Often times, athletes and coaches are among the most interesting people that a journalist will get to profile.
They're quirky, unique, smart and sometimes oddly-mannered.
To truly write a good sports profile, you need to get inside the head of your subject. Here are some good ways to make your story come to life.
Find out about your subject off the field / court: In order to understand anyone as an athlete, you have to understand them as a person first.
Know about your subjects past, the most influential non-sports events and people in his/her life, where they come from, what they like, what they don't like and what they care about.
After you determine that, you'll understand their game.
Your lead: Start the article with an anecdote. Something that is telling about your subject. A good, quirky story that really shows who the person is, and hammers home your point.
Talk to people that know him off the field/court: Your sources need to be people other than coaches and teammates. You'll need to interview those people as well, but to truly give the reader a perception of someone, you'll need to quote the person's parents, family, friends or someone who has dealt with them in other settings besides sports.
Tie on-the-field and off-the-field together: Draw parallels between the athlete's life away from sports and his/her athletic career. Remember the person that your subject is determines what type of competitor they are. So determine those things.
Stats are not as important in profiles: Obviously, every sports fan is going to want to hear statistics, but a feature goes beyond numbers and averages. Be descriptive about the person's game. Instead of "Harding was one of the best rebounders in the league last season, averaging 11.8 rebounds a game." try "Harding established himself as a force to be reckoned with under the glass in his sophomore season, leading his team in rebounds with 11.8 per game, and physically outlasting bigger forwards and centers in the fourth quarter."
It's better to support your statements with quotes from others or stats in a profile, so it reads less like a news piece.
The more you know about your topic, the better the article will be.
Be sure to ask everything you can think of. You may not use a lot of information from your interviews, but it's better to have too much information than too little.