Sports scout watching a hockey game

Are you passionate about sports and have an eye for talent? Becoming a sports scout might be the career for you. Whether you’re looking to scout for the next big star in football, basketball, or any other sport, this guide will provide valuable insights and actionable steps to get started.

6 Steps to Becoming a Sports Scout

Let’s break down how to become a sports scout in 6 steps. Each step provides detailed insights and actionable recommendations to prepare you for this exciting profession.

1. Gain Relevant Education

Students in a sports management class

Obtaining the right education is crucial to becoming an effective sports scout. This step provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for evaluating athletes and understanding the sports industry.

Relevant Degree Programs

Pursuing a degree related to sports or business can provide a solid foundation for a career in sports scouting. Here are some relevant fields of study:

Sports Management

Why It’s Important: This field covers the business and operational aspects of sports, teaching you about team management, sports marketing, finance, and event planning.

Next Steps: Enroll in a sports management program that offers internships or cooperative education opportunities with sports organizations. Schools like the University of Michigan and Ohio University offer strong programs.

Kinesiology and Exercise Science

Why It’s Important: Understanding the mechanics of body movement and physical performance is essential for evaluating an athlete’s potential and injury risks.

Next Steps: Focus on courses in biomechanics, physiology, and sports performance. Consider programs at institutions like Penn State University and the University of Texas at Austin.


Why It’s Important: Insight into an athlete’s mental toughness, motivation, and behavior can be critical in assessing their long-term potential.

Next Steps: Take courses in sports psychology to understand how mental factors influence athletic performance. Universities such as UCLA and Stanford offer relevant programs.

Business Administration

Why It’s Important: Management, marketing, and finance knowledge is crucial for negotiating contracts and managing athlete relationships.
Next Steps: Choose a business program that focuses on sports marketing and management. Top schools include the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

These educational steps will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively identify and evaluate top talent, making you an invaluable asset to any sports organization.

2. Develop a Deep Understanding of the Sport

It’s imperative to have a profound and comprehensive understanding of the sport you wish to scout to excel as a sports scout. This knowledge will help you accurately evaluate talent and understand the nuances that make an athlete stand out. Here are specific steps and insights to deepen your understanding of the sport:

Study the Game

Learn the Rules and Regulations

Understanding the rules is fundamental to evaluating whether players adhere to them and use them to their advantage. Reading official rulebooks and attending referee or umpire training sessions can be highly beneficial. For example, the NFL offers an extensive rulebook and video resources for understanding complex rules.

Analyze Game Strategies

Different sports have varying strategies and tactics that can influence game outcomes. Studying coaching manuals, watching strategy breakdowns on platforms like YouTube, and analyzing past games can help you understand successful strategies. Use tools like Synergy Sports for basketball to break down game film and analyze player tendencies.

Understand Different Playing Styles

Each player and team may have unique styles of play, which can affect their performance and suitability for different teams. Watching games from various leagues and levels, including international games, will expose you to a range of playing styles. For instance, the fast-paced style of the NBA contrasts with the more tactical approach seen in European basketball leagues.

Watch Games Regularly

Live and Recorded Games

Observing games in real-time and reviewing recordings allows you to see both the dynamics of live play and the details you might miss initially. Attending local games and watching national and international games on TV or online will help you gain diverse insights. Services like NFL Game Pass or NBA League Pass provide access to a vast library of games.

Focus on Different Aspects

Evaluating individual skills, team dynamics, and situational plays requires a focused approach. Watching games with specific focuses, such as tracking a single player, analyzing defensive setups, or observing offensive plays, can enhance your evaluative skills. For example, track a player’s off-ball movement to understand their positioning and decision-making.

Read Books and Articles

Coaching Manuals and Biographies

Books written by or about successful coaches and players provide insights into effective techniques and mindsets. Reading materials like “Coaching Basketball” by Jerry Krause or “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis can offer different perspectives on coaching and talent evaluation. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, often cited in sports strategy, can provide a different angle on competitive tactics.

Sports Journals and Magazines

Regularly reading sports journalism keeps you updated on current trends and emerging talents. Subscribing to journals like the Journal of Sports Sciences or magazines like Sports Illustrated will help you stay informed. Look for articles on sports analytics in the MIT Sloan Management Review to understand the latest in data-driven decision-making.

