In previous blog articles we have seen what characteristics athletes must have for them to be recruited for a team. In this post we are going to focus on how we should carry out this recruitment process, what are the main variables to take into account and what we should focus on. Recruiting athletes is a process that every basketball, handball, volleyball or any sport team must follow. There are different ways to attract the best athletes to your team, but we are going to focus on the strategies that depend on the club and the scout.
Before we start analyzing each of the strategies, we must keep in mind that we only provide our advice to make your team as complete as possible. However, if there is any other way to recruit the best players in the market, we will be happy to hear and discuss about it.
That said, we must think that when we form a team in a particular sport, we must look for not only the best players but also the best teammates, the best leaders and the best for their position. After that, we must instill that they all share the values of commitment, hard work, effort and dedication. Next, we are going to analyze the strategies that can make an athlete decide to join our team or not and achieve the previously mentioned values.
Be corporatist and create a good team image
We must understand that we as a human being act based on our feelings. Human reason allows that when something gives us the feeling that it is not good or useful, we do not use it. Reasoning allows us to have feelings and thoughts before certain situations. This affects when recruiting an athlete because if the impression he or she has of my club or my coach is bad, he or she will never agree to join to the club. Recently, a French soccer player was reported to have been swindled out of his contract by a team in the Greek league. Of course, the team that swindled him no longer has a good image and, therefore, it is difficult for him to recruit athletes for his team. On the other hand, a completely opposite example could be a team like Real Madrid or the Los Angeles Lakers who have a great reputation all over the world and should find it easier to recruit athletes for their team. In today’s world, it is necessary to have active social networks that allow players to see which team they are leaving for and the environment in which they will develop their professional career, and therefore teams must invest time and money in maintaining that image.
Make an interesting offer for the athlete
It is true that when you want to recruit an athlete for a team you are looking for the benefit of the team itself. That is to say, when signing players, we look for those who are going to make my team a winning team. However, the vision that the professional player has from time to time is: “They are going to use me to improve their team”. It must be said that such an argument often boosts the ego of athletes and makes them feel indispensable. However, a good athlete recruitment is one that offers the player something in return. That is, when we sign a player, we must convince him that he also gets something positive out of coming to play with our team and that he will have a thought like: ” How good it will be for me to go to this team now. It is important that the athlete feels that he/she will be part of a team that needs and supports him/her. The working environment between teammates and technical staff has to promote the well-being of all players. Therefore, the new player must feel that he is sharing the locker room with people who will be part of his life and his game.
For example, one of the great virtues of a scout is to offer something that catches the athlete’s attention. One of these cases is to tell him that he is going to work with one of the best physical trainers in the country or the continent. In the same way, communicating that you are going to have a physiotherapist, whirlpool or cryotherapy service may favor us to recruit that player.
Offer a unique experience in your team
Athletes are not just workers in the world of sports. Like many people, they have families and personal interests. It is common for the family to accompany the athlete when he or she is signed by a team. However, what can make the athlete choose your team or another is the package of services you can offer. For example, a good situation for their children and families, good housing, a good school can contribute to a better recruitment of players and end up being much easier.
In addition, it is important to emphasize the development opportunity he or she will have in your team. A good strategy for this is to talk about the next 3 years. The message to recruit athletes for your team has to be oriented in such a way that he or she feels that he or she will grow in the coming years. And not only in the sporting arena but also on a personal level. Motivational or coaching programs can be a good strategy to engage the athlete, or even offering team experiences once a month helps to capture attention. This will help players cooperate more both on and off the field.
Have a good scout
There is no doubt that, apart from the characteristics previously mentioned, one of the maxims of any team that wants to know how to recruit good players is to have a good scout. We must not forget that if we do not make a good selection of the player we want to incorporate into our team, it will be difficult to have a competitive and efficient team. To do this, each team usually has a scout who manages to find talent where others do not. But to be a good scout you need years of experience and hard work. Today we will explain the main characteristics of a good scout.
