Scouting Academy founder Dan Hatman joins Matt Waldman’s RSP Cast for a conversation about the business and craft of scouting, players, and player development.
When I first met Dan Hatman, I was cautious about him and what he was doing. I’ve met terrific people and even made lasting friendships in this industry.
However, the cross-section of football, fantasy football, and NFL Draft media has its share of people who don’t have your best intentions in mind, or they promise a lot and deliver little. I’ve heard about “scout schools” that often had reasons to view them with suspicion.
There are football analysts that I know who have been vocal critics, citing that similar information can be gained for a lot less money. There’s truth to the criticism, but those who make this point are often young adults.
I don’t claim to know life histories of all of these critics. However, those that I know have a lot more free time, fewer commitments to get in the way of learning the game on their own and lack the disposable income to enroll in a curriculum.
Like some of them, I did it and continue learning without the benefit of any formal program. Dan even uses the first article I ever posted on this site as a reading assignment for his students.
Still, there are equally compelling benefits for enrolling in the Scouting Academy. Just because I’m proud of my journey doesn’t mean it’s the wisest one. If I didn’t know the outcome in advance, I wouldn’t go back and tell my younger self to do it.
I began my journey with the game and my publication in my mid-30s. I had a good job and life commitments that made my path as a football student enormously difficult.
I left my career and took a 60 percent pay cut to do this work and there was no nest egg to help me. I juggled jobs so I could maintain a daily practice of learning. I gave up a lot to do this work and that’s a lot different than starting a new venture with nothing to lose and little to give up.
While I wouldn’t change a thing about my path, I learned a lot of hard lessons that I might have avoided if I had the benefit of attending a program like the Scouting Academy.
Dan’s business has made inroads with NFL teams and it’s helping individuals learn more about the game in an organized manner. It has helped students become better analysts or even set them on a path towards the scouting profession. I haven’t enrolled, but I know enough who have — and seen the results through their work — that I see its benefits.
The fact that teams are seeing it — and I know some quality candidates with team visits who lost out to Dan’s students for scouting jobs in the NFL — is another indication that Dan is doing good work. And no, I receive no financial compensation from the Scouting Academy and have zero business connections to them.
This week, Dan joins me for a conversation about scouting:
- Lessons he’s learned about scouting since leaving the NFL.
- The differences with scouting as an independent versus doing it as an NFL employee.
- Misconceptions fans have about scouting.
- Player-personnel departments that intrigue him based on their work or the people on staff.
- The state of wide receiver development.
- Young players in the league he’s following closely.
As always, Dan is insightful and generous with his time.