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Psychology Career Profile – Sports Psychologist

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The American Psychological Association (APA) states that sports psychology includes a range of topics such as assessing talent, psychological considerations in sport rehabilitation and injury, techniques of counseling with athletes, motivation to achieve and persist, the self perceptions associated with achieving, exercising well-being and adherence, youth sport, self regulation techniques, performance enhancement and expertise in sport.

Sports psychologist typically perform a wide range of tasks relating to sports education and performance. Some opt to work directly with athletes in order to enhance performance and increase motivation while others may teach at the university level. Other careers in sports psychology include athletic consulting, scientific research, and client counseling.

As a sports psychologist, you will be responsible for the mental aspect of the training that athletes and coaches undergo in their respective sports or activities. This forms the basis of a sports psychology career and requires you to maintain the motivational levels of a unit or team within the sport. Both these functions are performed by conducting counseling sessions that include a mix of inspirational strategies and stress management techniques.

These counseling sessions stimulate athletes both mentally and emotionally, leading to enhanced performance on the field. This includes teaching concentration methods, self-motivation techniques and stress management tactics.

Qualifications and Education

To become a sports psychologist, having a bachelor's degree in psychology is recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA), but what really shapes up sports psychology careers is the advanced training that you would have to undergo. This training includes earning a master's in sports psychology or any other similar program.

Employment Opportunities

Psychology careers in sports focus on factors related to athletics including performance, motivation, and sports-related injuries. To practice sports psychology, employers require a master's or Doctorate degree in sport and exercise psychology as well as a state license to practice clinical psychology and counseling.  Once you obtain a degree, you can work as a professor, teacher, special lecturer or coach. Once you establish yourself as an expert, you may even be sought by professional sports teams and athletes. Working with professional and major leagues is always an option. Thus, your choice of a psychology career in sports psychology can be both very rewarding and exciting.
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