Have you always been interested in sports? Do you want to work in a capacity related to this passion you have, but you know that you don’t want to be a professional athlete? Have you thought about working in an area of sports psychology? As a sports psychologist you will spend the majority of your time working with the physical and mental processes that are related to athletic performance. You will work to help a variety of types of athletes identify ways that they can address issues that they are dealing with and help them to better manage them as a means of maximizing their athletic performance. To be qualified to work as a sports psychologist you will first need to pursue a degree in an area of sports psychology. You can expect to complete a curriculum that will teach you about leadership, research methods, group communication, general psychology, team building, how to motivate athletic performance, human growth, and motor learning. In addition, you may spend time studying different methods of counseling, issues that commonly affect athletes, performance anxiety, ethical research, injury rehabilitation, and the logistics associated with becoming a private counselor. Generally speaking, your curriculum will consist of concentration courses, specialized classes in an area of chosen focus, clinically based courses, independent study, and an internship.
It is important to note that in this profession it is possible for you to pursue a bachelor’s degree, a master’s level degree, or a doctorate level degree. While an internship is likely to be required for you to complete a bachelor’s level degree program, you can expect to complete a practicum in order to earn a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. Take a moment and peruse our site in search of schools that particularly appeal to you in your educational pursuits. Feel free to request a complimentary information packet from any of the schools that are appealing to you. This will surely make your educational decisions much easier. As a degree holder in sports psychology you will be qualified to work as a coach, a personal counselor, or within an area of medicine. In addition, it may be possible for you to become employed with large sports teams, collegiate sports teams, or even within a high school sports setting. Of course, if you aren’t able to find satisfactory employment in the area of sports psychology, your educational background will make it possible for you to work in other areas of psychology. Furthermore, your psychology background is likely to make you a good candidate for a life coach position. The sports psychologists schools below can assist you with all your educational needs.
Sports psychology involves the study of how performance is affected by psychological factors and the effects of exercise and sports participation on physical and psychological factors. A science draws knowledge from biomechanics, psychology, kinesiology and physiology. Applied sports psychology can include work related to coaches, athletes and parents regarding rehabilitation, injury, team building, communication and career transitions. Sports psychology also focuses on how to improve one’s mindset for them to succeed in sports, one has to be healthy physically and psychologically for them to play and excel. There are times when athletes might require professional help to cope with psychological issues that hinder them from playing to their full potential. Here is when a sports psychologist comes in handy, to help athletes reduce stress and extreme anxiety before events to help them perform better. Sports psychologists are trained to work with both professional and amateurs in the sports industry it does not matter as long as an athlete is seeking out professionals either on their own or in teams or when coaches reach out to professional after realising something wrong with the athletes under their coaching. A majority of Olympic athletes use several different types of sports psychological treatments to reduce levels of anxiety before performing on the field. Athletes are the most probable people to benefit from sports psychology. However, individual have high stress and highly competitive careers like businesspersons, politicians and performing artists might also require assistance from sports psychologists. Since its beginning, sports psychology has been growing and advancing strongly with competitive sports being very popular in this century to play and even to watch. Everyone who loves sports wishes nothing but to see their stars win and it is the job of sports psychologists to make this happen. The reason why there is sports psychology s it makes us understand the things that keep athletes motivated and perform best. Most athletes face many challenges and pressures, and therefore a sports psychologist is specially trained, very compassionate and knowledgeable regarding these issues. A promise of a more fulfilling career and being better competitors lies for athletes that make all efforts to extremely utilise the counselling of a sports psychologist.
