Delivering media experiences for youth footballers

Oxford City Football Club’s junior players experienced their first taste of TV media interviews this week.

Handling media interviews is now an integral part of any athlete’s off-field responsibilities. To help with Oxford City FC’s development of its youth players, Fortitude Communications delivered a programme of interactive media experiences to some of its rising stars.

TV interviews

Media experiences formed part of Oxford City Football Club’s Summer Family Festival for players who represent the club’s U7s to U18s squads, managed byIgnite Sport UK.

After the players received their end of season awards and medals, they took part in TV style interviews. Fortitude partnered with the football club to re-create an outside TV style environment, complete with a media backdrop board, TV camera, microphone, cameraman and interviewer. 

Just like a real-world experience for a professional footballer, young players were briefed about the questions they were likely to face, how to speak on camera and who they would be engaging with. 

Fortitude founder Greig Box Turnbull acted as the interviewer while account executive and photographer Shaun Reynolds handled the briefing process. The experience gave Oxford City’s young players an insight into how post-match interviews take place, how to handle questions and how to speak on camera. 

Junior development

Each interview was filmed and a highlights reel of content was broadcast on Oxford City FC’s YouTube channel for the youth players and their families to watch back. 

To make players’ first interview experience smooth, enjoyable and fun, interviewees were educated on the five C’s’, a set of guidelines that help people communicate effectively in broadcast interviews. 

Conviction – deliver your message with confidence. 

Clarity – speak clearly and avoid jargon. 

Confidence – speak with authority to gain audience buy-in. 

Composure – keep calm and collected regardless of the questions asked. 

Consistency – maintain your key position and messages to your fanbase. 

Media experience

Louise Merritt, operations director at Ignite Sport UK said it was great to see so many young players talk in front of camera for the first time. 

Youth development on and off the pitch is something we are passionate about and pride ourselves on delivering,” she said. That means providing new experiences for our players that will help them both in their football journeys, but also in their life outside sport.

The media experience Fortitude delivered was first-class and we received so much fantastic feedback from the players. They took the time to brief the players and guide them through the process and made it great fun. It is something we will look to build on and continue as players progress through the academy.”

Oxford City first team player and U7’s coach Josh Ashby added: Speaking to the media is something you get used to as a player with time and experience. 

However, providing our youth players with the opportunity to learn key skills and get used to being in front of a TV camera is an excellent part of their education. 

The players had a lot of fun talking in front of the camera for the first time and most of them were naturals.” 

Capturing the moment 

Fortitude also provided photography services to Ignite Sport UK as part of the Summer Family Festival. 

All 20 teams under Oxford City’s junior and youth football umbrella had a group photograph taken. Individual photos of Player of Year, Most Improved Player of the Year and Coaches’ Player of the Year recipients were also captured. 

Other activities including a freestyle football workshop delivered by Tottenham Hotspur’s official skills ambassador Charlotte Lade, giant football-darts and an Oxford City FC XI vs Oxford United Legends’ XI friendly were photographed by Shaun.

The images were used to highlight the impact of the day across Ignite Sport UK and Oxford City FC’s digital platforms and placed in the local media.

The photos were amazing and really captured the essence of the day perfectly,” said Louise. We now have a large set of images that we can use across the year.”

Multi-media journalist

Fortitude’s head videographer, CAA approved drone operator and communications specialist Thom Airs meanwhile was compere for the day. 

Thom took to the microphone to host the day and collate the activity for the hundreds of guests and participants. In addition to filming, Thom regularly appears on camera for our clients as a face to camera host, interviewers, or voice-over. 

Media Training

We deliver media training in bespoke formats to suit most client briefs. This includes one-to-one CEO and spokesperson training, through to group sessions. Earlier this year Fortitude delivered media training to Betfred Championship rugby league club the London Broncos. 

Training includes providing experience in using broadcast equipment, hot to prepare for and deliver interviews and how to handle difficult questions. Fortitude’s team are professionally trained and experienced journalists and corporate communications professionals. 

If you would like to discuss media training for your sports club, business or charity please get in touch here.

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