Also, keep your distance when a coach is having a post-game meeting with the team. Position yourself between the meeting and the dugout or between the meeting and the field house and be ready to respectfully approach the coach when they break.
Never talk to a coach or player during a game. A coach may chat with you a bit during a game, but that is just to relieve tension, but don’t ask a coach or player a question about the game during the game. When it comes time to get quotes after a game, don’t walk up and start asking questions. My best approach: “Is this a good time to ask a quick question, Coach?” It will help your access to the team and the coach.
Out At Second. I got to a game late, leaned
over the first base side fence and 60 seconds
later I took this picture. A lot of great
photography is just plain luck.
Bury your ego. Coaches get 100% respect from players, parents, fans and other coaches and you will be an alien from another planet if you are a pesky reporter. Only once in my hundreds of interviews with coaches did I get a flat “no” and a go-to-hell look from a coach after a team suffered a miserable loss. I was flustered and said as he walked away, “Maybe I can give you a call tomorrow if that is OK with you.” I think I sounded like a scared puppy, but my respect paid off and the coach talked with me briefly the following afternoon. Come to think of it, that one time was not a varsity coach. Most head coaches know the routine and are respectful to give you a little time.
Have simple and relevant questions ready. Do not ask shallow questions like “What do you think about the win?,” and don’t be foolish enough to ask, “What do you think about the loss," or you can expect a go-to-hell look. I often take a few side notes during a game to ask a coach later based on key players or key plays. I sometimes open by asking a coach to explain a key play that helped the team, because coaches like to explain their strategy when their strategy goes right. And don't worry if you are not an expert in that sport, because you are a reporter, not a sports analyst.