Sports Psychology Educational Requirements
It is essential to start a sports psychology career with a combination of psychology and physical education, and there are colleges and universities that offer bachelor degree programs in sports psychology that comprise of a combination of physical education courses and psychology courses. A bachelor’s degree in general psychology or physical education, on the other hand, can get one started with the career of a sports psychologist. Most individual choose to pursue more advanced degrees besides just the bachelor’s degrees because of the few permanent positions for sports psychologists that hold only bachelor’s degrees. Within a counselling or a clinical psychology program, sports psychology can be offered as a concertation, students in applied branches of psychology will take courses in cognitive-effective, biological and social bases of behaviour, biomechanical and physiological bases of the sport. Through the coursework, students are provided with the foundation in understanding and treating psychological disturbances, using psychology techniques and how to follow professional standards. Counselling and clinical psychologists take a year of predoctoral internship and one year of a residency program or any other postgraduate administered employment before getting a chance to practise sports psychology professional. The American Psychological Association recognises sports psychology as a [post graduate speciality and students may join the Division 47 of the APA Sports Psychology to access leadership and networking chances, receive a journal and newsletter, sport, performance and exercise psychology. The dissertations will give students opportunities to distinguish themselves in the psychology field.
Sports Psychologist Credentialing Process
Sports psychologist typically fall under the category of clinical, counselling and school psychologist reporting. It will be easier for individuals working directly with athletes and sports psychologist who offer therapy to athletes to be licenced and there is a scope that set in allowing special groups of people to use the title in each state. There are special cases where one will not be allowed to use the psychologist title but be at liberty to carry out duties relating to sports psychology. Every state has licensing requirements for sports psychologists that some settings like the academic settings might be disqualified from. Through the Association of Applied Sports Psychology, professionals in sports psychology that hold master’s and doctorate degrees are qualified to become Certified Consultants. Those in the doctoral levels and have enough experience, made substantial contributions to the field of sports psychology are authorised for fellowship status in the APA. The appropriate doctoral degree is always vital for the purposes of licensing; some states might either require a specific program level accreditation or ease the process for the ones having it. Unfortunately, sometimes licensure is denied for candidates whose program did not meet a residency requirement or other standards. If your doctoral programs or internships are not accredited by the APA, you may be required to submit materials such as program brochures or course catalogues no matter how your programs are essentially equivalent. A supervised practice for psychologists providing mental health services is required in all states, and most states also need graduates to register their supervision embarking on their postgraduate supervised practice and sometimes under special jurisdictions, apprentices and residents are subject to systematic assessments.
A professional’s character, personal attributes and reputation are taken into account, and some states require fingerprint-based criminal background checks from professionals and sometimes, character and professional references of individuals are needed. To guarantee that there has not been any history of discipline issues, some states inquire for licence verification for both mental health licenses and psychology licenses. For one to be licensed there are state examinations that have to be done. First, they cover state-specific rules and laws, include accepted standards of practice and ethics code of the APA. Ora examinations freed differ from state to state; some states examinations will involve questions on matters of law and ethics, some may ask candidates to hand in their samples of work for scrutiny for the purpose of establishing a psychologist’s scope of practice. It is ethical to always practice independently in areas that a psychologist has enough skills and knowledge in.
Sports psychologists not only work with athletes but also coaches, here the research will majorly focus on the types of strategies that coaches can employ to improve their coaching techniques and the overall performance of the athletes. The motivational climate is also employed, refers to the environmental and situational factors that affect goals of individuals. Coaches can create ego oriented and task oriented motivational climates to emphasise team-building skills, giving complete efforts, improvement and mastering tasks at hand beside just winning in sports competitions. An ego-oriented climate emphasises on establishing superior abilities, competition but does not promote effort of individual improvement. Effective coaching practices are taught to coaches t explore the best ways of leadership and teaching athletes, for instance, operational methods of reinforcing behaviour, rewarding, feedback, avoiding self-fulfilling prophecies and communicating to them. A good professional coach-athlete relationship is the basis for an effective performance setting; this is the task of sports psychologist towards coaches.
The relationship between performance and one’s personality is one of the most common areas of study within the profession. Sports psychologists conduct research centring on specific personality characteristics and the relationships they have to the performance of athletes and other psychological variables. Athletes should be mentally tough to help them consistently perform at high levels and exhibit confidence in their performance abilities, have the internal motivation of succeeding, gain composure whenever under stress and focus on their thoughts and feelings with no distractions. In developing sports confidence, one has to have self-efficacy, believing in themselves about perfuming several tasks successfully. Sports psychologists give their clients motivation; give extrinsically motivation for people that play for external reasons like attention and money and intrinsically motivation for those playing for enjoyment and self-satisfaction, internal reasons.
