When a coach is required to sign a contract they must thoroughly read the document before signing it. The contract will set the rules of the coach’s relationship with the team or organisation that is hiring them.

Usually a coach will have had numerous discussions, perhaps with a range of different people, prior to the contract being prepared. It is quite likely that if the contract does not include something that had been discussed then what was discussed does not apply! Therefore, it is critical that coaches read the contract and satisfy themselves that it sets out everything that they wanted included.

Other things that the coach should consider in regards to the contract:

  • Make sure you understand what the contract says. The coach should seek clarification if there is anything they are unsure about.
  • Is the contract for a fixed term or is it ongoing? If it is for a fixed term, is there any option to renew and what conditions apply if an option does exist?
  • Make sure that the contract is clear to whom the coach reports and upon what basis the contract can be terminated, including:
  • If the contract refers to any other documents (e.g. other club policies) the coach should read those documents.
  • Intellectual property should be addressed and in particular the coach’s rights should be well protected. This can be a complex area of law and the coach should seek specific advice, particularly if they intend to write books, run clinics or produce other resources.
  • Make sure the contract is clear about what obligations the coach has “off court” (e.g. appearances for sponsors).
    • Required notification periods;
    • The basis upon which either the coach or the club can terminate the contract (different reasons may have different notification periods);
    • Whether the contract places any restriction on the coach being able to coach after leaving the club.
  • The contact should set out whatever process the team or organisation will have for reviewing the performance of the coach and any specific performance indicators that the coach is meant to meet.

The coach should also make sure that it is clear what responsibilities they have, although this level of detail may not be in the contract itself and may be in a position description. Does the coach have final say on which players are recruited? Is there a selection panel or a selection process that must be followed?