Scribble and Speak

By Matthew C Wallace

Get your forms on, buddy!  Specifically, your announcer forms for scoring a game.  Really?  What’s wrong with just scoring the game in a standard score book?  Nothing if it’s all you have to do.  Announcers have nothing to do at a game, right?  The job is just so easy that the microphone man can sit there penciling in shots, strikes, completions, kills, rebounds, etc.  Wrong.

Announcers have NO time at an event.  This is why we like as much pre-scripted materials as possible, and please people, give it to us ahead of time.  Maybe, occasionally, we would like to rehearse.  Ha!  Back to scoring forms though.

Why would a standard score book NOT be good enough?

ANSWER: Too much detail for what announcers do at the game.

Public Address Announcer Scoresheet

Let’s take women’s college basketball for example.  A college basketball score book is a thorough official document for the game at hand.  Great tool for the official scorekeeper.  It tracks everything and I mean everything: time of fouls, starters for each period, number of free throws attempts, rebounds, you name it – it does it.

But us announcers don’t announce all that stuff.  Ok, maybe as part of halftime stats, we might…if we have the accurate data from the sports information crowd.  We announce the player who sank the shot, who had the foul, who’s at the line, the subs coming in but mostly, names, names, names.  80+% of our job is names.  It’s why so many of us get wrapped up in pronunciations.  Why?  ‘Cause that’s the job and, we want to do it right.

Regardless, we need to be tracking the game, too… just…our way.  We need a form with very clear numbers and names which tracks foul count on the individual and team.  We need to be able to track timeouts and, dreadfully so, media timeouts.  Oh yes, it’s such an issue these days.  The score is always good to write down; though, it is already on the giant electronic scoreboard for the peanut gallery.  Plus, college basketball is different on fouls between men and women; therefore, we have to track it differently (make sure to know those rules of the game).  Then, there are the differences going down to high school and up to the pros.

Goodness, gracious.  My pile of announcer scoring forms for individual versions of sports is growing.  Variations alone on roster lists between football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, etc. can get mighty daunting even to the experienced announcer.  Papers will be letter, legal and tabloid sized, taped together, portrait and landscape, with font sizes and types as diverse as handwriting (although, I’ve tried to standardize the font stuff).  You can find all my goop in the tools section by clicking HERE.

So, I ventured into foreign waters to create a form I could not find and, I am sure I will be evolving it over time for everything I missed and the ever changing rules.  My #1 goal?  One page.  Boy, announcers can easily end up with papers abound on the desk.  It can get chaotic quick.  Getting organized beforehand and staying that way during the game are acquired skills…and don’t forget tape.  I learned the tape thing the hard way one day at a football stadium when they opened the windows and all my papers were whisked up by the wind and into the stands.  For a good discussion of tools, go to the article titled “The #1 Tool is NOT a Microphone“.

Well, I did it…and here it is.  I took the next step and made one for men’s college basketball as well.  The biggest thing was to encompass as much of what an announcer provides to the crowd as possible.  If I must say so, what a thing of beauty!  So simple.  So easy.  My gosh!  If I am so incapable of filling in little circles, I am over before I started.  I don’t announce rebounds or attempts or foul specifics.  Outside of subs, scripts and copy, this is what I track and announce during the game.  Of course, I announce who fouled, player at the line, violations and so on.  But think about, the below is kinda sorta all I’m tracking and need to be tracking…and I am keeping it simple.

I solicited a whole lot of feedback on this so, in fact, we have a form which has been collaboratively developed by a number of announcers across America.  I filled the form with artificial names to give perspective.  Visitors are yellow and home is green.  No, the score is unnecessary for an announcer but, useful for those who like tracking the score and saving the sheets.  I leaned on filling in circles for fouls and timeouts.  Who knew WingDings could be so valuable!  I created a left-to-right design for tracking subs then a bit of room at the bottom for technical fouls or minor notes.  It’s a form.  The big idea is to be easy to read and easy to fill out.

Is this a step up over just a spreadsheet?  You betcha!  Pencil in a circle here and there, done!  The rest of the time is running my mouth which is what I’m there for…heaven forbid.  Make your forms, everybody!  Customize them to your style.  Download the ones created on this site and customize them to your own needs.  The world expects faster yet accurate announcing and, they are unforgiving about it.  If you want to try mine, just click on TOOLS.  Have at it!!!  If you do, have the kindness to give me some feedback so I can improve them.

The point of this entire post resides in the form itself.  If the template makes the announcer more efficient and structured, if they do a better job then, having it makes perfect sense.  I recommend all announcers do what they are comfortable with.  In my case, templates reduce headaches.  All announcers vary though.  Each announcer should determine their best tools and always have them at their fingertips.  If you need a hammer to bang yourself in the head because you can’t take the game anymore, place it in your lap.  If you need an aspirin to calm yourself prior to a championship, put two in your pocket.  And if you need a template to save you time and effort, make sure it’s on your clipboard ready to go!

Get Public Address Announcer Tools

Please, let me know what forms you use.  I like new ideas for improving. 

If you’d like to share them on this site, awesome!  I love it when a community acts like a community. 

Email it to [email protected].

I will be sure to post it and give you ALL the authoring credit.  The more we share, the better the craft gets for everyone!

About Matthew C Wallace

Matthew C. Wallace is the owner of He is a public address announcer, writer, webmaster, historian, author as well as a former executive and musician. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

More Announcer Reading

What Do I Have To Do This


Mistakes By Matthew C Wallace Everyone Makes Them… I have never announced any event or…

Read More
Public Address Announcer Amplifier Magazine Cover

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *