Searching for talent, wherever it may be, is the backbone of any sports academy. They don’t just scout in the local area, but cast the net across the globe, giving far-flung youngsters an accessible entry point. Some, such as London’s recently opened NFL Academy, are removing physical barriers from the recruitment process, asking 2020/21 season applicants to film themselves. Others, like the National Basketball Association (NBA), have opened up academies in countries such as China and India to ensure diverse talent.
While a global focus may not be vital for your company, university campuses aren’t the only place to search for future leaders. Consider branching out to sixth forms and pre-degree colleges to capture talent at a time where the first important career decisions are being made. Or look to complementary industries to find driven people who are looking for their next best step.
Remember what sports scouts look for, too. Not just football, basketball or tennis ability, but skills in a wide range of areas that could prove to be useful in the future. (Think teamwork and flexibility.) As Pedro Marques, technical director of Benfica’s youth academy, told Hudl: “In scouting, there is an investment in identifying potential more than just performance.”
This way of working is easily transferable to any corporate environment. Rather than a sole focus on experience, consider other capabilities that the ideal employee would possess. For example, are they confidently leading a university society and producing results? Or have they shown dedication to continue learning or to create meaningful change? They may not have specific experience in your industry in these areas, but, given the right level of attention, their talent can easily be moulded and developed.