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Interview Questions for Coaching Selection

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 05/07/21, 1:45PM EDT


Five recommended screening sections

As many coaches are now applying and many Associations are now accepting applications for coaching positions for the 2021-22 season it is important that all parties have a clear understanding of the process. The Hockey Canada Minor Hockey Coach Development Guide highlights some important areas for Associations to consider when evaluating the applications and what applicants can expect throughout the process.

Once initial screening has been completed, the interview process should be the last step before the final selection is made. When interviewing a number of candidates for the same position it is recommended that a bank of questions be determined for use during the interview process. These sample questions have been grouped into five sections.


  • Outline your general philosophy and coaching objectives. 
  • As a coach, it is necessary for you to have a standard for the management of your players and support staff before a game, during a game, at a practice, on a road trip? Please explain.
  • What is your attitude with respect to off-ice activities? i.e. Dry land training, school sports, other social activities.
  • What is your philosophy on formation of lines?
  • What is your feeling about players playing more than one position
  • What are your coaching objectives in order of importance? 
  • What is the percentage of time you place on fundamental skills versus hockey strategy? 
  • How do you define success?
  • For your last team what, if any team or individual objectives did you set? 
    • How did you determine what they would be? 
    • Were the objectives achieved?
    • Would you have changed any if you had to do it all over again?
  • Can you describe for us what you did in this situation… It was halfway through the 2nd period and it was a tight game. You have a line that was not as strong as your other two. You wanted to win. 
    • What have you done?
    • Tell us about a time when the outcome was favourable? 
    • Tell us about a time when the results were not as favourable?
    • What comments did you have to handle and how did you handle them? 
    • Describe for us what you expect your players to sacrifice in order to win?


  • How do you define player development?
  • What is skill analysis? 
  • Describe briefly offensive and defensive team play.
  • Why is sound yearly planning essential to the successful operation of a team?
  • Tell us about a situation when it was important that one of your players learned a new skill. Why was it important? 
    • What was the skill?
    • How did you teach it?
  • In tryouts, what skills are you looking for and how do you plan to evaluate them?
    • When should this be done?
    • Would you prepare any formal evaluations for your players?
    • How do you plan to communicate this?
  • How do you organize your practices with respect to time for warmup, cool down, teaching time, fun activity and other coaches’ responsibilities? 
  • Do you agree that to be a good coach you must also be a good educator?


  • Do you see yourself as a role model for the athlete? Why? 
  • Is it necessary to provide feedback to your athletes on their progress?
  • Explain your approach to individual and team discipline. 
  • What is your approach when dealing with players who have suggestions?
  • How are your expectations communicated to the players? 
  • Tell us about a time when you had to discipline a player and either the player or his teammates felt the discipline was unfair. How did you handle this situation?
  • Tell us about an occasion you are proud of when you were able to instill a sense of motivation into one or more players. 
  • How do you handle: 
    • The aggressive player who gets frequent penalties?
    • The player who does not pass the puck?
    • The superstar versus the weakest player?
    • The player who complains about ice time? 
    • Conflict among teammates?


  • Describe how you would handle a parent who has a different philosophy than you.
  • What is your approach when dealing with parents who have criticisms and/or complaints?
  • What is your approach when you hear that a parent is criticizing you “behind your back” and hasn’t approached you on their own to discuss the concern? 
  • How would you approach the parent who is excessively vocal in the stands knowing that it is affecting either their own child or the team?  
  • How would you handle a complaint from a parent that his/her child does not play enough?


  • How do you feel about coaching your child? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • What is it about coaching that you find most difficult or you need to work on the most?
  • Tell us about a situation that shows the most positive side of you. 
  • Outline one coaching experience you think best characterizes you as a coach. 
  • Why do you want this particular team?
  • Should the coaching position not be available, would you consider accepting another level?
  • What is your opinion about coaches holding a position on a minor hockey executive? 
  • Do you have anyone who would work with you as assistant, manager, trainer?

Not every applicant will be selected to coach. However, if associations provide a clearly defined and communicated selection process, candidates will be placed in situations with the greatest opportunity to succeed and provide players with the best possible experience.

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