MDTs, Sports & Emotional Intelligence

During recent decades, private and national sport organisations have been fostering the creation of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in order to give support to their athletes so that they can achieve their objectives with high levels of efficiency.

These MDTs of specialists, also called high performing teams (HPTs), invariably include masseurs and/or physiotherapists who provide their services in coordination mainly with sport coaches and strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches, but occasionally also with sport scientists, nutritionists and sport psychologists.

A clear example of a highly efficient sport MDT is British Cycling (BC). We have seen the remarkable success that they have had in the last ten years by winning dozens of medals in the Beijing and London Olympic and Paralympic games, several world championships and the last Tour de France (2012).

Every member of that team works toward a common goal (ie. the highest possible performance). But what exactly makes and affects these HPTs?

Sporting Success – It’s Down to the Right People Surrounding the Most Talented Athletes

With regard to the elements that influence HPTs, Castka et al. identified two sets of factors which seemed crucial for the successful implementation of HPTs; system factors and human factors (HFs); in turn HFs include: knowledge and skills, needs of the individual and group culture.

Pertaining to these HFs, Brian Cookson, BC president, argues that their success, “it’s down to the right people surrounding the most talented athletes who pay that attention to detail in every aspect of their performance and development”.

Therefore, given the central aspect that HFs have in HPTs, it is appropriate to ask: what human factors and behaviours do team members in HPTs have and show while providing their services to elite athletes?Four EI Branches

The author: Noe Orozco, MBPsS and MSc in Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

Noe is from Loughborough University, has provided sport psychological advice for a number of years to national sport bodies, university and local sport clubs, as well as individual athletes in a wide range of sports whether in the heat of the competition or in the consultation room across Europe and North America.



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