Sports psychologists can do consultations or conduct research with entire teams focusing on tendencies in the team, beliefs and issues at a group level rather than at the individual levels. Among the issues taught by a sports psychologist to team members is team cohesion, sticking together in pursuing team objectives, team cohesion, how team members relate to each other and task cohesion where team members work together to achieve one goal. Leadership is also pertinent for the reason that every team is always comprised of team members and their leader(s) it influences the team regarding ensuring a common goal is achieved first. On leadership, a sports psychologist will study individualities of effective leaders and develop more proficient leadership development strategies. Collective efficacy is the belief that a team can believe either they are competent enough to perform a task or they are not.
Youth Sport Psychology
Organised programs for children aged below 18 years are what sports psychologists here emphasise on. The drawbacks and benefits of youth sports participation and the impacts of parents on their children’s experience in sporting activities. In today’s generation teenagers and children spend most of their free time watching different programs on TV including sports, and it is therefore not a rare incident when you find a child acting in a game of soccer because of the social influence that is associated with watching TV. Life skills are employed to control the emotional, mental, social and behavioural skills developed through participating in sports. Emphasis is given on how life skills that are developed from sports are transferred to other areas like school and on program development and application. Sports psychologists study burnouts in different athletic population and especially in the youth sports, which mostly contribute to withdrawal from sports in youth. Research on parenting explores behaviour contributing to children’s participation or hindering them from participating. Children usually want support from their parents, and sometimes they might need their parents to participate and get involved in their sports activities.
Evolutionary Psychology Perspectives
These are studies on testosterone changes in sports, where a decrease in levels of testosterone decreases dominant and competitive behaviours in athletes. The levels of testosterone increase before any sports competition especially when the event is considered as a challenge as compared to not being so significant. In some sports, there is a marked overrepresentation of left-handedness, and this will likely give one an advantage in close combat sports, and it has been discovered that the colour red has significant advantages in sports competitions and it is commonly linked to the red colour psychology.
Duties of a Sport Psychologist
A sports psychologist can offer counselling services or carry out field research, this part in sports psychology involves observing and studying athletes or the purpose of discovering their motivating factors that keep them going forward and gives them the urge to excel and be successful. They also can conduct research studies to find put advanced methods of finding solutions for obstacles faced by an athlete and finding new ways that can improve their performances. After gaining enough knowledge from these research, it can be applied to athletes during counselling sessions. A sports psychologist identifies the problems of athletes first before determining the type of help a person requires. For instance, an athlete might be going through some personal issues at home with their family and therefore is constantly distracted when they are performing, a counselling session with a sports psychologist will be able to help him or her cope with any issues. Fans might be used to watching their stars win on screen and might think that they have a complete life but in reality, they are just humans, and they go through some personal stuff like low esteem, confidence issues and body image. Among other common difficulties faced by athletes are performance anxiety and exhaustion.
Sports psychologists might also work with athletes that have suffered from injuries and lost the enthusiasm they once had towards sports. He or she might help an athlete get back to his feet both physically and psychologically based on the seriousness of the injuries they suffered. However, there are some athletes that do not have a choice of getting back to their feet and going on with their career because of the adverse effects the injuries might c[have caused. All the same, thy will need the assistance of a sports psychologist to deal with the fact however talented and driven they might have had at some point in their career. To overcome a variety of problems, sports psychologists will be required to utilise some several methods like offering a listening ear to overwhelmed and frustrate athletes and not judge; sometimes it might just take the act of talking about certain negative issues for an athlete to overcome them. A sports psychologist is professionally needed to offer guidance and advice on how such problems can be dealt with and overcame, by either recommending a little relaxation or rest for an exhausted athlete or show an over anxious athlete different types of relaxation exercises to perform before a game. For an easily distracted athlete, he or she can teach them visualisation techniques and how they can tune out any kinds of distractions. A sports psychologist can work either with individuals or in groups by offering group therapies for members to work as a team to achieve ling term successes for their sports team.
