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UK Coaching Team
Self-care and development

Five Ways to Be a Great Interdisciplinary Team Member

Use these tips, the fourth part in a series developed with Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Tee, to maximise your experience as a great interdisciplinary team member

As a sports scientist, strength and conditioning practitioner and coach Jason Tee knows firsthand the benefits and importance of interdisciplinary teams.

The value of interdisciplinary collaboration is instantly recognisable! Achieving something as remarkable as landing a spacecraft on the moon requires an integrated effort from a range of experts working collaboratively to achieve success and a common goal.

Folk legend states that during a tour of NASA headquarters in 1961, John F. Kennedy encountered a janitor mopping the floor of the tower. JFK asked, ‘Why are you working so late?’ To which the janitor replied ‘Mr President, I'm helping put a man on the moon.’

There is no way the rocket scientists would have achieved the moon landing without the assistance of the aeronautical engineers, physicists, astronomers, ground crew, astronauts and support staff.

In the same way, athlete performance is enhanced by supporting their development and performance with a holistic, 360-degree approach that employs the expertise of many different people from a range of disciplines. In our guide, How to Establish an Interdisciplinary Team, we explore how to create an effective interdisciplinary team.

When interdisciplinary teams (IDT) are in sync the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and participants, coaches, support staff and the whole organisation all benefit.

Sadly, not all interdisciplinary teams (IDT) work well (Reid et al., 2004). Interdisciplinary teams naturally consist of many voices and opinions, and when some of those voices feel unheard or marginalised, conflict and ill-feeling are to be expected. Like all relationships and teams, interdisciplinary collaboration needs to be nurtured, developed and maintained to ensure the process and people are working effectively.

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