We’ve all seen basketball players who try to do too much on the court.
Players who don’t know their role, who overextend themselves.
The three-and-D wing who wants to create off the dribble. The combo guard who wants to run point. The lob-catching center who wants to post up.
Instead of focusing on maximizing their strengths, they limit their contributions and bring down their teams by trying to do things they’re not that good at.
Sometimes when a player knows their role and excels in it, scouts say they “play within themselves.”
It’s important as scouts that we play within ourselves. If you want to be a go-to scout, it’s something you’ll need to do.
It means having clear boundaries around who you scout and who you don’t, how you scout and how you don’t.
When I first started scouting high school basketball, it took trial and error for me to figure out where to put my focus.
Early on I worked with two different basketball scouting services, both based on the west coast of the United States.
PremierBall, based in Las Vegas and founded by former UNLV player Christian PoPoola, had several dozen college clients, including schools like Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and UCLA.
Because our subscription service was priced on the high end and attracted national powerhouses, we understandably focused on scouting west coast high school players who could play at that level.
The other scouting service, Burlison on Basketball, based out of southern California, chooses to focus on a wider variety of players. They offer a subscription for low-major and non-major college prospects likely to play at a prep school or community college.
Neither approach is “better” than the other in a vacuum. It’s about finding what best fits you.
You need to make a choice so that you can stand out as a scout. It can be a tentative decision that isn’t set in stone forever.
If you don’t decide what your boundaries are, you’ll risk never starting.
And beginning is the most important part. Otherwise this is all theoretical.
Your clarity around this choice gives you power.
It boosts your confidence.
You know you can trust yourself because you’re not trying to do too much.
That matters. You need to be able to trust yourself so that you can hold firm in challenging situations.
Eventually you’re going to find yourself in a position when someone you want to impress asks you for your opinion on a player you don’t know well (or at all).
You want avoid a mistake I’ve seen too many beginner scouts make: they try to look like an expert by pretending to be an authority on every player under the sun.
But that’s a facade, one you can’t keep up for long. You’re lying to yourself and you know it.
It’s much better and more honest to say, “I don’t know.”
And it’s easier to hold firm in that boundary when you’ve made a conscious choice to not become an expert in that area.
When you have boundaries, you can trust yourself.
When you trust yourself, you do better work.
And when all those things are true, others will see you as credible, trustworthy, and someone they know they can count on.