Where Sports Psychologists Work
The working places for sports psychologists include facilities catering to and accommodating athletes of all ages, sizes and shapes. For instance colleges, universities and hi schools can hire a sports psychologist to counsel and consult with their student athletes; some might exclusively work with professional sports teams and athletes. Sports psychologists can be employed in physical rehabilitation centres, hospitals and gyms. With the help of the association of applied sports psychology, most psychologists have chosen to open their practices after getting the excellent resource professional developments from the association.
Sports Psychology Salary
The annual average salary for psychologists in May 2015 according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics was $93,050 with sports psychologists that worked in hospital setting earning an average annual wage of $90,650 and the ones practising in private getting a salary of averagely $98, 590 annually. Several factors like the location and demand for sports psychologist affect the salaries for sports psychologists with those working in large metropolitan areas having a better salary because of a proven record of always getting results. In May 2016, the lowest 10% of psychologists received a salary of less than $41, 890 while the highest ten percent earned a total of over $121, 610 with the median annual salary being $75, 230. Sports psychologists in private practice usually set their hours as many work part time as independent consultants. To accommodate their athlete clients, they may work during the weekend or in the evenings but most sports psychologists employed in schools, government work full-time schedules during regular business hours.
Job Outlook & Career Information
The projections of sports psychologists and all psychologists is expected to grow 19% much faster than the average of all professions from 2014 to 2024. However, the employment growth will be different by career. The employment of counselling and school psychologists is projected to grow 20% between 2014 and 2024 way faster than the average of all professions. The great demand for sport psychologist services in mental health centres, hospitals, schools and other agencies will drive the growth of employment. The ageing population in no time will need services from psychologists to cope with physical and mental changes that come with ageing. As people and especially athletes continue turning to psychologists for help so will the demand for counselling psychologists increase.
Continued growth in employment of school psychologists is expected for the reason of the raised awareness of the relationship between the learning process, mental health and the need for mental health services in schools for students with special needs, behavioural issues, learning disabilities and those participating in different sports. Sports teams and academic institutions rely on sports psychologists and other psychologists to counsel and assess students and athletes. Psychologists will also be needed to study the different factors both in and outside schools and sports setting affecting learning and performance, which coaches, players and trainers can use to improve sports activities. Psychologist job competitions will depend on the individual levels of education and speciality, industrial organisations psychologists are expected to face competition for job opportunities because of so many people applying, and those with extensive training in quantitative research methods will be more advantaged than the rest. Generally, psychologists with education specialist degrees or doctoral degrees and post-doctoral work experience will have the best chance of finding jobs in counselling and school psychology positions.
People Skills- psychologists are trained to work with people, they study, observe and help people, and they should, therefore, have the skills necessary for them to work well with their patients and other professionals.
Analytical Skills- sports psychologists should have the logical ability to examine collected information and reach to professional conclusions needed.
Problem-Solving Problems- daily tasks of a psychologist involve solving problems, design research, find treatments and solutions for behavioural and mental issues after evaluating programs.
Communicating Skills-, these skills are essential especially when it comes to studying the attitude and behaviour of patients that need psychological help. Sports psychologists spend most time listening to and talking to their patients.
Trustworthiness- all professionals have the ethical responsibility to keep any information about their clients and patients confidential. Patients have to trot their psychologists for them to open up and share their problems with them.
Observational Skills- a psychologist has to be observant to study the behaviours of their patients, they have to be able to distinguish and determine the meanings of facial expressions, gestures body language as well as body postures when dealing with patients and clients.
Persistence- stamina is essential for a sports psychologist, treating mentally disturbed patients and conducting research studies takes a period to accomplish.