How beneficial is media training for athletes?

There is an increasing need to expose our athletes to media training.

It is important that young, up and coming athletes are made aware of positive personal portrayal as it impacts on the media interview process.

This is something that applies not only during their sports careers but long after they have retired from active sport.

We are living in a time where we are in a position, courtesy of digital and social media, to monitor emerging athletes as they develop their careers. They need to be guided to handle themselves in a way that resonates positively on them not only during media engagements but also on and off the field of play.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt at a previous post-race interview/Photo/Getty Images

In order to effectively communicate with the media, it is important for athletes to have sessions on interviewing skills and techniques with communications experts. This can incorporate work on details such as facial expressions, body language as well as tone of voice and projection.

Athletes can learn how to give effective responses in a comfortable manner to questions that repeatedly turn up in interviews.

Constantly working on such techniques gives athletes confidence to navigate interviews as they appear comfortable, not only to their interviewer but also to the camera and the audiences out there.

This kind of practice and attention to detail needs to be encouraged. The world of sport is ever evolving. We get to see upcoming talent maturing into great athletes, we also see others make the transition from playing to coaching, others are released from their teams or forced into retirement either because of age or injury. These situations can lead to a change in public perceptions as well as a host of other challenges.

Additionally, long and successful careers may bring about new layers of public perception which require a different’ persona’ for the camera.

Just as on-field training is a pre-requisite for team selection, similar effort is required for the professional off-field image expected of today’s athletes.

While the results of media training will not be instant, the rewards will surely be felt in future.

Athletes will be confident enough to navigate the toughest of interviews. That’s an important part of what the team brand is all about and in the process sets a platform that can raise the individual’s personal profile and image.


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