in the way that you were hoping for, change it up!

Jay Murry over at STAA recently wrote an interesting piece on how he made some adjustments in his prep routine, and they’ve paid big dividends in his work. Sometimes thinking differently on how you approach your broadcast might trigger something new for you that will add a different flavor to your broadcast, or even make something that was difficult a little bit easier.

Also, it doesn’t have to be a radical change, it can certainly be smaller—just something to mix it up a little bit to give you some extra spark when preparing for your next broadcast, or trying something a little bit different on the show (one idea that I’ve toyed with but haven’t tried is conducting an interview with two non-US players in a foreign language, where one handles the translation for the other—with the hopes that it will provide some levity, as well as maybe a different insight from a player not as comfortable in English when compared to their own native tongue). Maybe that change can be something to add a little more social media to your broadcast, or for those who really do a lot of social media tie-ins on a radio call, maybe it’s the opposite and dialing it back—doing it “old school” for a night instead.

Next time you’re getting ready for a broadcast, try to do something a little bit different, and see if it works.  It might be that little change that propels you forward to something that might help you become a better broadcaster.