If you’re looking for examples of drama, tension and excitement, you can be sure to find them during the coverage of any sporting event.

Sports commentators do a fantastic job of describing the action as it happens. They provide context and insights during a game, but most of all they build excitement for the viewers. Every great commentator has clearly learnt the Seven Steps and taken a masterclass in Step 3: Tightening Tension!

Have you ever noticed how the moment before a penalty kick or free throw in AFL feels so much longer than the moments leading up to it? That’s Tightening Tension. And being able to write in a way that keeps your reader on the edge of their seat is a skill that every student should learn.

With the AFL and NRL finals series kicking off and the start of the AFLW, cricket and European football leagues, it’s a great time for sports fans right now.

Many of your students will be eagerly watching these events or playing sports themselves! So, bring their love for sports into the classroom by taking a closer look at how sports commentators tighten the tension during a big game.

Sports finals writing activity (Step 3: Tightening Tension)

Use this short classroom writing activity to practise Tightening the Tension and build students’ muscle memory. 

A powerful and effective tension technique is to use short, sharp sentences at intense moments. As a class, watch the start of the following videos:

‘They [Collingwood] hold Carlton’s heart in their hand right now’

’34 seconds left. The most important 34 seconds in a Collingwood Carlton clash in 30 years!’

‘It’s Hatchard who wants to send them forward and the race is on!
Now with Ponte, she gets goalside of Birch. Ponte gathers at 55, wide-open goal square! Has she got penetration on the kick?’

Discuss how the sports commentators use short, sharp sentences to build tension during a match.

Then get students to put this technique into practice:

  • Film students playing a game of sport or pick a recent school sporting event.
  • Ask students to form small groups and make a list of any moments of tension and brainstorm short, sharp sentences to describe what happened.
  • Give each group five minutes to practise or record their commentary.
  • Get each group to present their tension scene with commentary to the class.

This footy finals writing activity is based on the Teacher Hub Action Activity Game Changer.

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