Scouting and Its Significance in Sports
A football scout has a very crucial role to play when it comes to selecting the best talents and he/she attends football matches on the behalf of clubs to collect intelligence. Primarily, scouting is about facts and not opinions and one of the most important aspects of scouting is to understand that the first impression of a player is not always the last impression. When out for scouting, it is paramount that the scouts make objective remarks to support their assumptions.
To make our athletes understand the intricacies of Scouting better, we recently conducted a webinar on Scouting, as part of our Online Education Program. The session was conducted by Steve Charles, Head of Scouting, Reliance Foundation Young Champs, and focused on the aspects of scouting that were important in finding talent. It also detailed how scouts were essential in monitoring a chosen candidate’s progress over a period of time to evaluate whether the talent has turned into a consistent performer or not.
Steve explained that there is a huge difference between a good scout and an average one and the traits given below define the profession. A good scout:
- Knows the game
- Knows what he/she is looking for
- Observes players in their natural environment
- Observes and listens more
- Knows the player as a person (background check)
He went on to describe that there are numerous reasons why scouting was important. He explained that the following factors were crucial during scouting:
- Ensuring that it is development-focused
- Ensuring that it is fair (no age cheats) and never biased
- Ensuring a long-term commitment between scouts and players
- Ensuring there is no room for personal benefits
Along with it, Steve also delved into the fact that there were other challenges as well as considerations when it comes to scouting like:
- Relative age effect
- Early vs Late growth maturation
- Shouting talent/whispering talent
- Talent vs Potential
- Talent in the future
- Lack of training, games, and competitions
He talked about the development pyramid model of scouting that is being followed in India which is known as the Elite Youth Pathway. He detailed out the model to aid the understanding of the participants about the process.
- There are 14 scouts
- From 14 regions mainly (Maharashtra, Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, etc.)
- The scouting period lasts for around 5 months from November to March
- There is 1 workshop for scouts at Beverly Park, Navi Mumbai
- The head scouts visit the scouts at least once regionally
- The regional scouting camp takes place in the month of April, the process of which is 1 day allotted to each city
- After all the above activities have taken place, the final scouting camp takes place for a week in the month of May
He concluded by saying that due to the globalization of football, scouting has grown in stature and its relevance has increased tenfold. Competition to search and acquire young talents is intense amongst most sporting teams, and although it is difficult to quantify the prevalence of scouting in modern football, circumstantial evidence of its magnitude is readily available.
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