Studies & Degrees in Sport Psychology
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Sports psychology is a field that is still developing, and that specializes in the relationship between the psyche, the mental state of the individual, and sports. Usually, this field focuses on two types of approach – first, what is the effect that mental state and well being has on a person’s performance in sports, and how changing the psyche may improve performance; and taken from another angle – what is the impact that sport has on the psyche, how sports can significantly change the way people think and feel.
In relation to this, sports psychologists are licensed health professionals who help athletes work on their performance and concentration. They help players to identify physical and mental challenges, work with them through difficult times, and set specific goals. Sports psychologists employ various established therapy methods in combination with specialized techniques that are tailored to the unique attributes of athletics.
Often sports psychologists can assist athletes to take some life-changing decisions, so if you wish to pursue such a profession, you would need to have a very strong sense of empathy and excellent emotional intelligence qualities. Other qualities are:
Outstanding communication skills
Very good interpersonal skills
Be tactful, patient, and trustworthy
Be discrete and able to keep confidentiality
Be able to deal with all kinds of people
In order to become a sports psychologist, you would definitely need to invest some time and effort in education - in the majority of countries, a two-year master's or four-year doctoral degree is required to become a sports psychologist. Because of the fact that there are not too many accredited master's and doctoral programs that focus specifically on sports psychology, most of the professionals in this field first pursue a more general degree and gain some counseling experience in other related environments. If you wish to practice sports psychology, you would most likely be required to pass a written licensing exam administered by your state or country after earning a degree and gaining supervised experience.
In addition to this, many people decide to join private organizations and take voluntary exams to improve their credentials. An example is the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology in the United States, which provides certification and job search services for new professionals in the field.
Most sports psychologists develop a private practice, providing counseling to individuals on an appointment basis. Still, there are some professionals who are employed by college and professional sports organizations to work specifically with members of a team. With training, dedication, and patience, you may not be far from finding a fulfilling career working with sports stars.