Early in his coaching career, Tyler Munro had an idea.
As a teacher, he’s had to agree to numerous contracts in his role is as an educator. Most of the issues in his contract have been pretty cut and dry.
He wanted to carry that philosophy over to the diamond.
Since Munro was frequently dealing with parents who approached him about playing time, he decided to make a contract for his players and their parents to consent to.
So, every year after Munro has tryouts and his freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams are determined, he addresses his players.
“When we do have teams that get selected, we have individual meetings with every player,” said Munro, who is the head baseball coach at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado. “We tell them this is what’s up, this is what’s going on, so you’re never in the dark as to where you stand. We try to be as preemptive as possible.”
Munro — who is in his 21st season as a baseball coach and won the 5A state title at Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) in 2015 — gives each player a one-page contract. There are 18 bullet points that lay out Munro’s expectations of his players and he also addresses parent interaction with coach.
The contract states: “Playing time will NEVER be discussed between the coaches and parents. The reason we keep more kids than we actually need to play a game with is that we believe that if the player has the desire to learn and work hard to continue to develop their baseball skills, they will be able to play down the road. By continuing to improve your skills, you may be able to contribute in the future.”
The contract is handed out to every player on the freshman, junior varsity and varsity squads.
“We want to make sure we set the tone,” Munro said.
The players have to bring home the contract, sign it and have their parents sign it as well. A player can’t participate in practice until the contract is signed and returned to the coaches.
“I haven’t had any issues for quite some time,” Munro said. “I know parents don’t like me because of it. But as far as a coaching staff, we don’t really have any confrontations like that. Part of it is being the communication of it.”
Every year, Munro hosts a welcome breakfast for players and parents on the Saturday after teams are announced. He’ll also address the contract in his opening speech at the event.
If players have questions about playing time at any point in the season, Munro and his coaching staff are happy to have one-on-one meetings.
“I’m not one to let that stuff linger,” Munro said. “If I sense it, I’ll address it and make sure there’s a good relationship with the kid. But at the same point, they have to all understand this is what life’s all about.”
Munro came up with the contract idea in the early 2000s while coaching in Florida. He then moved to take the coaching job at Regis Jesuit High School (Aurora, Colorado) and didn’t use the contract the first year. Big mistake.
“One year, I had a parent in the meeting, and that was a disaster,” Munro said.
Now, Munro can’t imagine not using the contract. It’s a staple once every season rolls around.
Munro believes it’s a great idea for coaches to have a contract to help alleviate confrontations with parents.
“I think it’s something every coach needs,” Munro said.
From GameChanger and Greg Bates
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