Are you interested in sports? Are you interested in psychology? Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I become a sports psychologist?” Sports psychology is a rewarding sports science profession that involves working with teams and athletes to help them overcome problems, and to achieve success.
As a sports psychologist, you may find yourself working with entire teams, or with individual players or coaches. Sports psychologists find work with professional sports teams, schools, universities, and private practices. As a sports psychologist, you may also be involved with research. You can help sports teams identify problem areas that may affect their team performance and dynamics. You will also be trained to deal with issues including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. As a sports psychologist, you will be part of an exciting, and rather new field that explores how the mind and body are linked, and how the mind impacts performance.
Your journey to become a sports psychologist begins with obtaining a four year degree in psychology. You will then need to continue your education by obtaining an advanced degree. Individuals who become a sports psychologist have obtained a Doctor of Psychology degree. Students have the option of focusing on a specialization within their field of study. Some distance education schools offer students the opportunity to enroll in online sports psychology courses. Many individuals also participate in internships, or volunteer or paid coaching experiences as they complete their education. Your education for this field will involve both bookwork and hands on clinical practice work. Bookwork includes completing courses in kinesiology, rehabilitation, and exercise psychology. You will need to research the licensing requirements for the state that you wish to work in, and pass an examination. You will also need to research any continuing education requirements for your state. Some states require continuing education so that sports psychologists stay up to date with the best practices for their field.
Salary levels in this field vary depending on an individual’s level of training, experience, and on his or her specialization within the field. Salary also varies depending on what state the sports psychologist practices in, what type of job setting he or she obtained work in, and whether he or she became a part time or full time sports psychologist. Individuals who become a sports psychologist and begin their own practices will need to pay for their own insurance and benefits. You may find a job as a result of an internship or coaching experience that you undertook as you completed your coursework. You may also find a sport psychology job by searching online postings or newspaper postings. You may also want to attend events held by the school, practice, organization, or team that you wish to work for in order to network face to face with current employees and employers. If you enjoy sports, communication, helping people, and learning about how the mind and body are interlinked, sports psychology may be the field for you. As a sports psychologist, you use motivation and practical skills to bring out the best in yourself, and in other people.