How to Become a Professional Athletic Scout

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Effective athletic scouts are the life blood of many colleges and professional sports teams. Because of their importance and the often large sums of money involved (scholarships and contracts), athletic departments and professional teams are both conservative and careful with their scouting staffs.

  • Prepare a "scouting" resume. Include all of your playing, coaching and evaluating experience to provide an effective snapshot of your qualifications. You should also have a more typical resume covering all of your work experience. You may need this document if you are considered for a regular employment relationship with a college or professional team.

  • Contact one or more colleges or teams that you're interested in scouting for. Since most scouting positions are never advertised, you need to get to the "inside" to learn of current needs. Regardless of your evaluation skills, teams that are happy with their scouting network rarely make any significant changes until the direct need arises.

  • Contact local area or regional scouts. Using telephone and/or emails, try to establish a communications link with area professional athletic scouts. They are normally much more approachable than an athletic department or professional team. They also are typically aware of current needs of their employer for one or more additional scouts.

  • Consider offering your scouting services on a volunteer basis at first. Many successful professional athletic scouts started as volunteers, associate scouts or "bird dogs" for teams. You may receive zero compensation at the beginning. Should the area scout or team like the player reports you submit, they may be agreeable to paying fees if you recommend players they want to continue watching or at least reimbursing your expenses to attend games and file reports.

  • Work hard and be patient. Becoming a professional athletic scout is the epitome of the classic phrase, "give more than you're paid for now and in the future you'll be paid for more than you give." Colleges and professional teams are very conservative and deliberate when considering employing scouts. They must have high confidence in the player evaluations they receive. There are often large sums of money involved - either through full scholarships or professional contracts. It is imperative that schools and teams minimize the risk of signing the wrong players for their environments.

  • Make your area scouts, schools and teams aware that you wish to be a candidate for the next position that becomes available. Working as an associate scout seldom results in an employer/employee relationship. You will most likely be considered an "independent contractor." Avoid the misconception that you enjoy this status and reinforce that your goal is to be employed by the school or professional team for whom you currently scout players. If your evaluations are clear, concise and valuable, your candidacy may be rewarded with a full-time employment offer as a professional athletic scout.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be clear, direct and objective in your player evaluations. Team evaluators can typically spot prejudicial statements - positive or negative - about players. They want the facts and a projection on how a player might react to moving to the "next level."
  • Try to be unobtrusive when attending games and viewing players. You'll seldom see professional scouts advertising the fact they are in attendance - at least until the game or practice is over. You want to view a typical performance by the player(s) you're evaluating, not a "show" for the scout.
  • Consider associating with a regional or national "scouting association," which typically operates independently, but often has informal agreements with teams or leagues. Working as an independent contractor, you may get the opportunity to build your credentials and submit reports to various teams who use the association, giving you more exposure.
  • Don't become annoyed if your initial scouting reports that generate interest from a school or team are credited to the professional area scout who is mentoring you. If your area scout believes in your reports, he may have to submit them as his own to ensure that the team evaluator will thoroughly read and consider the player seriously. Should you continue your good work, your abilities and value should become obvious to the teams involved.
  • Don't confine your search for employment merely to the school or team for whom you're currently filing reports. As your credential are built with team A, you may become a viable candidate for team B. Once you reach the associate scout (volunteer) level, you'll often learn about other team's needs for scouts in your area.

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