Sport psychology is a proficiency that uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organisations. APA recognises sport psychology as a proficiency acquired after a doctoral degree in one of the primary areas of psychology and licensure as a psychologist. This proficiency does not include those who have earned a doctoral degree in sport psychology but are not licensed psychologists.
Sport Psychology interventions are designed to assist athletes and other sports participants (e.g., coaches, administrators, parents) from a wide array of settings, levels of competition and ages, ranging from recreational youth participants to professional and Olympic athletes to master’s level performers.
Many strategies and procedures are used to address problems faced by athletes and other sports participants. Some of the principal areas include:
Cognitive and behavioural skills training for performance enhancement. Goal setting; imagery and performance planning; concentration and attention control strategies; development of self-confidence, self-esteem and competence in sports; cognitive-behavioural self-regulation techniques; emotion management, sportsmanship and leadership skills.
Counselling and clinical interventions. Athletic motivation; eating disorders and weight management; substance abuse; grief, depression, loss and suicide; over-training and burnout; sexual identity issues; aggression and violence; athletic injury and rehabilitation; career transitions and identity crises.
Consultation and training. Team building; sports organisation consultation; systems interventions with parents and families involved in youth sports participation; education of coaches regarding motivation, interpersonal and leadership skills and talent development; education of coaches and administrators regarding early identification and prevention of psychological difficulties.
Sports psychologists can work in a wide variety of settings. They may practice in hospitals, clinics, gyms, physical rehabilitation centres, or schools. Some may work in private practice or provide contracted consulting services to clients in other settings. Professionals in the consulting arena often work as part of a team of specialists, assembled from a variety of disciplines to maximise health and wellness among athletes, coaches, teams, parents of athletes, and fitness professionals.
Whatever the nature of their practice, sports psychologists should possess the following skills and competencies: objectivity and sound judgement, critical thinking, interpersonal skills and confidentiality, thorough knowledge of exercise science and sports medicine, understanding of common sports-related injuries and treatments, understanding of application of stress management and mental conditioning techniques, data analysis and research and assessment.
Sports psychology is a really interesting field of study. Many people can benefit from lessons about sports psychology. These lessons are not expensive and are informative and useful! With the TutorExtra platform you can find lessons starting from £15-£45 and many teachers offer a first lesson free.
If you are interested in sports, or working in this field, sports psychology lessons are a great investment for your future development. Even professional sportist can benefit from these lessons and courses because they can learn more about the importance of the psychological state of mind and body before competitions.