How to Become a Sports Scout

Dec 11, 2019

Learn how to become a sports scout. Research the career requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in athletic scouting.

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  • 0:50 Career Requirements
  • 1:17 Steps to Become a Sports Scout

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Should I Become a Sports Scout?

Sports scouts are charged with finding talented athletes and recruiting them to play for sports teams of all levels. In addition to being knowledgeable of the game, sport scouts should have the communication and interpersonal skills to convince athletes to play for a particular team.

Many scouts need to travel to attend various sporting events or tryouts. They also usually need to work evenings and weekends, which is when many games are held. Some scouts are self-employed, and many are kept busy during their particular sport's season, then work less during the rest of the year.

The mean annual salary for coaches and scouts was $40,050 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2015.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree (in some cases)
Degree Field Exercise science, kinesiology, or related field; alternatively, marketing, sports management, or related field
Certification Required for some scouting services; also, scouts interested in coaching may need certification
Experience Experience playing or coaching sports
Key Skills Interpersonal and communication skills; extensive knowledge of at least one sport and general knowledge of others
Salary $40,050 (2015 average salary for coaches and scouts)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings (2012)

To be a sports scout, you'll like need a bachelor's degree in exercise science, kinesiology, marketing, sports management, or another related field. Certification is required for some scouting services. All scouts need experience playing or coaching sports, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and an extensive knowledge of at least one sport and general knowledge of others.

Steps to Become a Sports Scout

Let's find out about the steps that need to be taken to become a sports scout.

Step 1 - Play or Coach Sports

According to the BLS, most scouts have experience playing or coaching at the college or professional level. Experience playing or coaching sports can help scouts assess an athlete's skill level to predict his or her potential. Scouts may also communicate with coaches to determine a player's aptitude, and experience interacting with other athletes and coaches will also help scouts appeal to the needs of the prospects when recruiting them.

Build people skills. In addition to sports knowledge, scouts must be able to recruit players, which requires some salesmanship. Scouts should learn to interact with parents and athletes, as well as use sales tactics that entice players. Scouts can build their interpersonal skills by networking online and in person, as well as volunteering.

Step 2 - Earn a Degree

Some scouts may find that obtaining a college degree will expand their employment opportunities. Collegiate coaches are often required to scout talent and typically need to have a bachelor's degree. Although it is possible to find some degree programs in sports coaching, exercise science and sports science are generally more common focuses. Students will learn the principles of exercise science and nutrition, techniques in sports instruction, and scouting tactics. Alternatively, some scouts may decide a degree in business, marketing, sales, or sports management is more suitable for their career.

Follow association rules. Based on the type of scouting services offered, scouts may need to be certified by a sports organization, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. These organizations have established their own set of rules and regulations for scouts to follow. Certification requires submission of an application and adherence to bylaws. Scouts may also be required to submit tax forms.

Step 3 - Gain Experience

Most scouts enter the field as part-time talent spotters. Scouts can exist at all levels of play, but are generally found at the collegiate and professional level. Scouts can work as independent contractors or for an agency. Sports scouts will interact with coaches, players and their parents, and prepare reports that highlight a player's talent. They can gain increasing experience and eventually scout for colleges or professional teams. Entrepreneurial scouts may open their own scouting firms or become agents representing the business interests of potential prospects. Many scouts also pursue management roles within their respective team or university.

Build Contact List

Players want to know that a scout has connections to the team that they want to play for, and coaches want to know that scouts have connections to the best talent pool. It is important for scouts to build a contact list and nurture relationships. In addition, scouting agencies may look favorably on scouts with an extensive contact list.

To become a sports scout, you'll need experience in the sport, a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, and strong people skills.

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