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  • Bill Vasko

Preparing for sport-specific questions in a coaching job interview

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

When you sign up for the Coaching Portfolio Guide, you receive a free copy of The Complete Guide to the Coaching Interview. This interview guide includes the most common interview questions asked in a coaching interview with some sample answers. But how does someone prepare for those tricky sport-specific questions during a job interview?

Quite frankly, it would be impossible to provide sport-specific questions for every sport with sample answers. In our webinars, which are archived on the Coaching Portfolio site, we discuss how your preparation in putting together your materials for the job search process is what most prepares you for answering sport-specific interview questions. If you have carefully thought out your philosophies and put them on paper, you will be confident in answering sport-specific interview questions.

There is no "correct" way to answer sport-specific questions in an interview, especially if there are multiple people sitting in on the interview. My good friend, Chris Fore of Eight Lace Consulting says this about the interview process: You're going to have 4 kinds of people sitting in on the in the interview, 3 of which are bad:

1-Someone who has no clue about your sport

2-Someone who thinks they have a clue about your sport, but in reality, really doesn't have a clue

3-Someone who actually does have a clue about your sport and disagrees with your philosophy

4-Someone who actually does have a clue about your sport and agrees with your philosophy

Don't worry, about the "correct" answer, instead, be prepared and confident in your answers to sport-specific answers by frequently evaluating your coaching ideas and philosophies and putting them into practice.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Study the Game:

Deepen your understanding of the sport by studying recent trends, rule changes, and key strategies. Familiarize yourself with successful teams and coaches within the sport, and be ready to discuss your insights during the interview.

Analyze Past Performances:

Evaluate the recent performances of the team you are interviewing for and its competitors. Be prepared to discuss specific games, outcomes, and notable moments. Identify areas for improvement and propose strategies for addressing them.

Know the Team's Roster:

Familiarize yourself with the current roster, including key players' strengths and weaknesses. Discuss how you plan to leverage the strengths and address the weaknesses to enhance overall team performance.

Understand the Program's History:

Research the program's history, including past achievements, challenges, and notable seasons. Be prepared to discuss how you can contribute to building on successes and overcoming challenges.

Develop Your Coaching Philosophy:

Clearly articulate your coaching philosophy as it pertains to the specific sport. Discuss your approach to player development, team dynamics, and game strategy. Explain how your philosophy aligns with the values and goals of the organization.

Demonstrate Tactical Knowledge:

Showcase your tactical knowledge by discussing specific game plans, offensive and defensive strategies, and in-game decision-making. Use concrete examples from your coaching experience to illustrate your strategic thinking.

Discuss Player Development Strategies:

Outline your strategies for developing players both individually and as a team. Address how you identify and nurture talent, handle player transitions, and foster a positive and growth-oriented team culture.

Handle Hypothetical Scenarios:

Anticipate hypothetical scenarios related to the sport, such as being behind in a critical game or dealing with key player injuries. Be prepared to discuss how you would adapt your coaching approach and strategy in these situations.

Address Sport-Specific Challenges:

Acknowledge any challenges specific to the sport and discuss how you would address them. This could include rule changes, evolving game trends, or unique aspects of the sport that require specialized coaching approaches.

Review Your Achievements:

Highlight specific achievements in your coaching career related to the sport. Discuss successful seasons, player accomplishments, and instances where you implemented effective strategies that led to positive outcomes.

Stay Updated on Coaching Innovations:

Stay informed about coaching innovations and new methodologies within the sport. Discuss any recent coaching workshops, conferences, or literature that has influenced your coaching approach.

Prepare Questions for the Interviewers:

Develop thoughtful questions for the interviewers about the team, their expectations, and the broader vision for the program. This demonstrates your genuine interest and commitment to the role.

By thoroughly preparing for sport-specific questions, you not only showcase your expertise but also convey your passion for the sport and your commitment to the success of the team.

If you need help with your coaching resume, your portfolio, or the interview process, be sure to sign up for one of our job prep packages at The Coaching Portfolio Guide! We provide services that assist with all aspects of the job search process for coaches. Click here to get started today!

Written By: Bill Vasko – CEO, XO Coach

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