Sports psychologists help athletes perform at peak levels. They may function as trainers, consultants, or therapists. Sports psychologists may offer therapy for issues like eating disorders or career transitions. In some cases, the job includes helping athletes work through off-field problems and assisting them with rehabilitation after injury.
Psychologists may offer therapy for issues like eating disorders or career transitions. This can entail helping them with group dynamics, social perception, and leadership issues.
Sports psychologists may be researchers as well as service providers. They may explore the effects that athletic participation has on individuals, the factors that contribute to success on the field, or the psychological consequences of physical injury.
Sports psychologists are hired by athletic teams and schools. A sampling of employers posting on the Association for Applied Sport Psychology website in late 2013 reveals a wide variety of organizations: Western State Colorado University, Bridgewater State University, K-State Athletics, the New York Mets. Perusing postings gives a sense of what top facilities are looking for.
Education and Training for Sports Psychologists
Sports psychology can be offered as a concentration within a counseling or clinical psychology program. A student in an applied branch of psychology will have coursework in biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behavior. The program will also provide a foundation in understanding and treating psychological disturbances, utilizing psychology methodologies, and adhering to professional standards. In addition, a sport psychology program typically includes coursework in the physiological or biomechanical bases of sport.
There are print resources to guide academic decision making. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology recommends that students pick up a copy of the Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology.
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