Turn Any Sports Team into Compelling Yearbook Copy

Capture the energy of your school’s sports teams within the pages of the yearbook.
Image source: Flickr CC user EagleBrookSchool

We all can visualize that classic sports movie scene: The underdog football/hockey/basketball/rugby/curling team is able to put aside their differences, defeat their biggest opponents, and become town/league/world champions. It’s a story arc we’ve seen again and again, and yet it never really gets old.

Unfortunately, in real life, not all sports teams have a dramatic backstory or Emilio Estevez to coach them to victory. In fact, some school sports teams are neither particular winners nor losers – they’re just an average team moving through the season without taking too much of a beating or standing out from the pack as champions. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have interesting stories to be shared, or that the players aren’t performing with skill and heart.

As a yearbook editor or photojournalist, it’s up to you to make every game seem like it’s out of the movie Rudy. You want to highlight each team’s achievements, no matter what. That’s where you come in – you wordsmith, you – and use your creative flair to turn each team’s page into a dynamic and interesting space that students will remember years later.

Here are some fun ways you can beef up the sports pages to make them more visually compelling:

1. Turn each player’s profile into their own sports playing card. Take headshots of each player with their stats underneath and you can even make hard copies for the members to keep as a souvenir. Include the basics like name, class, position, etc., but also include fun questions like ‘craziest on-the-road antic’ or ‘Frozen song I secretly sing in the locker room.’ Peppering in questions that yield pop culture-related answers will help transport people right back to high school when they open the yearbook up years later. Check out this example layout:




Years on team:

Most Memorable game and why:

Pre-game pump up song:

Best advice I got from Coach:

If I were a Breaking Bad character I would be _____ because:

2. Another fun way to highlight different fun facts about players or the season overall is to take a pop-up approach, like VH1’s Pop-Up Videos. Use photos taken at the games and add in quote bubbles and factoids throughout the page. It makes for a fun and engaging visual effect that draws people’s eyes to the page

3. Does your school’s baseball team have the next Hunter Pence on the squad? Make a Sports Star Twins page where you match up the top athletes at your school with professionals. Compare their stats and explain why they have the skill set to be the next Colin Kaepernick or Andrew Luck.

4. A team is only as good as its players and the players owe their success to a great coach. Highlight the awesome coaches and assistant coaches in your sports programs with their own special way. You can do a sports stat card for them or send out a cub reporter to chat with each person and see where they see their team going in the year, talk about their own background, and ask them what advice they have for future athletes coming into your school.

5. Turn the replay of the game into a compelling story that makes people want to know what happens next (even though everyone knows the outcome already). Pepper your description with bold adjectives and don’t shy away from using metaphors and other analogies to explain the game. Treat your write-up as a creative writing piece and watch the words flow.

How does your yearbook committee normally cover sports teams? Do you try to think outside the box with each layout or are you more concerned with making sure every team and player is represented? We’d love to hear your comments and ideas. Leave them in the box below!


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