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Sports journalists interviewing double World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri in a past local competition. Photo/COURTESY


Michael Kwambo: Media training is important for sports people

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – With increasing media coverage and resultant scrutiny, there is a compelling reason to encourage our sports people to undergo media training.

It is important that young, up and coming sports people 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 sports people 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.

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.

Sports people 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 sports people, 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.

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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 sports people.

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

Sports people 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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