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Challenges of Managing Multidisciplinary Teams

The role of the sporting director has evolved rapidly, presenting an ever increasing number of diverse challenges to be tackled. One of the most complex aspects of the job is managing multidisciplinary teams, which have become the norm in high performance sports.

Effective management and monitoring of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are critical to on and off the field success for any organization, with the need to coordinate, communicate and collaborate between diverse areas of expertise in order to achieve collective goals and objectives.

In light of this, Hudl and ASD have come together to explore how leveraging technology and data can find solutions to the challenges associated with managing these multifaceted teams.

First and foremost is Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy, a bespoke service designed to help sporting and technical directors and football clubs manage and monitor multidisciplinary teams and provide a balanced approach to recruitment.

Following on from Hudl’s recent round-table panel discussion with ASD members, we look at some of the main challenges faced by decision makers and the ways Data as a Service can support sporting directors and their organizations. 

Coordinating departments to work together effectively

One of the biggest challenges for any sporting or technical director is integrating disparate departments within a multidisciplinary team and getting everyone pulling in the same direction.

Speaking at the ASD round table discussion, Standard Liege Director of Football Fergal Harkin highlighted three key elements of successful coordination:


That communication has to happen in various directions; managing up to CEOs and owners, managing sideways to other leaders, and managing down in various departments. Including separate MDTs, such as sporting and business, in this communication process is also hugely beneficial.

What’s more, there needs to be transparency and understanding around people’s roles and responsibilities, opportunity for everyone to consult and contribute to the discussion, and trust and empowerment for experts to make decisions.

Hudl’s expert Data as a Service team can guide you through what’s needed to build an effective data strategy, so that every department within your team is on the same page, and then support you through the journey by developing efficient data-driven, high performance workflows to meet your goals.

Having your data centralized in an integrated database also makes it easier to manage all the information at your disposal, while making it accessible to all teams adds transparency and streamlines the ability to find and share insights.

Although balancing such a degree of people management is time consuming and finding the opportunities to forge real relationships can be limited, Hudl’s data consultancy not only helps clubs and federations maximize the decision-making across their sporting operations, it also saves them time and money, which can be reinvested into building relationships within and across MDTs.

Aligning performance and recruitment to your club’s game model

Intrinsically linked to the coordination of departments is the importance of having a game model and aligning performance and recruitment strategy to it.

A game model is vital as it helps to define a style of play, communicate tactics and optimize a team’s strengths, whilst minimizing its weaknesses. It also provides a clear vision and set of standards for a MDT team to work towards and embody.

Having a clear game model can guide the recruitment strategy too, as it helps scouts to understand the profile of the players that will fit the team’s philosophy.

Data can play a crucial role in helping align these strategies, as well as saving time and resources when scouting. Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy can develop and implement bespoke processes to give you the insights about your performance and streamline recruitment decision-making.

For example, unique indexing dashboards can be tailored to your organization’s game model needs to create customizable offensive and defensive metrics to analyze and filter down to a shortlist of potential targets.

Data can be used to benchmark performances against game style, objectives or other teams and Hudl’s Data as a Service team can deploy a central analysis hub to drive all aspects of your team’s performance – integrating event, video and subjective data to make efficient, well-rounded workflows.

Making the most out of the data available

A common consensus among sporting directors is not so much where to get the data from, but how to make the most out of it. Therefore, it is important that your multidisciplinary teams have a great understanding of why and what they want from the data.

“It’s all about understanding your dataset, interpreting and evaluating it in the right way, and then communicating it in the right way, based on your audience,” explained former DC United and current Bay FC General Manager, Lucy Rushton, at the round table discussion. 

“Access and centralizing of data is just the start. It’s all about building your own internal platforms,” Rushton continued. “The fundamental next step of data analysis is getting the right people who understand it and communicate it in the right way.”   

Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy is flexible and can be adapted to the stage of your data strategy you’re at, ensuring that the right processes and support are provided relevant to your needs, whether that be standard, semi-customizable dashboards or unique central databases.

Features such as interactive dashboards, which allow the user to manipulate the data as they need to, allow distinct areas of multidisciplinary teams to get their specific insights faster and make decision-making more efficient for sporting directors.

Providing a return on investment on player transfers

While a Sporting Director’s role is much more than just recruitment, it still remains an important part of the job and, in a landscape of increasing expenditure on transfers, being mindful of return on investment is a challenge.

Recruitment is also increasingly becoming a multidisciplinary area. Traditionally, players were evaluated from a technical and tactical point of view, but the element the MDT can add is the physical and mental evaluations.

Therefore having centralized and integrated data in a bespoke database unique to your club can ensure a holistic approach when it comes to recruiting, developing and caring for players, who will then be able to increase in, or at least maintain, value.


Return on investment may even be a guiding principle of your club identity, such as looking to sign young talent to turn a profit through player trading, so Hudl’s data consultancy can also assist through bespoke player indexes, reports and extensive video and data at youth level, to ensure you never miss the next breakthrough star.

Succession planning for staff and head coaches

As well as dealing with the day-to-day running of operations, a sporting director also has to always be looking to the future. Avoiding surprises and ensuring that signings can bring long term success are key challenges when managing MDTs.

The implementation of the aforementioned game model and club DNA – aided by video and technology – running right through the organization, from men’s and women’s teams to the youth divisions, can promote longevity and sustainability. Knowing the profile of players or coaches that will fit your club style eases integration and reduces the risk of high staff turnover.

Hudl’s bespoke dashboards can help monitor performance levels, age profile and injury record to keep you ahead of the curve by knowing where you need to strengthen ahead of time. Meanwhile, tools like Wyscout Advanced Search, Shadow Teams, Player Lists and Insight Player Search can identify and monitor talent that could bring value to your organization.

While succession planning for players through the use of data has become more commonplace, doing so for head coaches is an area that is growing rapidly. Rather than bring in a head coach that comes in and wants to implement a completely different style, requiring a large squad upheaval, identifying coaches who align to your game model ensures continuity and stability.


Hudl’s Data as a Service head coach search is a turnkey process that uses evidence to guide decision makers, providing you with recruitment briefs, creating long lists, helping filter down to a short list and even in the decision and negotiation process with the aid of sales material and content; all to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

To find out more about the services that Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy can provide, get in touch and start overcoming tomorrow’s challenges today. 

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