Whatever question you are answering: sit up straight, look the coach in the eye, give a firm handshake, and speak politely, clearly, and confidently. These may seem like small things but you would be surprised how much they can set you apart. A polished presentation can make all the difference in the world, especially to a coach who needs to gauge your character but doesn’t have much time to do it.
- What are your strengths as a player?
Don’t be modest, but do be specific. “I can really see my blocks,” “my stamina helps me dominate on the final lap,” or “I have great ball control” are better than “I try really hard.”
- What are your weaknesses as a player?
Be honest, because the coach will know soon enough if you’re lying and that will reflect even worse on you than any holes in your game. But keep it brief and don’t sell yourself short. This can also allow you to transition into another question the coach is likely to ask…
- What improvements have you made recently?
This is a perfect follow-up to talking about your weaknesses. After you’re honest about areas where you are lacking, show the coach how much you’ve been doing to catch up.
- What kind of workout routine do you have?
Talk about any camps, weight training, weight lifting, preparation, or one-on-one coaching/training you’ve done. Again, be honest but not modest.
- What are your goals this season?
Aim high, but be realistic. Make sure you put plenty of focus on your team – you don’t want to come off as a “me-first” athlete.
- What other schools are recruiting you?
If you’re being recruited elsewhere, definitely tell them, but still make clear that their school is where you want to be.
- What would make you a good fit for my school?
Make sure you’ve done your homework – talk about the strength of their academics, especially in any programs that you are interested in. If their team has a particular history or reputation that you like, speak to that too.
- Do you think you are capable of playing at our level?
Absolutely you are – or you wouldn’t be there. Explain how you can be an asset to their team.
- What type of scholarship are you looking for?
Always let the coach know if you have other offers on the table. Bring up financial issues if they will be a determining factor in your decision making. Be open to options and always ask about other types of aid besides athletic scholarships. Make sure you know where you stand on each of the 7 things every athlete should know about financial aid.
- What would you say are the strengths and weaknesses of your current coaches?
Be honest, but this is not an opportunity to complain. The way you talk about your current coaches will tell the college coach a lot about how they can expect you to talk about them.
Here are some other common questions to prepare for:
- Are you working on the mental aspect of your game?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What advice would you give a high school freshman?
- How do you feel about playing time?
- How do you feel about winning and losing?
- What are your interests outside of sports? (Hint: “I don’t have any” is not what they are looking for)
- What can you offer me that someone else cannot?
- Do you want to come here for athletics or academics? (Delicate balance here – they want your full commitment, but you need a meaningful degree and the coach needs an eligible athlete)
- Do you see yourself as a leader? (Hopefully yes – if you honestly don’t see yourself that way, explain how you’re working on it!)
Last but not least:
- What questions do you have for me?
Always, always have questions prepared for the coach. It will show them, just as much as confident answers to their other questions, that you are serious and spent time preparing beforehand. You may even want to bring notes.
If you’re prepared, polite, and confident, you can expect to win this game of “20 questions” with any college coach you talk to.