Becoming a high school basketball coach often seems like the natural progression for a lot of former high school players. It’s also a field that many parents think that they might be suited for. Regardless of what’s leading you down the path to wanting to become a high school basketball coach, we want to give you the tools to not only land the job, but to help you have success.
Being an Assistant Coach
Let’s first talk about what it takes to be an assistant high school basketball coach. When head coaches are searching for assistants (typically freshmen, JV, and varsity assistant coaches, they are looking for:
- Loyalty – They don’t want somebody to will talk bad about them behind their back.
- Understanding of the game – Head coaches want to be sure that their assistants have a strong grasp of the game. This includes offensive strategy, defensive strategy, and more.
- Ability to teach – Are you able to articulate your knowledge of the game and teach it to players?
- Reliability – Head coaches can’t be worrying about if you’re going to be places on time
- Strong work ethic – Head coaches can’t ask their players to work their tails off if the staff isn’t willing to, as well.
- Ability to build relationships – It’s very important that assistants build a strong rapport with the players.
- High character – As a coach in the program, you have to live and breathe the program’s culture. That typically equates to being a high character individual.
- Strong communication – It’s important that you’re in constant communication with your head coach. Let him know things you’re seeing with the team.
- Talent evaluators – How well can you evaluate talent? Can you tell the difference between a good ‘open gym’ player & a player that fits into your team’s system?
- Tech-savvy – A lot of ways to evaluate teams is done with technology now. Teams use software like hudl and krossover to break down their film. The more tech-savvy you are with that stuff, the better.
- Willingness to help – Head coaches are looking for guys to step up and help out when it’s needed. Are you able to provide that?
- Organization – A lot of assistant duties rely on organizational skills. It’s imperative you’re able to keep things organized.
- Lifelong learners – Head coaches want guys that are willing to learn. You may have to learn and then teach their system, so they want guys that are willing to do that.
- Commitment – Head coaches want assistants that truly want to be at the school they’re coaching at and have a 100% commitment to the program. Anything less is cheating the team.
That may seem like a lot, but that’s honestly not even scratching the surface. When you’re coaching basketball as an assistant, you have to be willing and able to accept the roles that the head coach gives you and give your full commitment to it. It’s not an easy job being a high school assistant, but it can be extremely rewarding if you give it the proper energy and focus.
Becoming a High School Basketball Head Coach
After being an assistant for a few years, you may think it’s time that you head out and look to finally be the leader of your own program. Most head coaches will have honest discussions with you to let you know if you’re ready to make that leap or not.
If you do decide it’s time to make the jump, here’s what you’ll need.
Put a resume together of all of your experiences that are relevant to coaching. That includes your playing career, any coaching experience that you’ve previously had, along with any teaching experience. Be sure that your resume is properly formatted and is easy to read.
Most jobs are going to want you to submit a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter should convey why you want the job, the experience that qualifies you for the job, and what administration can expect from you should you get it.
Your portfolio is something you can present to administration to give them a complete overview of how the program will be run with you as the leader. Within your portfolio, you should include:
- Program Mission Statement
- Program Goals
- Coaching Philosophy
- Building Your Culture
- Offseason Training/Player Development
- Offensive Philosophy
- Defensive Philosophy
- Practice Planning
- Youth Player Development
- Coach-Parent Rapport
If schools view your resume, cover letter, and portfolio and decide that you may be a good fit for their program, they will likely call you in for an interview. These interviews are typically conducted with 2-5 people (typically the AD and principal are always involved, but sometimes more). You should try to prepare for your interview as best you can.
You should be prepared to answer questions that revolve around:
- Why you’re interested in the position
- Your coaching philosophy
- Qualities of a great coach
- Your communication style
- Your strengths
- Your goals for the program
- Player development
Moreso than anything, be yourself in the interview. Sell the interviewing committee on who you are as a person and basketball coach. Don’t try to portray yourself as somebody that you’re not.
High school basketball coaching jobs are highly coveted positions, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the first opportunity you apply for. Stay resilient and don’t get discouraged.