How do you write an article about sport when there is little sport on?

Ben Lyttleton and Alex Bellos on 22 May 2020

How do you write an article about sport when there is so little sport going on? This is just one of the challenges for entrants into this year’s Football School/Guardian Young Sportswriter of the Year competition. We are here to help, so follow these tips and you will be just fine.

1) Content

When it comes to finding a subject for entrants this year, think of what sport means to you and which sporting heroes are important to you. What is it about them that you admire? Is there someone whose performance has stayed with you long after the event, like Dina Asher-Smith clinching gold at the 2019 world championships? A game that you will always remember, like England’s dramatic win in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final? Or maybe an athlete who has used their platform as a force for good to help other people, like Megan Rapinoe or Harry Kane? It could be a professional athlete, a schoolfriend, or even yourself!

2) Personality

If you are enthusiastic about your subject, then that will come across on the page. So choose a subject that you care about, and convey that passion in the language you use. How can you do this? Ask yourself if the article is exciting to read and think about the descriptive words you are using. If the action is unpredictable and dramatic, please tell us: if you want to keep on reading to the end, then we will too.

3) Range

The range of sports that were covered by last year’s entrants blew away our judges. They included Gaelic football, synchronised swimming, ski-jumping, equestrianism and darts. As we write this, the only football leagues playing are in Germany and South Korea; that might limit (or maybe not) the options for football reports! The winning entries were about basketball and snowboarding. We can’t wait to read about more sports this year.

4) Connection

This period without sport has allowed us time to appreciate what sport means when we do have it, and to remember all the positives that it brings: above all, sport allows us to connect with people. Whether that’s exercising with friends, watching a match with family, or experiencing an unpredictable victory (or defeat), it brings people together. We would love to hear how these moments of togetherness and belonging have inspired you.

The Ultimate Puzzle Book
The Ultimate Puzzle Book Photograph: No credit

5) Enjoyment

Football School is all about having fun and learning at the same time as enjoying yourself. The same is true for sport. We want you to enjoy this challenge as much as you would enjoy taking on a new sporting challenge. Have fun!

The latest book in the Football School series is the Football School Ultimate Puzzle Book and includes football-related logic games, crosswords, riddles and much more. Every Friday at 10am there are live lessons on YouTube.

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