Every youth sports team needs rules. Even better, teams need these rules in writing. And if possible, these rules need to be acknowledged and signed by the players (you should have contracts for parents and coaches, too!).
Don’t assume that your rules and expectations are obvious. Don’t assume that just because you talked about your rules that everyone understands them. Put your rules in writing. Discuss them. And require your players to acknowledge that they know and understand them.
Without a contract, it’s far more difficult to enforce your rules. And if things truly get out of hand, you may need a written contract if it gets to the point of needing to remove a player from your team.
That’s a worst-case scenario, and it’s good to plan for that just in case. But the main reason for this is so that you have something you can show a player or parent when they aren’t living up to expectations.
I’ve crafted my own player 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 (you can download it here).
Below is a summary of a contract that you can use, as well as an embedded PDF version.Every youth baseball team needs a player contract with rules in writing. Here's a sample... Click To Tweet
Performance and Training Expectations
There are basic expectations related to performance and expectations. Players will always hustle. You will never quit. You will treat practices seriously, but you will also work hard when no one is watching — at home and away from practices and games. Players understand that mistakes happen and are part of the game, but you will learn from your mistakes.
To be a good teammate, it’s important that players embrace their role and understand how they can best help the team. If you ever have issues with your role, you shouldn’t complain. Instead, set up a time to meet with your coach to discuss it.
Expectations of Respect
A big part of being a productive member of a team is respect.
Respect for coaches and parents. They come from a place of experience and are here to help and guide you.
Respect for opposing players, coaches, and fans. You should be competitive, but don’t allow that competitiveness to lead to vilifying the opposition.
Respect for the umpire. The umpires won’t be perfect. They are important, necessary, and don’t get the appreciation that they deserve. You should respect their calls, even when you don’t agree with them.
Respect for practice and game facilities. We are privileged to have use of these facilities. Clean up after yourself and treat them with care.
Several of our rules are related to basic behavioral expectations. Players should practice good sportsmanship — and not just when we win. They need to handle winning with class and losing with grace.
It’s also important to be a good teammate, making sure to support and encourage other members of their team — not just when they are doing well. The most successful team wins and loses together, not as individuals.
There are behavioral expectations that extend beyond the field. Yes, they should represent the team well on the field, but off the field as well. We also know that school is more important than baseball, and grades and behavior away from the field can impact their availability on it.
Health and Safety Expectations
Do not forget to include rules related to health and safety. Expect players to prioritize their safety and the safety of those around them. This is related to wearing the proper equipment and practicing care with bats and throwing baseballs.
These contracts have evolved over the years, and COVID resulted in an update related to health. Even if and when COVID is no longer a convern, it’s a good idea to include a point about health and illness. There’s simply no reason to come to practice or play in a game when sick and risk exposing teammates, coaches, and family members.
The Sample Contract
View and download a sample player contract below…
Player Contract Template