Attend Workshops and Seminars

Coaching Clinics

Direct learning from experienced coaches can provide advanced insights into player development and game strategies. Attending clinics hosted by professional organizations like USA Basketball or United Soccer Coaches can be very informative. Participate in events like the Nike Coach of the Year Clinic to learn from top high school and college coaches.

Scouting Workshops

These workshops focus on the skills and techniques specific to scouting. Participating in workshops offered by scouting associations or sports management programs will help refine your scouting skills. The Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) offers courses that provide practical scouting techniques and player assessment methods.

Stay Updated on Trends and Changes

Follow Professional Leagues

Professional leagues often set trends in playing styles, training techniques, and player development. Following leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, or Premier League and paying attention to draft picks, player trades, and emerging talent will keep you informed about the latest trends. Websites like Transfermarkt provide detailed statistics and transfer news for soccer, which can be invaluable for scouts.

Join Online Forums and Discussions

Engaging with other sports enthusiasts and professionals can provide diverse insights and updates. Joining forums on sites like Reddit or sports-specific communities like BigSoccer or Hockey’s Future will help you stay connected with the sports community. LinkedIn groups dedicated to sports professionals can also be a great networking tool.

Subscribe to News Websites and Magazines

Continuous learning from reputable sources keeps your knowledge fresh and relevant. Subscribing to websites like ESPN, Bleacher Report, and The Athletic and setting up Google Alerts for specific players or teams will ensure you stay updated. Additionally, apps like TeamSnap can be used to follow amateur and youth sports, where future stars often emerge.

By studying the game, watching games regularly, reading relevant literature, attending workshops, and staying updated on trends, you can build the expertise needed to succeed as a sports scout.

3. Gain Experience

Two people with shirts that say "volunteer"

Gaining hands-on experience is critical to becoming a proficient sports scout and involves:

  • Actively engaging with the sports community.
  • Honing your scouting skills.
  • Building a strong network within the industry.

Here are the essential steps to gain practical experience:

Start at the Grassroots Level

Engaging with local sports teams and events is a great way to start your scouting career. This approach allows you to practice your evaluation skills and helps you build a foundational understanding of athlete development.

Volunteer with Local Teams

Offer your services to local high schools, amateur leagues, or youth sports organizations. This hands-on experience is invaluable. For instance, many scouts start by volunteering at high school football games, where they can evaluate young talent and understand the basics of player assessment.

Assist Coaches

Working closely with coaches can provide insights into player development and coaching strategies. This collaboration allows you to learn what coaches look for in players and how they develop talent over time.

Seek Internships

Internships with professional sports teams or collegiate programs provide direct exposure to the scouting profession and help you understand the day-to-day responsibilities of a scout.

Intern with Sports Organizations

Major sports teams, such as those in the NBA, NFL, and MLB, offer internship programs in their scouting departments. These internships often involve tasks like video analysis, data entry, and attending scouting events. For example, the NBA Summer League offers internships that allow you to observe top collegiate players and learn from seasoned scouts.

Network to Find Opportunities

Use professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals. Attend sports job fairs and conventions to meet potential employers and learn about internship opportunities. Networking can often reveal opportunities that aren’t advertised publicly.

Attend Scouting Events

Scouting events, combines, and tournaments are essential for seeing a wide range of talent and practicing your evaluation skills.

Participate in Scouting Combines and Camps

Events like the NFL Combine or college pro days are excellent opportunities to evaluate top prospects in a controlled environment. These events offer a comprehensive view of an athlete’s physical and mental capabilities.

Observe Talent Showcases and Tournaments

Attend high-profile high school and college tournaments, such as the McDonald’s All-American Game for basketball or the Under Armour All-America Game for football. These events feature top-tier talent and provide a concentrated environment for evaluation.

Build Relationships in the Industry

Networking is crucial in the sports industry. Establishing strong relationships can lead to mentorship opportunities, job leads, and valuable advice from experienced professionals.

Join Scouting Associations

Organizations like the Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) or the National Scouting Report (NSR) offer resources and networking opportunities. Membership can provide access to exclusive events, workshops, and industry contacts.

Network with Coaches and Scouts

Attend industry events, sports conventions, and coaching clinics to meet and learn from established professionals. Events like the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Convention or the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention are excellent places to network.

By starting at the grassroots level, seeking internships, attending scouting events, building industry relationships, and continually practicing your scouting techniques, you can build a strong foundation for a successful career in sports scouting.

