What is a Sports Scout?

Also known as: Tennis Scout, Hockey Scout, Golf Scout, Volleyball Scout, Cross Country/Track and Field Scout, Baseball Scout, Football Scout, Basketball Scout, Sports Talent Evaluator.

A sports scout is a member of the professional and university-level sporting community that helps teams and organizations find the best athletes in the world. A typical scout will use his or her time to travel all across the globe in order to find and assess players that fit the needs of the organizations they represent. A scout for the sporting community is an excellent judge of talent and is able to determine if an individual is worthy of either immediate access to a playing field, or of training and growing their talents in practice camps.

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What does a Sports Scout do?

A sports scout will spend most of their time searching for new talent, watching and documenting either young or already established players in their respective fields, and attempting to sign up players for the organization(s) they represent. While computer software is increasingly helpful in keeping track of a player's statistics, it is still the job of human scouts to assess the skills of players and make judgment calls as to whether or not they are a perfect fit for the team they work for.

Sports scouts travel on a constant basis to cities and towns, both big and small, and spend numerous hours reviewing footage, statistics and interviewing coaches and teammates. A scout for the sporting industry must not only be an excellent judge of talent in their respective sporting field, but must also be a skilled salesman that can sign up the best talent before other scouts do.

Additionally, a sports scout must not only be able to look at established players who are already playing on a professional level, but also make judgment calls about young and semi-pro athletes. Sports scouts need to be able to easily determine if younger, less-experienced athletes have the skill sets necessary to eventually become a top-notch player. This means that sports scouts need to be not only good judges of current skill, but judges of potential skill as well.

How to become a Sports Scout

Typically, scouts for sporting teams are either ex-professional athletes or ex-college and professional coaches; though there are many people who had little to no coaching or playing experience and still went on to become great sports scouts.

The reason why most scouts are either ex players or coaches is because of the amount of time those people have spent in and around the sport they scout for. Coaches and professional athletes spend hundreds of hours throughout their careers watching others play and learning to play themselves. This experience is invaluable in the scouting field, though it is not always needed. The best sports scouts, no matter their professional background experience, are great salesmen that can hook a player into coming into an organization, and are people that are vastly familiar with the skills and talents needed to excel in a given sporting arena.

Increasingly, due to digital media and software advancements, scouts are asked to be good statisticians as well as good observers. Sports scouts looking for high school athletes to come to their college or university, for example, may not have access to hundreds of hours of player film - as is common in the professional sporting world. Instead, these scouts must be able to look at past statistics, data and training documents to determine if a player will be a viable addition to their organization.

Finally, scouts need to be aware of what their organization is in need of and what their organization will be in need of in the future. The best scouts do not just sign up players for what their team will need next season, but also for the years ahead. Some of the most notable sporting scouts in history were able to determine what the goals and needs of their teams would be down the line, and were able to provide the necessary talent to keep their organizations dominant for long periods of time.

Sports scouts must then be able to gamble and bet on young and professional players, but they can never risk too much or else the future of their team or college could face painful consequences for years to come. This makes athlete scouting a tough, competitive and stressful environment that is only for those men and women who can cope with the responsibility of choosing the best person for their organization at the best time.

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Further Reading

  • Life As An NFL Road Scout In August

    I am a big believer in getting a jump start in the summer. Watching all the players can give area scouts a huge advantage heading into the season.

  • As Baseball’s Trade Deadline Looms, A Day In The Life Of A Pro Scout

    There are a handful of people who are often overlooked as they settle into seats high into the stands, watching intently as the players go about their business. They are baseball’s pro scouts and they’re already gleaning unspoken information from a player’s daily ritual — well before the lights shine on that night’s game.

  • The NFL Scout: Constantly On The Prowl For The Next Big Talent

    The Cleveland Browns scout in charge of the Southwest travels about 20,000 miles a year in his silver SUV, starting from his home state of Texas and making numerous treks to Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

  • Searching For The Next Lionel Messi: The Life Of A Football Scout

    There are two types of scout: talent and tactical. Talent scouts are looking for the next star. They normally work for a club, but can also be employed by an agency, who will in turn approach a club.

  • How To Become An Athletic Scout: Career Path Guide

    If you want to become an athletic scout, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an athletic scout...

  • Career Profile: Sports Scout

    One thing all sports scouts have in common? Passion. While scouts for sports teams arrive from a wide variety of backgrounds, they all are passionate about their occupation and the sports they follow.

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