Every youth tournament baseball team needs rules. Even better, teams need these rules in writing. Better yet, these rules need to be acknowledged and signed by the players, parents and coaches.
I’ve already provided you with an example of a player contract. It’s not meant to scare the kids, but rather provide record in writing of their basic expectations.
The youth baseball parent contract is a bit more sensitive and complicated. The majority of coaching stress is typically traced back to parents, not the kids themselves.
But I also understand and appreciate how difficult it is to be the parent. If you aren’t coaching, all decisions are out of your control. That is by no means easy.
It’s important, though, to have a list of expectations in writing for the parents. The key is not to make it threatening or confrontational — that starts the tone on the wrong foot. We need to be on the same page, and we need to do this together.
By having a written contract, the parents are then clear about expectations up front and they need to commit to them. That way, there should never be surprises regarding when something is or isn’t allowed — they signed off on the rules!
I’ve crafted my own parent contract for the Spiders, but I figured that this may be useful to other coaches as well. So I’ve created a sample contract that you can use for your teams. I’ve included the points of the contract below, but you can also download a generic version of the player, parent and coaching contracts by filling out this form…
The following is a contract that I am requiring all parents to sign upon joining the team. Please understand that this is simply so that there are clear expectations for all — players and coaches will also have their own contracts.
The main objective here is for the entire team — players, parents and coaches — to be on the same page. We’re in this together!
I support my child’s commitment to become a member of the _________________. My family is an extension of our baseball family, and as a result I understand I am expected to do my best to commit to team rules and regulations.
1. I commit to making sure my child arrives to games and practices on time. This means often arriving 15 minutes early so that my child has enough time to get situated prior to joining our practice or pre-game preparations.
2. I will be sure that my child is properly equipped, sun-protected, hydrated and fueled for practices and games. This includes proper uniforms, gloves, bags and meals.
3. I will show respect for the umpires. They will often make the wrong call, but the job of the umpire is not an easy one. Voicing my displeasure will not improve the situation.
4. I will stay away from the dugout during games and allow coaches to coach. While this is not easy, I know that providing potentially conflicting messages during a game can be confusing to my child and my presence at the dugout may contribute negatively to his ability to focus.
5. I will be a role model for my child regarding good sportsmanship, teamwork and self worth. These things start with the adults, and the players will behave accordingly. We will take pride in how we carry ourselves and treat others.
6. I am responsible for the behavior of all family members at games and practices. Others may attend games to cheer on my child, and I need to be sure that they also handle themselves according to these rules.
7. I will provide encouragement and support for my child. My child needs to hear my positive encouragement throughout the game.
8. I will provide encouragement and support for all players on the team. As a team, it’s important to provide the same support for my child’s teammates. We’re in this together!
9. I will respect the opposing team, coaches and fans. They are the same as us in many ways, but they simply wear different uniforms. Appreciation for their performance and respect for their abilities will contribute to a positive game environment.
10. I understand that winning is important to the team, but the primary objective is promoting an environment of growth and learning. They will win. They will lose. They will make mistakes. One of the most important things will be what they learn from success and failure.
11. I will get to know the team values and reinforce them with my child. I will read through those expectations with my child and serve as a reminder when they aren’t being met.
12. I will support the coach’s message. While I will not agree with the coach at all times, I also understand that contradicting the coach’s message is counterproductive.
13. I will help my child embrace his role, no matter what it is. I may not agree with where my child hits or plays in the field, but it is important that I help my child embrace and master that role for the best possible experience.
14. I will help nurture a positive environment on and off the field. I will do my best to keep a positive tone as I realize my reactions impact the team.
15. I will refrain from public complaints about coaching and other players with parents. While I will not always agree with how the team is being coached, I know that these reactions do not help.
16. I will schedule a time with the coach to calmly and constructively discuss lineup and playing time concerns rather than during, immediately before or after a practice or game. Instead of complaining publicly, I will be part of the solution by scheduling a private time to discuss my concerns.
17. I will offer my help as a volunteer to leverage my skills, where possible. The success of this team is run on the contributions of volunteers, and I want to contribute whatever I can to help.
18. I will respect the challenges the coaches face and time commitment they make. I know that coaching isn’t easy. It’s a significant contribution of time and energy, often with the side effect of stress.
19. I will make payments for team fees as scheduled. The team is not a bank, and several large payments are due on a scheduled basis for tournaments, uniforms, practice facilities and more.
20. I will do everything within my control to make this a positive experience for my child, other players, families and coaches. I will do my part to contribute to this baseball family!
I will always do my best to follow these rules. While I am not expected to be perfect and we will all have our weak moments, the main thing is that I will make a consistent effort to help nurture a positive environment for all.
However, I will not consistently neglect or ignore these rules. Depending on the severity and frequency of my infractions, I understand that my actions may impact the standing of my child on this team.
I understand these rules, and I will do my best to always represent this team and my child well.