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Feb 14 / David Cattai

Predictions: You can’t be afraid to be wrong

David Cattai

Growing up I was the sports nerd of my class. I would make endless predictions for people, hoping I’d be right. I loved watching analysts make their own calls on teams, scores and more, and I wanted to be like them.

As I got older, I would go on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace and post my bold predictions without a worry in the world.

I gradually started to do it in my writing for player signings, games and championship teams. Not many people were reading me at this point, so what was there to worry about?

My readership has grown since I joined the Bleacher Report Advanced Program in Sports Media, but my worrying hasn’t.

I’ve learned you have to be confident with your predictions. You can’t be afraid to be wrong.

Many pieces I’ve written—such as Peyton Manning Will Pick Apart the Seattle Seahawks’ Defense—have been wrong.

Does that mean I should stop making predictions? Not one bit. I just have to work harder to make them better with each article.

Your predictions make your writing stand out. Find compelling stats that aren’t in the box score and present them in creative ways to make your point.

Predictions add a personal element to your writing that your readers wouldn’t get from the stat sheet or another writer. I love reading prediction pieces because others may have written something or used an angle I hadn’t thought of, and it broadens my outlook as a writer.

The key is to make your predictions stand out. If you think Player X is going to have a breakout season, show it and do so in a way only you can. Use charts and videos, find quotes and give your readers visual evidence backing up your point.

Writing a bold, strong, evidence- and stats-based prediction piece will give your readers a better experience than if you simply made dull statements those readers have probably already heard—or thought themselves.

Most importantly: Don’t be afraid to be wrong. No one’s always right because no one can see the future.

Confidence is key.

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David Cattai is in the Winter class. Follow him on Twitter @DavidCattai.

One Thing You Need to Know is a series in which we ask members of the Bleacher Report Advanced Program in Sports Media to write about just that: One thing they’ve learned that they would pass along to other aspiring writers.