Be a conscious observer
Nowadays, due to the world in which we live, we often see realities that we do not understand. Conscious observation, precisely, seeks to make sense of what we observe in order to better understand the world around us. And in this case, conscious observation refers to observing the athlete in a way that responds to the needs I am looking for. That is to say, if for example we are looking for a handball defender to reinforce the left side of my team, we must look for the characteristics that make that defender special. To do this, conscious observation is trained and developed by improving attention, visual acuity and concentration. The scout must be able to identify strengths and weaknesses while analyzing patterns of play and behavior.
Have assessment and communication skills
n order to do a good job, the scout must know how to evaluate. Many times, scouts do not have any objective criteria to evaluate whether or not to sign a player. However, the so-called “rubric” is a tool that allows to evaluate all players in the same way and from Vitruve’s blog we encourage all scouts to create one. By this we do not mean that we have to make the same evaluation of a center as a point guard or a small forward, but we do mean that the form of evaluation must be partly objective. In this way, we will be able to take into account the same characteristics when we want to recruit a player.
In addition to being a good evaluator, it is important for the scout to be a good communicator. Once the athlete has been evaluated, let’s imagine that we decide to recruit that player for our team. The scout must be able to communicate the offer in the best possible way to arouse some interest in the athlete. He or she must have socialization and communication skills and offer the athlete improvements for those limitations he or she may have observed during conscious observation. And likewise, the scout must have personal information about each athlete he/she wishes to recruit. A research work must be done on that athlete to know his personal context and to know what the club can offer him that no other club can.
Passion and knowledge for sport
There is no doubt that a scout is usually a person who has previously been an athlete and has first-hand knowledge of the sport. Having been an athlete helps you better evaluate that discipline and spot talent more accurately. But we believe that it is not only having played sports that makes the scout special, but also the passion for the sport itself. When a person has a passion for the sport, the conscious observation and evaluation ends up being much better.
Let’s remember that all these characteristics favor the recruitment of players for the team. But all of them must be accompanied by an integrated attitude of the scout. In other words, there is no point in having a scout who is a “crack” at recruiting players if his attitude towards that player and his work is not accompanied by an attitude of integrity. Any team wants to have a scout on its staff who is in line with the club’s values and who acts accordingly.
Making good decisions
Finally, a great characteristic of a scout is to know how to make good decisions at specific moments. In other words, scouts must make important decisions when they are visiting a team or when they have to make a proposal to a player. To do this, it is important for the scout to be able to evaluate the risks and benefits of each of these decisions. For example, the scout must be able to analyze and decide if a player who is very pushy and aggressive, but incredibly talented is going to be a good fit for his team in the coming years. This decision is not easy and the scout must be able to interpret the pros and cons of each of the situations presented to him.
Therefore, making good decisions is crucial for a scout, but above all having arguments to defend that decision making. After all, the scout is not a fortune teller and does not know what will happen. What he must be is a great analyst. If you want to recruit great players for your team, make sure that your scout is able to make good decisions based on special circumstances, but with solid arguments.
Finally, in summary, recruiting athletes for our team is not an easy task. There are multiple strategies to make the recruitment of players more suitable. Among all the existing strategies, we have highlighted:
– Be corporatist and create a good team image.
– Make an interesting offer for the athlete.
– Offer a unique experience in your team.
– Be a good scout.
All this will favor the recruitment of players in a more effective way. However, we must not forget that when we want to recruit a player for our team it is also important that the player wants to change teams. There are players who are in a comfort zone with their current team and do not want to change teams for a variety of reasons. However, on other occasions players sign for teams you would never have thought of. For example, it is impressive how certain soccer players decide to go and play in leagues in the Arab Emirates or Asia in order to keep earning money. Maybe that is the motivation of some athletes or maybe the motivation is to win titles.
It is, therefore, very important to identify what motivation the athlete has at that moment and give him the answer to what he is looking for. In this way, we will be the best in recruiting athletes for our team.
Unai Adrián Pérez de Arrilucea Le Floc’h
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