Technical Scouting In Football
Data is becoming ever more prominent within the player identification and recruitment process with clubs spending a considerable amount of their budget on data science. Traditional scouting will always be the priority, however in an ever-changing world of scouting and the emergence of a global pandemic, the reliance on data and video has played a crucial role over the past 24 months.
Below we briefly explore the difference between traditional and technical scouting and introduce both our Level 1 and 2 Technical Scouting Courses. Both of which have been developed by a an ex-Cambridge lecturer and pioneer within Data, having engaged with the likes of Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid and ex-Newcastle United’s Head of Technical Scouting.
What is Technical Scouting
Technical scouting is an approach to player evaluation which draws on information technology and data science. It is not a replacement for traditional scouting. Instead, it makes new kinds of information available to scouting teams, including objective measures of performance.
Technical scouting also creates new possibilities for scouting teams. For example, while the coverage of a traditional scouting team is limited by its resources, technical scouting methods can be used to screen a virtually unlimited number of players, all over the world.
Although technical scouting uses advanced mathematical techniques in the background, the basic principles are straightforward. Even those with little mathematical knowledge can use technical scouting insights to evaluate players.
Technical scouting in football: a timeline
2002: U.S. baseball team the Oakland A’s win their Major League Baseball division without a single star player in their line-up. The A’s’ coach, Billy Bean, has used technical scouting methods to recruit undervalued players, building a team which rivals the New York Yankees while spending just one third of the Yankees’ budget.
2008: Chelsea become the first English football team to set up a technical scouting department. Like the A’s, Chelsea use technical scouting methods to evaluate players in the transfer market.
2011: Liverpool’s Director of Football Damian Comolli decides to build a team focused on crossing and aerial goal- scoring. Using technical scouting methods, he is able to recruit players with highly specific statistics. For example, Andy Carroll is recruited as the forward with the best aerial receiving stats.
(Meanwhile, the Oakland A’s story is told in the movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt as Billy Bean).
2012: Arsenal buy a data-analytics firm specializing in sports performance, turning the firm into their own in-house technical scouting department.
Now: Technical scouting has spread rapidly in English football. Today, every Premier League club has a technical scouting department, and many Championship clubs use technical scouting methods as well.
The Technical Recruitment Workflow
Technical scouting is an emerging discipline in football, so the technical recruitment workflows in use at elite football clubs are in a state of constant development.
Technical scouting processes also vary from club to club, depending on each club’s:
Furthermore, clubs are always seeking a competitive advantage over their rivals. This drives technical scouts to find new sources of data and new ways of interpreting it, with the goal of identifying recruitment prospects which other clubs have overlooked.
However, all technical recruitment workflows are founded on the same core principles. It is these principles which we’ll examine in this course.
What Is the Difference Between Traditional and Technical Scouting?
The key difference between traditional and technical scouting lies in the kind of information each method relies on.
The Key Differences
Technical Scouting Courses
All PFSA Technical Scouting in Football courses have been designed and developed by leading figures within the industry including Head of Technical Scouting and Data Analysis within the Premier League. Click on the courses and testimonials below for more information.