Three football scouts compare notes pitch side on a sunny day

At IHM Football Academy, we are always talking to scouts and coaches about what exactly it is that they are looking for in a young player. What is it that makes one player stand out above all the rest? What is that “X Factor” that a player needs to get noticed?

There is one recurring theme that all scouts and coaches keep returning to time and time again. And that is attitude. A player’s attitude is evident even before a scout has seen them run or kick a ball. It can be manifested in the way that they hold themselves, stand, interact with other players and react to instructions given by the coaches. As one scout recently said:

“It’s more about attitude than skills. How do they react when they’re losing?”

Chris Honor, Sports Performance Consultant and Mentor and Manager of Bury Girls U18s, specifically cites the positive affects that one player with a real unrelenting hunger to win a game can have on the whole team:

“The more of a positive mind frame one player’s in, it’s only going to rub off on the others.”

a group of young footballers watch the action

IHM’s Director of Football, Mick Brennan, was keen to remind the players at the recent IHM Showcase event of this when he opened the event at Ten Acres Lane:

“Throughout the day the scouts are watching you. Whether you are on the pitch or off the pitch, whether you are warming up, whatever you are doing, the scouts are watching you. They look at how you conduct yourself.”

So, young players take note. You are not only on show whilst in action on the pitch, you are giving tell-tale signals to the trained eyes of the scouts wherever you are and whatever you are doing throughout the day of a trial or showcase event, so stay alert and stay positive and up beat the whole day long.

As Chris Honor said, scouts know that a positive mindset in a player can boost the motivation and mood of a whole team. That is a rare quality and whenever a scout comes across a player genuinely exhibiting such an attitude it will make him watch the player more carefully, it will catch his eye and compel him to observe more carefully how that young player manages himself on the pitch.

Finally, one young player called David recently came to our attention at the April IHM Showcase event. Whilst he was warming up at the side of the pitch, he was chatting to some of the other players around him. He hadn’t met them before, he didn’t know them. But David was asking them how they were, where were they from, showing an interest in the players who he was going to be playing with shortly in the 11 aside game. That day David was invited to pre-season training by a scout representing a local club. He had stood out and been noticed for all the right reasons and it had paid off.

Watch our short video “3 Things that Scouts Are Looking For: Attitude, attitude, attitude”