Team Contracts: Help And Ideas

Discussion in 'High School Cheerleading' started by tjbettin, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. tjbettin

    tjbettin I'm new. Don't Hurt Me

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    I need help for my contract for next year. I am a new coach who started the year off as JV but was given the Varsity job midway through competition season. Because it wasn't my season from the beginning, things have been sooooooooo messy this year. Everyday an athlete or their parent does something that I am like na uh this aint flying next year. It's so hard to make one from scratch that covers everything I need to address. If anyone has some team contracts they use that they love and feel like it covers every scenario they will encounter throughout the year please share with me :) This will be sooo helpful.

     
  2. haybale

    haybale I'm new. Don't Hurt Me

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    I feel like mine is pretty good, I tweak things every year though. But I can email it to you if you’d like.
     
  3. OldskoolKYcheercoach

    OldskoolKYcheercoach There are Cheeropedia articles about me!

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    Forget contracts. They are the beginning of creating a “low-trust” team. Do a google search for “low trust team” and you can descriptions of what they look like. Think about any contract you’ve ever signed. Why do you sign a contract when you take out a loan? Because the bank doesn’t trust you to pay it back. Why do you sign a purchase contract when you make an offer on a house? Because enough people have tied up pieces of real estate in bogus transactions on which they had no intention of following through. Contracts are the epitome of saying “I don’t trust you.” You will never get the best out of someone who doesn’t believe you trust them.

    Why Trust is so important in Team Sports | Layups.com

    Don’t have “rules,” set high standards, and have a group of reliable team leaders who live up to those standards. Use those team leaders to hold team members accountable. Enforce penalties for failing to live up to those standards as you see fit, but remember that cultures change when athletes pull their misbehaving teammates aside and, in the right way, say “that’s not how we do things here.”
     
  4. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    I’m a fan of contracts just to cover your butt. Not in a defensive or distrustful way, just a “this is what’s expected of you” way. Timeliness, attitude, work ethic, behavior IN AND OUT of uniform AND on social media are all covered and I make it clear that a girl can be booted if her noncompliance becomes unmanageable.

    Similarly, let it be known what’s expected of the parents because there’s always one that will try to get out of payments or volunteer hours or say they “didn’t know” they had to do XYZ. Make EVERYONE — parents and girls — sign a copy when they accept a position on the team. This leaves very little gray area or room to argue. Don’t be afraid to get too detailed or imaginative. As it is, I’m sure at some point someone will invent a situation that requires discipline but that is not covered in the contract because you didn’t even consider that one of your girls was capable of being so thoughtless/sneaky/dishonest (unfortunately, it happens). If someone does give you push back, whip out that contract and say, “But you said you understood our policies at the beginning of the year.”

    Good luck!
     
  5. OldskoolKYcheercoach

    OldskoolKYcheercoach There are Cheeropedia articles about me!

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    If it’s not in the contract and the contract is the “rules” then you have backed yourself into a corner and have no grounds to enforce a penalty.

    Similarly

    If it is in the contract and you have extenuating circumstances, and you don’t adhere to the letter of the contract, you might as well light a match to the contract. I’m looking at the girl who’s father lost his job, and the mother was just diagnosed with cancer, and they can’t pay their bill this month....contract says she gets kicked off the team?
     
  6. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    Of course there will always be extenuating circumstances that should be examined on a case by case basis. As someone whose parent was recently diagnosed with cancer, I understand the need for kindness and leniency when it comes to everyday life stuff that has been unexpectedly impacted. That being said, some situations deserve some leniency — like your situation above — and some do not. This is why I’m a fan of contracts. You can outline and define whatever you want and give yourself as much wiggle room as you want to protect yourself. Also, if you give your policies some well-defined structure you don’t give off the impression you’re making things up as you go. The girls will sniff that out real quick.

    ETA: that sucks about your girl, though. Maybe you could start a gofundme for her mom’s medical expenses? I’d contribute for sure.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  7. OldskoolKYcheercoach

    OldskoolKYcheercoach There are Cheeropedia articles about me!

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    Then you don’t have a contract. Contracts are not flexible. They have no wiggle room. What you have is a list of suggestions that everyone signs that they understand.

    We have one rule, “don’t let your teammates down.”

    Our leaders hold the team to the standards. If we don’t enforce it, we take it off the list. It’s very simple, and everyone knows what is expected of them.

    I’m also at liberty to create whatever penalty I deem fits that kid. Some kids couldn’t care less if they have to sit out of a game, while others would be mortified.

    Back to my original point, though: by having everyone sign a “contract,” you are basically telling them “I don’t trust you to do what is right, and I am making you sign this because I know the day will come when you live up to my expectation of failure.” If you hand them a list of standards and teach them what those standards mean, and why they are important, every day, they will live up to them.
     
  8. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    That’s great that that’s worked out so well for your team. I’d love to foster that sense of trust. However, I think my environment might be different. I have a large team filled with girls whose parents are not required to pay for anything by law. This is where a lot of headaches start. You have parents willing to bend over backwards for the team and then parents who look at it like a free daycare service and will do anything to game the system. This attitude trickles down to the girls. I have to have something concrete in place to work from about what flies and what doesn’t or I’d be completely helpless.

    And to be clear, you can have wiggle room in a contract if you allow for it in the language (I just got done rewriting the contract for the horse rescue I work for). Phrases like “extenuating circumstances” and “case by case basis” and “coach’s discretion” allow for that. They’re a godsend. It leaves gray area for unforeseen situations to be addressed while squarely placing the power in your hands to have final say.
     
  9. RileyElizabeth99

    RileyElizabeth99 I named my pet Sir Fierce-a-lot Worlds T-Shirt Designer

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    I had a contract in high school cheer. None of the girls followed it, coaches didn't adhere to the rules that they had set. It was basically a joke and taken as such by everyone on the team.
     
  10. AScheer

    AScheer Slow your roll, Sparkle. Worlds T-Shirt Designer

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    I agree with this to an extent. Our contract, which we call "guidelines" so that we don't back ourselves into a hole, is for the parents. 100%. The girls are wonderful. No issues and contract wouldn't be needed. Parents on the other hand...
     
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