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UK Coaching Team
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Self-care and development

Effective Interdisciplinary Teamwork: A Case Study

In the seventh resource in a series, Jason Tee shares his experiences and thoughts on working in a team from the perspective of a strength and conditioning coach, and how collaboration and teamwork are essential

Multidisciplinary teams consist of team members that have different skillsets and expertise.

In a sporting context, a multidisciplinary team may consist of the following individuals:

  • Head Coach.
  • Skills Coach (Assistant Coach).
  • Attack Coach (Assistant Coach).
  • Defence Coach (Assistant Coach).
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach.
  • Physiotherapist.
  • Video Analyst.
  • Psychologist.

Each can support an individual as they develop and improve areas of their performance, even when working independently of the other members of the multidisciplinary team.

Importantly, having different experts represented within a team makes a team multidisciplinary, not interdisciplinary.

What is an interdisciplinary approach?

This requires individuals to collaborate with each other to challenge thinking and connect ideas and approaches to enhance the quality of support and service they may provide independently.

This helps to create an environment and culture where the focus is on each individual’s improvement.

Importantly, everyone within the interdisciplinary team acknowledges and takes responsibility to contribute to these outcomes.

A connected team leads to good collaboration, a common purpose, high efficiency, and ultimately better outcomes. When a team isn’t connected, it can lead to siloed working, misunderstandings, and individuals pulling in different directions.

For example, in football a specialist attack coach and a specialist defence coach working in isolation could each design and develop practices and activities to improve their focus of game play. But by collaborating, they can provide the players the opportunity to practice the transition from defense to attack and attack to defense.

An integrated and interdisciplinary approach provides the players with a clear focus and intention within the session, alignment and coherent messages from the staff. This maximises the training time and helps provide a practice that is representative of the game.

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