The position of swim coach is a diverse, challenging and ultimately rewarding job. It takes skill in many different areas, such as preparing athletes for competition, communicating strategies and goals to team members and staff, and managing many different positions that fall under the coach's supervision. The interview process for a school or club hiring a new coach will often consist of a sit-down interview in which the candidate will be asked about their thoughts and abilities regarding team building and implementing a swimming strategy. A candidate will also be asked about his or her coaching philosophy, background and qualifications.
Questions about Team-building
During the interview process, the applicants may be asked about team-building. These questions should focus on a candidate's ability to lead a group of swimmers and a staff, and create a team atmosphere that fosters a positive and hopefully winning environment. A candidate should be prepared to answer the following questions: What is the most important role a swim coach plays on a team? Who is ultimately responsible for the culture of a swim team? How would you deal with team members who are disruptive to the overall goals of the team and program?
A candidate should highlight their leadership abilities when answering these questions and emphasise that a coach is the leader of the team who is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the squad.
Questions about Swimming Strategy and Philosophy
A swim coach isn't hired simply to build a fun and enjoyable team. Most swim coaches are hired because of their potential to lead a team and a program to new heights as it competes. A candidate should be prepared to answer questions about strategy during a meet, as well as their philosophy about preparing athletes for competition. Questions such as: How would you stack your line-up? What ways do you plan on preparing the team for a meet? How important is winning to you as a coach, and how important do you think it should be to our school (or club)? When dealing with an exceptionally talented swimmer, how do you balance his or her personal success with team goals?
A candidate should be direct and confident in his or her answers to these questions. Its important to realise that not everyone will have the same philosophies and strategies; therefore it is best to answer these questions as honestly as possible, and to stay true to your beliefs.
Questions about Qualifications and Background
Swimming is a sport that requires expertise from coaches and trainers. Techniques and training patterns are constantly being learnt and adapted to achieve better performances in competition. For this reason, most candidates for coaching positions will be asked about their personal qualifications and backgrounds in the sport. Questions such as: Can you tell us more about your career as a swimmer? What other positions have you held in swimming? Can you explain what you learnt while working for a particular swim team? What other positions have you had that make you qualified for teaching, leading and coaching a team?
Applicants should prepare for these questions by going over their resume and making mental notes about each experience -- what they liked, what they learnt and what they hope to use from that experience if they are offered the job for which they are applying.