Test students for sports terms, style

Students are always going to stumble over coverage of sports events, especially on deadline, such as finding the best angles, selecting appropriate quotes, structuring stories effectively, asking probing questions, and determining key trends and plays. That’s part of the learning process. So is employing suitable terms.

I used to think students would know the difference between shut and shutout and that players are positioned at second base, point guard, and running back. But I’ve learned this is not the case. Instead, stories are filled with secondbasemen, pointguards, and runningbacks.

This weekend, I developed four exercises that teachers can use to further reinforce the proper terms that are outlined in both the Field Guide To Covering Sports and in the Associated Press Stylebook. (Listed on the right side of this page.)

After reviewing sports terms in class, you can use the following exercises to test how much students have learned. Ultimately, you can create a final test or ask students to detect errors in sports stories. Please, send me your own style questions so I can share them with others. In the meantime, feel free to use the AP Style exercises below.

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About jgisondi

I am the author of the "Field Guide To Covering Sports," the second edition now available from Congressional Quarterly Press/SAGE, and "Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot" (U of Nebraska Press). Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition goes beyond general guidance about sports writing, offering readers practical advice on covering 20 specific sports. From auto racing to wrestling, author Joe Gisondi gives tips on the seemingly straightforward—like where to stand on the sideline and how to identify a key player—along with the more specialized—such as figuring out shot selection in lacrosse and understanding a coxswain’s call for a harder stroke in rowing. In the new Second Edition, readers also explore sports reporting across multimedia platforms, developing a foundational understanding for social media, mobile media, visual storytelling, writing for television and radio, and applying sabermetrics. Fully revised with new examples and updated information to give readers confidence in covering just about any game, match, meet, race, regatta or tournament, Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition is the ideal go-to resource to have on hand when mastering the beat. In "Monster Trek," Joe Gisondi brings to life the celebrities in bigfoot culture: people such as Matt Moneymaker, Jeff Meldrum, and Cliff Barackman, who explore remote wooded areas of the country for weeks at a time and spend thousands of dollars on infrared imagers, cameras, and high-end camping equipment. Pursuing the answer to why these seekers of bigfoot do what they do, Gisondi brings to the reader their most interesting—and in many cases, harrowing—expeditions. You can order both from Amazon.
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