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How to Prepare for Your Tryout Interview: What Strengths Do You Bring to the Team?

Hello and welcome back to the Tryout Interview Question Series, “Preparing for Round Three.” I’m guessing that the last article “Tell Me About Yourself” brought you some insight on how best to answer this typical opening question and now you are back for more.

Today I want to break down and help you answer the question “What Strengths Do You Feel You Will Bring to the Team”?

Now, this may seem like a simple question, however, don’t be fooled. This question can be very tricky for younger athletes to answer if they have never been asked this before. Usually a rookie, first year team member, fresh out of high school will answer like this...

“My strengths are tumbling and stunting or my strengths are my turns

and my leaps.”

NO, NO NO! That is not what this question is asking you. And if you were thinking that this is the right answer, then you need to keep reading my friend.

Think about it this way… If you have made it to the interview round of tryouts, then you have already shown the judges your required team skills. They are very aware of your physical strengths like turns, leaps, tumbling, and stunting, but now they are wanting to see/know more.

What they really want to know now is what else you bring to the table if they choose you for this team. You may be thinking “What else? What do you mean? I’m a strong athlete, what else do they need to know?”

Just like your current team, a college team too is a collection of many different talents that make them work. Not everyone on the team can do all the things that everyone else can, however each person has at least one additional talent for skill that is unseen.

These are their interpersonal skills and these skills are the ones that display your inner character traits. You are more than just your physical talents. You have unique character traits that make you more special and more valuable to a team. Learn more about this in my article “Are you the Missing Piece a College Coach is Looking For?”

Ok so back to you and the question at hand….

So, when you answer this question here is when YOUR interpersonal skills will come into play. It is best to choose about 2-3 skills to highlight in this question. If you are having trouble figuring out what skills to talk about use the following exercise below to assist.

1. Make a list of all the things that make you special on your team or friend group.

  1. Are you the funny one and can make any serious situation lighthearted?

  2. Does everyone always come to you with their problems and seek your advice on what to do?

  3. Are you the ‘mother hen’ and make sure everyone knows what is going on to keep them organized?

2. Next list out things that YOU do that makes the job of the coach easier?

  1. Are you super organized and always have all your things in your bag?

  2. Do you pick up material quickly and are able to work with others?

3. Now group the words into similar categories. Think about how these lists compare to each other. Do you see a few themes emerging? Pull out overarching themes from your list. Use the Interpersonal Skills Word List (below) that I have created to help you. It is a small group of words that you can use to describe your character traits. Remember this is only a small sample of words that you can use to describe YOU and your interpersonal skills.

The Spirit Academy - Interpersonal Skill
Download • 43KB

My answer to this question would be:

“The strengths that I bring to the table are loyalty, flexibility, and passion.”

Fantastic! Now that we know what 2-3 words you will use to answer the question, now we need to go even deeper and explain HOW that skill will benefit the team you are trying out for. Like let’s be honest… you have to fit into their world and culture. You are asking to be on their team, so you need to align yourself with what THEY will gain from YOU being a member. Or better yet, what will they be missing if you were NOT on the team. (Yea I like that better)

So here is what you do…

Next to each word you have chosen, write a short 1-2 sentences on how that skill benefits the team you are joining. So back to my example, I would answer by saying…

“My first strength I would bring to the team is my loyalty. When I am a part

of a group I give it my full effort and attention. I take it to heart when

outsiders talk negatively about my teammates and organization. I believe

that what happens on the team, stays within the team.”

Now it’s your turn. Write out a short description on how each skill benefits the team/organization you are trying out for. Really take the time to think about why that strength is needed for a strong team dynamic.

Go ahead.. I’ll wait!

Got it? Sweet! I hope now you feel more confident about this question and are better prepared to answer.

Comment below what 2-3 words you have chosen and give me at least one description for them. Let me see what you are working on so I can give you feedback and your progress.


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