Taiwan Scouting Insider
Posted by simon c on 2008 August 2日 Saturday
Jackson at EWC has written a very interesting article about scouting in Taiwan for the past half year.
Scouts are extremely savvy, no bullshit people. It is a very competitive, fierce art, especially here in Taiwan where there are at least a dozen scouts competing for a limited talent pool in an area smaller than West Virginia. Being a scout for just six months has forced me to hone my communication and observation skills, and as a rookie scout whose bosses live in other countries, a lot of it has been trial by fire, learning by doing. Doing it in another culture adds an added level of intrigue, as you have to compete with scouts that speak Chinese and Taiwanese fluently and have a deeper understanding of the culture, language, and certain codes of communication. The flip side of this, however, is being a wai-guo-ren scout carries a certain degree of cache with it. Taiwanese both revere and revile foreigners so it’s a blessing and a curse doing it from the perspective of an outsider to the culture; You’re privileged and have the inside track and also at a disadvantage simultaneously.
There’s a lot of characters you meet in scouting, different ways of going about things. Some scouts are strictly business, humourless, secretive, and poker-faced. (It’s certainly the safe way but not necessarily the most interesting). Some are young, smooth-talking Harvard MBA types, others grizzled ex-jocks. It’s interesting to see the different approaches people take to analyzing the game, there’s as many ways of doing it as there are scouts Some keep detailed notes. Others just sit and watch. Some sit and talk your head off, trying to throw you off, giving the appearance they’re not paying attention while secretly observing what they need to see.
I haven’t signed my first player yet. It can be kind of disappointing when you spend a lot of time following a player, meeting their family, getting to know them, writing reports, and then you don’t end up signing them. But at the same time it’s a good lesson in patience. You want to sign the right people. Some scouts sign people just to ‘get on the board’ as it were, but most teams don’t have the luxury of throwing money at a player they’re not all that interested in just for some kind of symbolic act or for the sake of making a statement. My supervisor tells me you haven’t got a complete picture of any player until you’ve seen him seven times, talked with him, and observed him in non-game situations. It seems excessive, but having a good read on players tendencies and off-field habits is a crucial part of the picture.