Sports Psychology Programs

What is Sports Psychology?

Sports psychology is the study of how psychology affects athletics or exercise. Many sports psychologists assist patients with changing their behaviors or attitudes. As a result, an individual’s athletic performance is positively affected.

Sports Psychologist Education

To become a sports psychologist, a student should earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in sports psychology, clinical psychology, or counseling. Licensure is also necessary for the counseling professions. Special sports psychology certifications may also supplement a psychology degree. Many psychologists choose to become Board Certified Sports Psychologists or advanced credentialed Board Certified Sports Psychologist-Diplomates.

There are many educational programs geared toward sports psychology. Some are offered online, while others are offered entirely on campus. When a specific concentration for sports psychology is not available, a clinical psychology degree can be combined with a counseling license and sports psychology internship, leading to a successful career in sports psychology.

Sports Psychologist Salary

Sports psychologists typically earn from $45000 to $80000 per year or even more. Those who work in larger metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or Chicago can expect to earn the most. Also, those who have doctorate degrees or extensive experience in sports psychology may earn more than those who have only a bachelor’s degree and limited experience. Salary may also vary based upon the career selected. For example, a psychology professor may earn less than a sports psychologist working with an NFL team.

What Do Sports Psychologists Do?

Sports psychologists teach others how to achieve the best results in sports performance. They may work with athletes or anyone else who is involved with sports. They use psychological knowledge and specific behavioral techniques to improve their clients’ psychological well-being and performance success.

Sports psychologists also work with sports teams to psychologically prepare them for competition or for dealing with the stresses of performance in a highly competitive sport. They may even give a team’s coach advice on how to foster team unity. It is common for a sports psychologist to work with more than one team since most teams only utilize sports psychologist part time.

Sports psychologists don’t always work with sports teams, however. Other possible roles of a sports psychologist may include teaching university psychology classes, generalized counseling, and scientific research.

Sports Psychologist Resources

American Board of Sport Psychology: The American Board of Sport Psychology offers information about certification programs, curriculum, current information, internships, and tests.

Association for Applied Sport Psychology: This organization was founded in 1986 and offers psychology professionals certification in sport psychology. They also offer a variety of resources for professionals, health and fitness, injury and rehabilitation, athletes, coaches, and parents.

North American Society For The Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA): The NASPSPA is an association of professionals who specialize in the behavior sciences, especially related to sports and activity. They participate in scientific study of sports psychology. They also educate the public through newsletters and announcements. Membership is open to the general public.

Sports Psychology For Athletes, Coaches, And Parents: This is a sports psychology blog authored by Dr. Patrick Cohn. Many of his blogs discuss how the performance expectations of others can affect an athlete psychologically.

The Ultimate Sports Parent Blog: As expected, this blog is geared toward parents of youth who are involved in sports. There are a variety of helpful sports psychology articles and offerings of CD programs geared toward helping a sports kid improve.

Jack Singer, Ph.D: This is a blog by Dr. Singer who is a Certified Clinical & Sport Psychologist. His blog includes several articles about psychology, including sport psychology. More recently, he discussed sports psychology relating to the Olympic games.