Role of scouts in professional sports teams
A sports scout plays a vital role in identifying the next new talent as well as the best upgrades a team can have in the short term too.
They are used by teams across all sports and their eye for talent can help a side overcome the NFL odds and reach a playoff place with a team maybe not so favored in the media.
While they can be on the ground visiting high-school matches and getting a feel for each player from how they look on the field, some scouts focus on video and dissect the movements and actions of a player, while some even base a lot of their decision making on data which can be gathered on a vast range of criteria.
Whichever form, or mix of forms is used, scouting has become a highly dependent area for sprots teams who consistently look to improve their teams for the cheapest signings with the biggest upside.
Finding the next Tom Brady or Luca Dončić is not an easy task. Players are tracked from an early age with specific teams in deferent sports being considered the elite in grass roots level in different cities around the world.
If a young player appears to have potential, they will often be pushed towards the youth teams with the best facilities and highest level of coaching to ensure their development continues.
Scouts will build a network in the area in which they work will build their links with local teams and coaches to understand the differing talent levels across their region. In the United States, scouts may cover specific cities or states with such a huge geographical area making it time consuming to do too many.
National competitions provide scouts with the chance to build a better understanding of the levels of each team as the compete against players from around the country and learn to adapt to new opposition.
A scout needs to build a full understanding of the player as well as the level of the teams they are coming up against to ensure they get a real understanding of their potential. A lot of work goes into understanding the levels of all teams, amateur or professional, in order to see which players are truly worth scouting further.
For a scout, everything is taken into account from making judgements and their own opinions from watching the player, as well as backing it up with data to show consistencies as well as strengths and weaknesses in different areas of their game.
This data can be used against the same data parameters of other scouted players as well as current players on the team to see how each compare.
Identifying the important data sets which can tell the right story is a big challenge and the difficulties with data are based upon the user and how they choose to use it.
A scout will look over game tape as well as watch them live to see how they could adapt to the team the scout works for, are they an upgrade on the player already in their position or do they have the potential to become an upgrade or replacement.
While the players technical skill and physical attributes are important, a scout will go further and try to find out more about the players personality.
It is important for the scout to recommend appropriate players and while they may show quality in certain areas physically, if they are unable to maintain their level in challenging situations, or struggle with a style of play or culture which the team has, whatever the skill level, they may not fit in at the team.
We have seen players go from club to club in different sprots and struggle in certain teams while thriving in others. The situation and the personality fit is important to understand as well, and the scout will provide their thoughts on the player in these areas as well.
Once a scout has carried out enough visits, seen everything they need to see to be confident in their thoughts on a specific player, they will then decide whether to recommend them or not.
Checking on the video to check their movements and technique as well as the quality of their play along with the data to suggest why they are being recommended will all be added to a scouting report.
These reports will highlight what level the scout feels the player is at now, as well as the type of player they can develop into.
They consider the players already on the roster as well as at times compare with other potential signings to show why they feel a specific player is the right one to go for.
While the club may not always agree or the scout may not always be right, they do provide a thorough and well thought out recommendation which the club could not do without them.