So you want to get a job as a coach?
Maybe you want to get your first coaching job. Or maybe you want to move to a bigger, better team.
Whether you coach kids or a professional team, this is how you ace your interview and get the coaching job of your dreams.
What’s your experience as a coach?
If you have experience as a coach, detail what teams you worked for and for how long you coached them.
If you have a good track record, mention the trophies you won or the percentage of wins you had.
If you have no coaching experience, talk about your love for sports.
Mention any other professional experience relevant to the job. Especially if it involved leadership or organizational skills.
Why do you want to coach our team?
The best answer depends on what type of team you're coaching. Choose one or more of the following options:
- If coaching a successful team: It would make me proud to be part of a successful institution, coaching a team with such a bright history.
- If coaching an underperforming team: I understand the team is not doing well and I like a good challenge. I want to help you achieve success.
- If coaching kids: I like your youth program and I love to transform kids into outstanding athletes.
If you're a fan of the team, say it. If it's your hometown, mention your connection to the local community.
What do you know about our team?
Make sure you do your research before going to an interview.
Read about the team's history, how long they have existed, and their ups and downs.
Showing interest will help you get the job.
Why did you become a coach?
- I love sports and coaching is a way to stay connected to my passion.
- I like the competitive aspect of sports, love to win and help others win.
- I like to work with kids and help them grow to their full potential.
What qualities do you have that will help you be successful?
- I'm competitive and don't shy away from a good challenge.
- I've been involved in sports for a long time. I have a lot of experience in coaching.
- I have good leadership skills (detail your experiences, eg: if you have experience managing people say it).
- I have good organizational skills (once again, detail your experiences with this).
It's best if you give specific examples for each quality you mention.
What adversities have you faced as a coach? How do you deal with them?
They want to know how you deal with adversity, stress and setbacks. These are common in coaching, especially because so many things are out of your control.
Mention how you overcame those critical moments and how it made you a better and more experienced coach.
What was your most successful moment as a coach?
If you won a big trophy, that's an obvious answer. A victory against a strong opposing team is also a significant moment to remember.
If you've won nothing, talk about how you helped structure a team from scratch. Or how you helped a player going through a bad moment.
It doesn't have to be about actual victories. Anything that shows you overcoming tough challenges is good enough.
Will you change the team's culture?
Some teams are looking for continuity, others are looking for a break with the past. Research the team before your interview.
An obvious answer would be:
- I will work with staff to see what needs to change and what is working well. I want to bring a competitive attitude and sportsmanship to the team.
What's your leadership and coaching philosophy?
Are you a disciplinarian? Are you authoritarian or permissive? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?
Do you believe in pushing athletes to their limits or do you have a more balanced approach? How much do you focus on fitness? What about tactics?
The middle ground is the safest bet. Once again, researching the team beforehand will help you ace this question.
What is your playing style?
They want to know how you approach the game from a tactical and/or strategic perspective.
This is an important question and an opportunity to show off your knowledge of the game.
However, a suitable answer depends on the sport and the person who is doing the interview.
How do you improve an underperforming team?
Once again, this depends on the sport and the particular needs of the team. A valid answer would be:
- I would analyze the team, see what's working and what needs improvement.
- I would set goals for the team and for each athlete.
- I would then work directly with the staff to improve the team on a player-by-player basis.
- We would work on fitness as well as tactical aspects of the game.
How do you keep updated on new tactical and training methods?
- I network with colleagues, read books on the subject, follow experts on the internet, and consume as much sports as possible.
Be prepared to give some examples.
What will you say to players in the first meeting?
- Introduce myself, break the ice, and then set expectations for the team. I would tell them we need to dream high and work hard to achieve our goals.
- They should believe in themselves and believe in the process: gradual improvement is the key to success.
How do you coach an athlete who is struggling to improve?
- I would communicate with the athlete and work on a plan to improve performance.
- I would try to understand if the problem is psychological, fitness or tactical and plan accordingly.
- I would set and measure goals to track improvement.
How do you discipline players who get in trouble outside sports?
- It depends on the severity of the infraction. Anything from a warning, a few games on the bench, or suspension from the team if the infraction is serious enough.
- However, I believe we should avoid suspension as much as possible. We should focus on rehabilitation and preventing inappropriate behavior through education.
What would you do if an athlete challenges your authority?
- I would make him understand there is a hierarchy that should be respected. The team needs stability and peace, and his behavior threatens everyone's hard work.
How do you keep players motivated and group morale high?
- I believe continuous improvement and focusing on the next event is the key to success. Seasons are long and athletes need to keep themselves grounded to keep motivation high.
- I would also emphasize that everyone will have an opportunity to perform and show their worth.
How would you help an athlete recover from an injury?
- I would work with staff on a reintegration plan. We would increase training workload slowly until athlete recovery is complete.
How do you recruit high-quality athletes?
- By engaging the local community and encouraging good prospects to join the team.
- Using referrals from staff and existing athletes.
- Maintaining a formal/informal network of scouts who can assist in recruiting.
- If available, making use of performance statistics.
Will you keep existing staff? How will you build your staff?
- I will assess existing staff strengths and weaknesses and work with management to either replace or hire staff where it's needed.
- If possible, I would want to use as much of the existing staff as possible.
You don't want to appear like you need too many resources or be insensitive to existing staff.
What is your plan for the first 30 days?
- Assess team needs for staff, player recruitment and development.
- Establish a connection with athletes.
- Create a plan for athlete improvement.
- Establish season goals and a plan to achieve them.
How would you handle an angry parent wanting to see their child get more playing time?
- I would tell them everyone has an opportunity to play. However, that will happen according to the team's needs.
- I would assure them lack of playtime is not a rejection of the child or their abilities, and that they will have more opportunities to play in the future.
How would you handle fan and parent pressure if the team is not doing well?
- I would take a long-term view of results rather than feel pressured by fans' wishes for short-term results.
- While a coach should be able to learn from his mistakes, he shouldn't allow external pressure to influence his work.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Answer this one with care. While everyone has ambitions, you don't want to make it seem like you will leave as soon as a better opportunity comes:
- I want to help the team achieve success and improve my skills and knowledge as a coach.
Why should we hire you?
- My coaching experience, passion for sports, and firm belief in hard work makes me a suitable candidate for this position. I believe I have what it takes to help you achieve success.