What makes a good Emcee and GA?

Hiya Chief Delphi!

Competition Season is only coming slowly but surely. And ever since I was finally able to emcee a match at ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2019 (Thank you by the way!!!), I was wondering everyone’s opinon’s on the question:
What makes a good Emcee and GA?

I know parents, coaches, students, and others have different thoughts, examples, and what-not on what makes someone “good” at this. (For an example, me and my father).
Personally, emcees should be noticeable and should interact with the students a bunch. They should also be smiles and bringing hype onto the field when they get on. GAs, on the other hand, should have a good eye for plays going on. Noticing everything that’s going on and being able to pick out what’s best to say. Both should be very enthusiastic and should have a good understanding of the teams that are competing at their event, being able to call out achievements.

I could say a lot more about how I feel what makes someone “good”, but I would like to hear your opinions!

A good GA tells the audience what they’re seeing. A great GA tells the audience why they’re seeing it.


I can’t definitively say what makes a good Emcee and GA beyond what the training slides say. Organically though, each has their own unique styles and cues that can make a world of difference. For me as an Emcee in the past, I took my own twists on styles I had liked and tried to make it my own.

Taylor kinda nailed it wrt Game Announcing (holy hell is it hard), but a good Emcee is there to not make you want to watch (that’s already done), a better emcee demands your attention, and a great master of ceremonies commands an audience via presence, and in harmony with the rest of the event. I think the easiest example is Karthik’s 2012 GTR East intro. When I got my first assignment as a Master of Ceremonies, I went back to that video over and over to try and understand why it was good and the best conclusion I arrived at was as follows:

When the show is about the teams, truly make it about the teams. Know their histories, their interactions. The robots are on the field, but what of the people? Each team’s history is important to them but can you convey that you and others also care so much you know it by heart?

Superficial awards don’t matter that much, but to be able to go (for example) “This team has never made finals before, they’ve never made semifinals, but they spent the last two seasons competing in more offseasons than they ever had, to get as much practice as possible, and it shows. Earning their spot in the finals, it’s Team 9998!” being able to tell a story you can’t get from glancing at TBA is that much better.

If you haven’t read them before, the Emcee / GA training slides have a good deal of information on what to do / not to do in the abstract, but people bringing their soul to the roles and knowing their stuff is what makes them great.


Before I emcee an event, I spend a couple weeks researching the teams that will be attending. I gather information about the team history 3 years back (one generation) unless that team is a historically prevalent and iconic presence (like 45 or 71). I compile a bunch of information about the teams and put it all in a one-page spreadsheet that I keep on the scoring table. Here’s what I used for the 2019 Tippecanoe District event. I never took it out on the field; I studied it before each match to memorize the key bits I intended to use about the 6 teams about to play.

While teams load in, I bop around the pits, introduce myself and my role, ask the name of the robot, and any other cool or interesting things about the team this year. I then follow up with the team members in queue between matches (often they haven’t named their robot yet, and decide on one the night before they play. It’s always adorable to see them chase me down “WE FIGURED OUT OUR ROBOT’S NAME!!”)

The best advice I ever received, was given to me by Dan Green. He said when you’re introducing teams, look the drive team members in the eye. It creates a human connection, makes them feel seen, and pumps up their confidence.

Pacing is also important. Don’t blow your voice or your resources the first day. I gather a lot of information before the event about each team, but I usually don’t use most of it until the last day. During playoffs, I try to highlight one team on each alliance (two if they’re about to get knocked out). The event builds throughout the days; let your delivery reflect that.

Be hyper aware of what’s happening beyond the field; there are great stories that go on in the pits or in the stands. Keep in constant contact with the referee crew, the field soup, the FTA crew, the EM, and the VC. Chat up drive coaches during down times. Always be learning, picking up morsels you can use.

Have a friend who is on water duty for you. Making sure you’re drinking enough, refilling as necessary.

Last bit of advice: Each time you go out on to the field, before you cross the gate, throw your shoulders back. Stick out your chest. A positive posture promotes a positive demeanor which promotes a positive delivery.

To build on my previous post: A Master of Ceremonies is a student of the competing teams; a Game Announcer is a student of the game.


1st step to being good is to train with the best.

So for GA that’s hands down Kori Bowns, she’s a staple in the Midwest and has been the North Champs Einstein GA the last 2 years I believe.

For MC, there are a bunch of good ones out there and each region will have their favorite. So find someone whose style you like and see if they are willing to train you.

