Sports PsychologistSports psychology is now becoming one of the fastest growing occupations in sports medicine. A lot of athletes are now coming to psychologists who are experienced in mentally and emotionally preparing athletes for events and competitions. This is an important aspect since mental preparedness, focus and release of anxiety is needed to be physically ready for the demands of the upcoming game. Mental conditioning is also crucial to prevent the fast onset of fatigue especially if it is psychologically induced. To define it, sports psychology is the scientific study of psychological factors that are associated with involvement in physical activity, most especially in competitive sports. These professionals or sports psychologists are trained and experienced to help athletes improve athletic performance through psychological preparedness and help them to understand how their activity affects them in all aspects throughout their life span. Sports psychology is a career for licensed psychologists who are particularly skilled in giving motivation and elevating confidence and self-esteem for athletes who are taken down by attacks of anxiety. Psychological skill training is defined as consistent practice and development of mental and psychological skills. An athletic team and all its members must also develop these skills as much as physical skills are being developed. Training and practice for these skills are now being incorporated in the regular practice to be able to achieve top performance level without anxiety during actual games. Sports psychologists plan, implement, supervise and revise these programs to better suit the needs of a team. As all teams face anxiety, pressure and meltdowns both physically and psychologically, the demand for sports psychologists is now rising and the development of new techniques and programs are being created.
Most sports psychologists are required to have a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology although some are accepted with only a bachelor’s degree but with experience. It is also required to have experience in applying psychological principles in the training of sports teams and individual athletes as well. Psychologists who would want to pursue this career should have specialized training in sports psychology, doctorate in counselling or clinical psychology, Master’s level counsellor or therapist or advanced training in exercises science and fitness. Usually there are two types of sports psychologists: academic and applied. The academic sports psychologists are involved mostly on education and research. They eventually teach in these new methods and findings in colleges and universities although some of them also assist in the psychological management and interventions for teams, athletes and their personnel. Applied sports psychologists are more involved in the active practice of their profession in sports teams, athletes and settings with physical activity. They participate in addressing the performance of a team by clinical consultations, teambuilding and workshops that are all for the mental, emotional and psychological aspects of the team.