Baseball is a funny sport. It has no clock, no video review, and no referees. You don’t score by getting the ball into anything. Indeed, when you’re on offense, you don’t even touch the ball. And though no one wears a mouth-guard, everyone’s mouth is full. But there is one distinguishing thing about baseball that I find interesting. The guy who runs the team is not called a coach; he’s called a manager.
Now you might not see much significance in that, but I think it says a lot about baseball and the difference between a coach and a manager. When baseball was first played the role that we now call “manager” was called the “captain,” and he was one of the players. (Incidentally, that’s why the manager wears a uniform.) Being one of the players, the captain didn’t coach the rest of the team in their skills, but he did make strategy calls during the game and decide which players to use. Similarly, baseball managers today are in charge of the roster and the strategy, but there are specialty coaches for many of the skills.
Now contrast that to most other sports, in which the head honcho is called a coach. Unlike a manager, a coach needs to make sure every player is developing. Humans are notoriously bad at self-assessment, so a coach needs to see what each player needs and make a plan for improvement. Even players at the highest level of competition benefit from coaching. This is true in baseball, too, but the manager isn’t primarily responsible for it.
When it comes to a worship team, should the leader be more of a manager or a coach? I think most worship leaders would much rather be a manager. After all, the leader is usually part of the team, and it’s not easy to tell one’s peers how they need to improve. But if the leader isn’t coaching the team, who is? Most teams don’t have dedicated specialty coaches. If the leader is strictly a manager, it’s likely some team members are not developing as musicians, singers, or Christians. Of course, some teams need very little coaching, so a sort of blended approach is probably best. How about you (or your praise team director)? Have you been doing more managing or coaching? Does it vary? What factors influence your approach? I encourage you all to consider what you’ve been doing (or seeing), whether it’s ideal for your team, and share your thoughts and experiences.