|The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2009)|
In professional sports, scouts are trained talent evaluators who travel extensively for the purposes of watching athletes play their chosen sports and determining whether their set of skills and talents represent what is needed by the scout's organization. Some scouts are interested primarily in the selection of prospects, younger players who may require further development by the acquiring team but who are judged to be worthy of that effort and expense for the potential future payoff that it could bring, while others concentrate on players who are already polished professionals whose rights may be available soon, either through free agency or trading, and who are seen as filling a team's specific need at a certain position. Advance scouts watch the teams that their teams are going to play in order to help determine strategy.
Many scouts are former coaches or retired players, while others have made a career just of being scouts. Skilled scouts who help to determine which players will fit in well with an organization can be the major difference between success and failure for the team with regard to wins and losses, which often relates directly to the organization's financial success or lack thereof as well.
Kinds of scouts
Scouts tend to have to perform one of two tasks, either scouting opposition teams to research the opposition's players and tactics, or scouting individual players to identify their level of skill and to keep track of potential new signings.
- Poor – wastes time looking for games rather than having a planned itinerary
- Picker – emphasizes a player's one weakness to the neglect of all strengths and ignores the potential within
- Performance – bases his evaluation on what a player does in his presence
- Projector – envisions what a player will be able to do in two or three years
Lucadello estimated that five percent of scouts were poor, five percent pickers, 85 percent performance scouts and five percent projectors.
Modern day scouts are becoming more and more reliant on computer programs to aid and assist in the evaluation of talent being scouted. Every professional sports franchise is now using computers to organize their collected information and data. As of 2007, most franchises still depend on human management to decide which players their organization will draft or sign. In every major sport however, there are some new pioneering programmers that very well may change the landscape of how scouting is done at the professional level.
- Bill Nunn — legendary scout for Pittsburgh Steelers
- Dick Haley — architect of 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty
- Rich Behm — Dallas Cowboys scouting assistant who was permanently paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed in the May 2009 collapse of the Cowboys training facility.
Association football (soccer)
- Piet de Visser
- Les Kershaw
- Jack Hixon
- Aldo Pecini
- Marco Zunino
- Liam Brady
- Pierluigi Casiraghi
- Natale Bianchedi
- Jordan, David M. Occasional Glory: The History of the Philadelphia Phillies. McFarland & Company, 2003. ISBN 0-7864-1260-7
- Robbins, Mike, Ninety Feet from Fame: Close Calls With Baseball Immortality. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7867-1335-6
- Spivak, Jeffrey. Crowning the Kansas City Royals: Remembering the 1985 World Series Champs. Sports Publishing LLC, 2005. ISBN 1-58261-826-7
- Winegardner, Mark. Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys with a Major League Scout. Prentice Hall Press, 1990. ISBN 0-13-726373-2
- Joyce, Gare. "Wall of Dreams."