Sports psychologists are experts in understanding the psychological aspects of sports. They work with teams and individual athletes to help them improve their athletic abilities based on psychological theory. They also assist athletes in overcoming fears and other psychological issues that prevent them from doing their best.
Most sport psychologists strive to help athletes develop the mental skills necessary to be strong and consistent during training and competition. They also work on areas that prevent an athlete from realizing his or her potential.
As with other clinical psychologists, a Ph.D is the typical requirement for a practicing sports psychologist. A psychologist with a bachelor’s or master’s degree may assist a practicing psychologist or athletic coach, but generally can’t be licensed to practice.
Sports psychologists may work along coaches to enhance the value and performance of a team or athlete. They also assist in strengthening an athlete’s mental stamina and focus, assist with psychological issues preventing the player from performing well and help athletes improve their motivation and mental drive.
Sports Psychologists might do any of the following:
A profession in sports psychology requires having a desire to help others, being able to model how to work in a team environment, understanding the physical and mental processes that an athlete experiences and being flexible enough to work when and where your clients needs you.
With a predicted 15% increase in psychology employment over the next decade, the general psychology profession is a positive direction to take professionally. However, sports psychology will likely show a much smaller increase over the same period.
The average salary for psychologists in the U.S., according to salary.com, is currently around $78,000. There can be a great deal of variance based on whether the psychologist is in a private practice or working with an employer.