Writing that all-important match report can seem daunting but it’s a popular part of any club website.
Many players, parents and supporters will go online primarily to check scores, league tables and see if they’re mentioned.
With this step-by-step guide, we’ll help you create a professional match report ready for your club website and even the local press.
Step 1. Preparation
If you know you will be writing a match report, remember to take a pen and paper to the game, or use your smartphone to make notes.
Consider audio notes as an option as you can describe the atmosphere, including what else you notice around the game itself. It’s quicker than writing and it will make sense when you come to listen back.
To save time, try to get hold of the team selection or a list of players before the start. (After the game, try to clarify details that you missed, controversy or anything that didn’t make sense).
Finally, always take a camera. Publishing photos with your match report will instantly increase the number of views.
A camera phone is fine if the action is near the touchline and you might want to record some video clips at the same time.
However, crisp sports photography usually needs a digital camera with a decent zoom to catch the fast-paced action and to get close enough.
Step 2. Headline and tagline
Your headline must attract the reader’s attention in seconds, so make sure you use a short, sharp sentence, no longer than six words. Be descriptive.
‘Old Boys FC win epic battle’ or ‘Smith scores hat-trick in thriller’
The tagline should then be used to provide key details, including the final result in one or two sentences.
‘Olds Boys FC come from behind in wet and windy conditions to win 4-3 at home to league leaders Villa Park. Old Boys now go top with 3 games left to play.’
‘Toby Smith leads from the front to score 3 tries and help save Luton from relegation.’
Step 3. Content
When writing the body of the text start by listing key events in the order they happened.
Think of key events as things you might include if you were making a highlights package of the game. Examples include:
- Goals, tries or wickets
- Penalties or conversations
- Substitutes on and off the field
- Red or yellow cards
- Injuries or stoppages in play
- Also include: exciting periods of play, well-executed moves (and controversy!)
Once the key events are in place, add a short introduction to set the scene. You might want to describe the atmosphere:
- What was the weather like?
- What state was the pitch in?
- How were the conditions?
- How many were in attendance?
Think about background information such as:
- What have been the past results between the two teams?
- Where are they in the league table?
- Which team has the better form going into the game?
Now link the events together, making sure you follow these simple rules:
- Be specific, do not ramble
- Use short paragraphs no longer than two sentences
- Include where appropriate the names of players and coaches
Step 4. Summing up
Once the body of the report is completed, write a conclusion summing up the team’s performance.
Why not go full-on roving reporter and interview the big character from the match? Include a quote from the coach, team manager or an outraged supporter.
Be responsible and credible though.
If you’re going to quote someone then use quote marks and make sure you have an accurate record of exactly what they said (a recording that was agreed or written record).
Become your very own pundit by throwing in some match analysis.
Include a list of areas that needs work, such as improving the line-out or creating more chances in attack; contemplate key decisions in the match, such as a potential wrong substitution or vital error.
At this time, it's also a good idea to thank your opposition and the referee or umpire.
Finally, make sure to finish by promoting upcoming games and training sessions:
- Where has this result left you in the league standings?
- Who are you playing next and where?
- What time should you meet?
- Are you training this week? If so, which day and at what time?
The match report will be read by all players and parents so make the most of it. If it’s published consistently and promoted then it can be a way to majorly grow your audience.
Step 5. Checking & formatting
Ok, so you’ve created this masterpiece of writing. It is the match report to top all match reports.
Before you publish and promote it (always promote it via email and social media!), then check it carefully.
Read it a few times slowly to look for spelling or grammar mistakes. You’ve gone to all of that effort, this is the icing on the cake.
If you need help, there are free tools like Grammarly.
If you have any links, make sure they work and go to the right place.
The note about formatting is to make it as readable online as possible. Don’t publish a well-written match report - but in a single block which is really difficult to read.
Break up the text into short paragraphs, include images if it’s a longer article and use headings in bold to achieve the same thing.
Step 5. Photos
To make your match report an instant success - always use a photo. Even if you lose by 50 goals, users will still read the report to view the photos.
Pick out a selection to publish as an album and pick the best photo to use at the top of the page.
A Pitchero club website allows all members to upload and share photo albums with a club website and each album can be assigned to a specific match report.
So make sure you encourage parents and supporters to upload their images.
If you do not have a photo from the game, use a photo of a player from a past game or a team photo. Either way, always use a photo!
In addition, go one better and use video. The demand for watching video clips online is huge. It needs to be stable footage (not jerky) and if you’re moving to capture a moment in the match then slow and steady.
Short and sharp is best. 5-10 second clips create impact and can also be used on social media as a ‘hook’ to then promote your match report.
Benefits of creating a good match report
- Professional match reports
- Encourage more visitors
- Boost income (from commercial partners)
Follow the guide above and your Pitchero website will look more professional and provide better information for fans.
All of which will contribute to more traffic heading to your website, which can increase your club's revenue potential by impressing potential sponsors
For more on creating outstanding content, check out our guide for our Helpcentre advice that can shape every piece you write about your club.
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