4. Hone Your Analytical Skills

A soccer ball with numbers in the background

Analytical skills are critical for sports scouts, as they enable you to objectively evaluate players. Here are steps and insights to help you develop and enhance these skills:

Player Evaluation

Understanding how to assess players accurately is fundamental. This involves both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Develop Objective Criteria

Create a checklist of key attributes to evaluate players, such as speed, agility, strength, technical skills, and game intelligence. Standardized criteria ensure consistent and objective assessments.

Use Advanced Metrics

Incorporate advanced statistics and performance metrics into your evaluations. For example, in basketball, metrics like Player Efficiency Rating (PER), True Shooting Percentage (TS%), and Box Plus-Minus (BPM) provide deeper insights into a player’s impact.

Conduct Comparative Analysis

Compare players across different levels of competition and historical data to understand their relative strengths and weaknesses. For example, comparing college players’ performance metrics to those of current professionals can provide a benchmark for potential success.

Statistical Analysis

Mastering statistical analysis is essential for interpreting data and making evidence-based decisions.

Learn Statistical Software

For advanced data analysis, familiarize yourself with statistical software like SPSS, R, or Python. These tools can help you perform complex analyses and visualizations.

Understand Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Identify and track KPIs relevant to the sport you are scouting. In soccer, KPIs might include pass completion rate, interceptions, and expected goals (xG). In baseball, focus on metrics like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS), and Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP).

Analyze Trends and Patterns

Look for patterns in player performance data over time to identify trends, which can help predict future performance and potential for improvement. For example, tracking a basketball player’s shooting percentages over multiple seasons can reveal consistency and growth.

Use of Technology

Leveraging technology can enhance your scouting accuracy and efficiency.

Scouting Software

Utilize specialized scouting software like Hudl, Synergy Sports, and Instat Scout. These platforms provide comprehensive video analysis, performance data, and scouting reports.

Video Analysis Tools

Master video analysis tools to break down game footage and analyze player movements, decision-making, and technique. Tools like Dartfish and Coach’s Eye allow you to annotate and review videos in detail.

Data Visualization

Data visualization tools like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI can be used to create clear and insightful visual representations of performance data. Visualizations can help identify key trends and communicate findings effectively.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

Staying updated with the latest developments in sports analytics and continuously improving your skills is crucial.

Take Advanced Courses

Enroll in advanced courses in sports analytics and data science. Online platforms like Coursera, edX, and MIT OpenCourseWare offer specialized courses that can enhance your analytical skills.

Attend Analytics Conferences

Participate in sports analytics conferences such as the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. These events provide insights into the latest research, tools, and methodologies in sports analytics.

Read Industry Publications

Stay informed by reading industry publications and research papers on sports analytics. Journals like the Journal of Sports Analytics and websites like FiveThirtyEight and The Ringer often publish valuable analyses and insights.

Engage with the Analytics Community

Join online communities and forums focused on sports analytics. Engaging with peers and experts in the field can provide new perspectives and collaborative opportunities. Platforms like Reddit’s r/SportsAnalytics and LinkedIn groups are good places to start.

By focusing on player evaluation, mastering statistical analysis, leveraging technology, and committing to continuous learning, you can make informed and objective decisions that enhance your scouting effectiveness.

5. Obtain Certification

Earning certifications can significantly enhance your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the profession. Here are the essential steps and insights to obtaining relevant certifications:

Research Certification Programs

Identify reputable organizations that offer scouting certifications. Look for programs that are recognized in the industry and provide comprehensive training.

Certified Sports Scout (CSS)

Offered by Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), this certification covers scouting techniques, player evaluation, and sports management principles.

Advanced Scouting Techniques (AST)

Also provided by SMWW, this program delves deeper into advanced scouting methodologies, including video analysis and statistical evaluation.

Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA)

PFSA offers a variety of courses, including Level 1 Talent Identification and Advanced Reporting, focusing on football (soccer) scouting.

Enroll in Certification Courses

Choose a certification course that aligns with your career goals and enroll in the program. Ensure you meet any prerequisites required by the course.

Cost and Duration

Compare the costs and duration of different programs. Some courses may offer financial aid or payment plans. For example, SMWW’s Scouting and General Manager course lasts eight weeks and offers a payment plan option.

Flexible Learning

Many programs offer online courses, making balancing learning with other commitments easier.

