At the conclusion of each season, I ask the outgoing seniors five question. Here was an interview from two seasons ago (both players granted permission for me to post it). My goals in these interviews are to give them long-term advice and to get feedback on how I can improve in the big picture. Their answers are always surprising and leave me feeling incredibly thankful to be a coach.
Questions to Ask
To keep the interview short, I stick to five questions. Players know there are only five questions up front so they can offer more depth in their answers. Here are the five questions:
- If you were the coach, what would you do differently than me?
- If you were the coach, what is something that you would not change?
- What is your greatest regret in your basketball career?
- What is your greatest memory in basketball?
- At your funeral, what one sentence would you like for people to say about your life?
The last question is where I jump in and share my thoughts. The players always offer a meaningful answer to the last question. It is an important question to ask outgoing seniors in because the idea of what college and/or a career path dominates their thinking. I try to remind them that despite the stress that goes into those two questions, the legacy question is more important. It is this legacy question that needs to guide them wherever their life takes them after high school. Our relationship helps me spell out to these players that they do not have to change much to achieve their legacy goal.
Most Helpful Answers from My Perspective
I had two seniors this year. All of their answers to these five questions were helpful to some degree, but the topic of favorite memory serves me most. One senior spoke of a game that we won during her sophomore season. We won a home tournament game for the first time in a generation. She referenced the atmosphere and the excitement of the moment. What she did not reference was the fact that she did not play in the game until there was less than a minute to go.
Her favorite memory did not directly involve her, it involved her team. She understood that her impact on the game was felt through wearing our uniform and putting the work in at practice for the players that played over her. Her perspective is something I can share with teams and players for years to come. Getting buy in from each player to be great in their role is not easy, but this is a concrete example of what that means.
Practice Is a Privilege
The other senior offered a similar perspective in her greatest memory. It came during her junior season – a season in which she swung to the JV team most of the time. The memory had to do with the varsity team though. She felt incredible pride after our last regular season game before the state tournament started. She said that day symbolized making all of the small sacrifices in the off-season and during the season worthwhile. We were still playing when many other teams were not. The feeling of walking into the gym that day meant something. Again, this was a player that never even got into the game that we were preparing for. She took pride in the team ego ahead of the individual ego.