No matter what though you need to take your training and add your own spin and take on the role as well.


Dave Verbrugge and Tom Nader


Here is a similar topic

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Thank you! I’m also looking for public opinon since this is a topic of debate between me and my father. We have wild opinons on who we like and what they do.

Summarized: I like enthusiastic emcees who make connections with the kids. The emcee here, Angry Eric, knows me from my mentor and just simply me being around a lot and he always finds a time to say hi. My dad on the other hand likes emcees who are very straight to the point and keep things rolling. He doesn’t mind the little facts but he doesn’t like an abundance of stuff.

I just wanted to see how coaches, vols, mentors, and students see this and how they perceive their favorites. I appreciate the source, I’ll be reading it tonight :slight_smile:


Be super hyped. (It’s harder than it sounds. 2 days straight yelling into a mic.)

I’ve found that if i watch a video and the emcee keeps saying the same thing over and over, it kinda gets boring (not naming the video). Try changing things up.


As a member of drive team, it’s super helpful when they are consistent with how the start the match. Also when they are loud and speak clearly. It can be very hard to hear sometimes and especially in deep space with sandstorm, We relied on them to when the match was starting. Consistent speakers gave me something to listen for. It’s a little thing that goes a long way for me.

I also really like it when you can tell the speakers are having fun too. When MCs do your prematch ritual with you, or seem excited when something happens in the match I find it more enjoyable.


At CCC during the timeout between final 1 and 2 the MC had a little competition where if someone could shoot a ball into the cargo ship from behind the arena fence he’d buy that person a T-shirt. That was pretty hype and I think people who do stuff to interact with the students are pretty cool.


Do not yell into the mic. Speak carefully, well enunciated, and excited, in the low part of your vocal range - the PA system and A/V crew will take care of the volume for you. The more consistent enunciation and spacing you give them, the easier it is for them to make sure the entire stadium can understand you.

This can feel a bit unnatural - in casual enviroments, communicating “I am excited” is often done by getting louder & higher pitched (and faster cadence). Both of these (and even the cadence) are your enemy on a mic. The best MCs communicate excitement without those tools.

This is one of the ways you communicate positive excitement without getting louder & higher pitched :slight_smile:


yeah, it gives the A/V people a heart attack when the gain goes uuuuuuuppp.


These guys are good. Part of it is experience; they’ve each committed decades to FIRST.

Another really big factor is preparation. They get around at events very thoroughly, getting to know people, absorbing each team’s long-term big picture. Dave spends a lot of time making detailed notes each morning about the teams he will be introducing that day.

All of the above is to say that good Emcees/GAs are much more than performers (although that’s important, too) – they have a deep understanding of what we’re all trying to accomplish through FIRST. They understand the challenges and see the details, and they spin those into the story.

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Yeah, knowing the teams is huge, when Tom says something super personal about a team, it’s really impactful, even if just to that team, and shows that you know what you’re talking about. Having energy is important, another thing is make sure you can pronounce the team names well beforehand, it’s kinda awkward when a GA/MC mispronounces a team’s name.

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+1 for saying something personal about the team. Also, as a team from a hard-to-pronounce school in a hard-to-pronounce town, it’s nice when they ask about the pronunciation beforehand.


Unless your team number was 326.


You don’t have to yell. I much more appreciate an MC who fires the crowd up by what she’s saying, not how loud she’s saying it. Nor those who constantly cajole the crowd to “make some noise”.


As a GA in Ontario, will focus on the GA side of things.

I love @Josh_Goodman (NY) style, also gotta give a shoutout when it comes to iconic game announcers @Andy_Grady (NE) definitely my top 2 all time favorite GAs, and the best all around package when it comes to game announcing.

I think everyone has some amazing aspects that I really enjoy. There are a lot of GA’s that have really strong strengths that I enjoy.

Andrew Lawrence (Cali) - insane hype and excitement for elims
Paul Copioli (ex Waterloo) - Takes dull matches and makes them enjoyable
Paul + Charles Offor (Ont) - Insane energy keeping the crowd into it, varied diction and lots of thesaurus studying, makes quals less boring, lots of ga’s use the same words too much
Tom Nader (FIM) - Iconic phrases “Step up and drive…” “Low hanging fruit…”
Joel Hurd (FIM) - Hilarious jokes, positive vibes, fun announcing.

Favorite MC’s have to be Dave V and Karthik via significant margin.


Some fun reading:

Somewhat related:

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