Preparing for an athletic scouting career in high school

Athletic scouting contributes to a team’s success as coaches seek to find the best talent at the college and professional level. There are ways students can begin preparing for this career in high school.

Are you a high school athlete? If you’re not a high school athlete, do you consider yourself a sports fan? Either way, do you see yourself in the future in a sports-related career?

Many youth who are athletes may have dreams to earn a scholarship to play a college sport and later on become a professional athlete. However, the NCAA has data illustrating that the chances of students competing in a sport beyond high school and playing a professional sport are tough. Therefore, it is always good to have other career options in mind. If a student is an athlete or not, Michigan State University Extension recommends athletic scouting as a career option to think about.

What is an athletic scout? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an athletic scout looks for new players and evaluates their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur or professional level. Some scouts may have a bachelor’s degree in the business, marketing, sales or sports management. In an article by Chris Snellgrove, Demand Media in the Houston Chronicle, some steps to becoming an athletic scout are to play sports, earn a degree (Kinesiology is another major for students interested in becoming an athletic scout), learn to discern specific skills of specific players, gain coaching experience and find work as an athletic recruiter scout.

To become an athletic scout, one might also serve as a team manager or team statistician (recording statistics). This puts the student in the environment to observe athletes in a sport and gives them some exposure to gauge talent, skills and other abilities of athletes, like their attitudes, behaviors and practice habits. Also, this can lead to a future coaching opportunity and pave the way for athletic scouting.

In the different levels of sports (college and professional) there is a demand and pressure to win. To help programs and teams win, coaches need to locate the best talent to recruit to the college program or draft for the professional sports team. Athletic scouting is important to find the best talent to help the team get or stay on the winning track. As a student in high school, it is never too early to start planning and pursuing this career that contributes to the success of an athletic team.

For tools and more ideas to help you develop your career path towards being an athletic scout, check out the national 4-H curriculum Build Your Future: Choices, Connections, Careers.

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