Finding the right character to fit the team dynamic is key for Bohringer, who has thirty seasons of experience in professional baseball. Assessing character isn’t, however, left to one individual.
“We have a dedicated mental skills department,” explains Bohringer.
“We have four people that are scattered throughout our system that have training in a coaching or playing background but also have some sports psychology, some formal training, to allow them to do that.
“After the scout does the initial interview, we’ll often have an interest list given to our mental skills department and they’ll call and interview the players.
“The scout interview is more free flow - if it’s a high school kid we could be in the room with the kid and his parents, if it’s a university player we could be in with the player by himself or we can be in with the player and his coach.
“But when we kick the name to our mental skills department, they have a very regimented interview process. They’re asking the players the same questions, so they give the same interview for every player, to give them a baseline to compare.”
It's an approach adopted in ice hockey as well as baseball, as Brandon Pridham, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager, explains.
“A big part of the job for our scouts is talking to the trainers of the [player’s current] team and the medical staff, talking to coaches then going and talking to families and teachers - really trying to get a feel for a player’s personality.
“We also have Dr. Meg Popovic who works for us and she’s the background psychologist. During the season she’ll do a Skype interview or sit and talk to a player in person.
“She’ll sit down and do a face-to-face analysis as well. We’re really reliant on our scouts and Dr. Meg to give us this whole character background of the player.”
However, Pridham, who has been with the team since 2014, was quick to stress that the player interview is only one part of identifying playing potential and not the sole measure.
“I know for a fact that there’s countless examples of kids that have been terrible interviewees.
“That’s why we only use the interview as a small piece. For 17-year-old kids, or players of any age, you don’t have to be a good interview to be a good hockey player, so we have to sift through that carefully.
“So, we’re always trying to manage these interviews of these young kids, just to give you more flavour of the individual.”
The FA Talent ID Conference is taking place on the 28th November at St. George’s Park. To learn more about this year’s theme, disruptive thinking in talent identification, follow @StGeorgesPark on Twitter and look for the hashtag #TalentID2019.
Joe Bohringer and Brandon Pridham were speaking to learners on The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) course.
Article image courtesy of Canadian Press/Shutterstock.