What Do Scouts Look For?
Every top player from Ronaldo to Messi was once spotted by a football scout, possibly while playing a game in their local park. So what do scouts look for in a player and how are you going to get them to notice you amongst your teammates and opposing players? Read on to find out and gain an advantage on the competition.
Having a good first touch and close control is essential for any professional footballer. Being able to use both feet is also a great asset to have in the modern game; improving your weaker foot will make you a much better player and most definitely impress whoever’s watching.
Many times flashy tricks can be mistaken for good technique, while these moves can catch the eye of a scout and show that you’re more than capable with the ball at your feet there needs to be an end product. If it helps you beat your opponent and get a shot or cross in then great but if it is just to showboat for the sake of it then this can often frustrate teammates and is unlikely to impress any scout.
Remember, technique is not just about ball control alone; you need to be able to apply it in the heat of a game to gain a competitive advantage. These are the rare qualities that differentiate promising young players from stars of the future.
There is no doubt that physical attributes such as speed and size are qualities that can catch the eye of a scout. A quick burst of pace to beat a player can change a game in an instant.
While some are naturally blessed with these qualities, there are others who may need to work on improving these or work harder still on developing other physical areas to compensate. You can’t influence how tall you grow but improving your strength, balance and stamina will most definitely make you a better player.
There are many examples of players in the professional game who have reached the top despite being deemed “too small” or “too slow” to make it when they were younger.
The ability to read the game and show a natural intelligence on the pitch are characteristics which often cannot be taught. Tactical awareness is a vital part of the modern game, a player who is constantly thinking of his position as well as finding space and opportunities to receive the ball will make a big impression on watching scouts. A top player will play with their head up and constantly be looking over their shoulder to get a picture of their surroundings and where they are in relation to opponents.
Decision-making can be the difference between winning and losing a game. Making the correct decision whether it be taking a player on, passing to a teammate or jockeying an opponent rather than diving in are all examples of player intelligence.
You may be the most technically gifted player on your team, be quick and strong with great intelligence but all these are irrelevant if you don’t have a good attitude. With the increasing pressures of the modern game, scouts need to assess the mental makeup of a player now more than ever.
Many scouts don’t follow the ball during a game; they’re more interested in focusing on the player to gain an insight in to their temperament. Some will even analyse a player’s character from as early as the warm-up, watching to see how they apply themselves. They often look for enthusiastic players who can drive the team forward and remain positive in the face of adversity.
Bravery is another key trait, for example; if a player loses the ball a few times but is still brave enough to keep wanting it this will no doubt leave a lasting impression.
How a player reacts with their teammates and towards authority can give a further picture of their temperament. It’s not unusual for scouts to speak to the player’s coaches and family to develop a greater understanding of what makes them tick.
Being talented alone is not enough to impress a scout; you must demonstrate many of the above attributes to make an impact. If you feel you’re lacking in a certain area then try to improve it with some help from your coach.
The most important thing to remember is to always give your best, respect those around you and assume that a scout is always watching.