Industry Recognition

Ensure the program is recognized and respected within the sports industry. Certifications from organizations like the PFSA, SMWW, or the International Scouting School are well-regarded.

Leverage Your Certification

Use your certification to enhance your resume and professional profile. Highlight your certified skills and knowledge when applying for jobs or seeking promotions.


Join professional associations and attend industry conferences to network with other certified professionals and potential employers. Networking events, such as the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, provide opportunities to meet industry leaders.

Professional Profile

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume to reflect your new certification. Clearly articulate the skills and knowledge you gained through the certification process.

Obtaining certification is a vital step in becoming a sports scout. It validates your expertise, enhances your credibility, and provides valuable networking opportunities.

6. Apply for Scouting Positions

Person on computer applying for a sports scout job

After gaining the necessary education, experience, and certifications, the next step is to apply for scouting positions. This phase involves:

  • Actively searching for job openings.
  • Preparing a compelling application.
  • Leveraging resources and networks to secure a position.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to apply for scouting positions:

Prepare Your Application Materials

Having a strong application package is crucial to making a positive impression on potential employers.


Create a professional resume that highlights your education, certifications, relevant experience, and key skills. Be sure to include any internships, volunteer work, or practical assignments that demonstrate your scouting abilities.

TIP: Tailor your resume for each job application by emphasizing the most relevant experience. Use action verbs and quantifiable achievements (e.g., “Evaluated over 50 high school athletes leading to 10 successful college recruitments”).

Cover Letter

Write a personalized cover letter for each position you apply for. Your cover letter should explain why you are interested in the role, how your background aligns with the job requirements, and what you can bring to the organization.

TIP: Mention specific experiences that highlight your scouting skills and passion for the sport. Provide examples of successful player evaluations or relevant projects.

Scouting Portfolio

Compile a portfolio of your scouting reports, player evaluations, and any other relevant work. This portfolio should showcase your analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to identify talent.

TIP: Include a variety of reports, such as detailed player profiles, game analysis, and statistical evaluations. Ensure that your reports are well-organized and professionally presented.

Leverage Job Search Resources

Utilize online platforms and professional networks to find job openings and apply for positions.

  • This website is a valuable resource for finding sports-related job openings, including scouting positions. Membership provides access to a wide range of job listings, industry news, and career advice.
  • Professional Associations: Join associations such as the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) or the Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA). These organizations often have job boards and networking events that can help you find job openings.
  • Sports Team Websites: Regularly check the career pages of sports teams and organizations. Many teams post job openings for scouting positions on their official websites.

Apply for Entry-Level Positions

Start by applying for entry-level scouting positions to gain experience and build your reputation in the industry.

  • Job Titles to Look For: Look for job titles such as Assistant Scout, Junior Scout, or Talent Identification Intern. These positions provide opportunities to learn from experienced scouts and gain hands-on experience. Be open to relocation and flexible work hours, as scouting positions often require travel and irregular schedules.
  • Persistence and Follow-Up: Apply to multiple positions and follow up with employers after submitting your application. Persistence and professionalism can set you apart from other candidates. Send a polite follow-up email one to two weeks after applying, expressing your continued interest in the position and inquiring about the status of your application.

Applying for scouting positions requires a strategic approach that includes preparing strong application materials, leveraging job search resources, building a professional network, and thoroughly preparing for interviews.

How Much Do Sports Scouts Make?

Entry-level sports scouts generally earn between $25,000 and $40,000 per year. This range can vary depending on the sport and the specific employer. Entry-level scouts might receive additional compensation in the form of travel allowances, per diem for meals, and occasionally bonuses for successfully identifying top talent.

With experience, sports scouts can see their salaries increase significantly, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. Experience, proven track record of successful player evaluations, and the ability to identify top-tier talent can influence salary increases.

Senior scouts, head scouts, and directors of scouting can earn between $100,000 and $150,000 or more per year. At this level, scouts often receive significant bonuses based on team performance, successful draft picks, and player signings.

Find a Sports Scout Job Today

By following the 6 steps on how to become a sports scout, you can position yourself for success in this exciting field. As you embark on this exciting journey, leveraging the right resources is crucial. offers a comprehensive platform to help you find the perfect opportunities. With free memberships, you can access a wide range of job listings and create a job seeker profile. For even more benefits, consider our paid memberships, which provide detailed job descriptions and a sports job database search to connect with top employers in the sports industry.