According to the American Psychological Association, in addition to the fifteen acknowledged specialty fields in psychology there are six areas of proficiency and practice. One of these proficiency areas is Sports Psychology.
What is Sports Psychology?
The 47th Division of the American Psychological Association (APA) is a group called Exercise and Sport Psychology. This group of practitioners, researchers and professional psychologists are mainly post-doctoral professionals interests in the interdisciplinary field of psychology, sport science and medicine. This proficiency incorporates education and training in the development and use of psychological techniques for optimal performance of athletes, the overall well being of athletes, the issues associated with sports settings and organizations and the developmental and social aspects of participation in various sports.
How Do I Become Proficient in Sports Psychology?
The vast majority of Sports Psychologists have completed their doctoral training in a related area of psychology. According to the APA, in order to become proficient in this specialty, post docs must complete the foundational competencies required for state licensure, as well as obtaining sport-specific educational experiences in the following areas of study:
- Knowledge of theory and research in social, historical, cultural and developmental foundations of sport psychology
- Principles and practices of applied sport psychology, including issues and techniques of sport-specific psychological assessment and mental skills training for performance enhancement and satisfaction with participation
- Clinical and counseling issues with athletes
- Organizational and systemic aspects of sport consulting
- Understanding of the developmental and social issues related to sport participation
- Knowledge of the bio-behavioral bases of sport and exercise (e.g., exercise physiology, motor learning, sports medicine)
Where Can I Secure Employment Once I Am Proficient in Sports Psychology?
Sports Psychologists can be found in a wide variety of settings. These can range from employment at the college or professional level as an aide to athletes, to a smaller practice aimed at helping coaches and athletes of all levels. In some cases these professionals will work with athletes one-on-one to overcome an obstacle. They may also work with an entire team. Other places Sports Psychologists can be found are in physical rehabilitation centers, hospitals, colleges, businesses geared towards athletics and many others.
What Salary Can I Earn in Sports Psychology?
According to the APA’s 2012 article “Hot Careers: Sports Psychology” written by Rebecca Voelker, Sports Psychologists make an average of between $60,000 and $80,000 annually. Some higher paid professionals can make upwards of $100,000, depending upon where they are employed. According to Healthcare Salaries.com the average Sports Psychologist earns between $63,000 and $85,000 with the majority earning between $45,000 to $80,000. They also note that some of the top paid professionals earn well over the $100,000 mark. Self-employed Sports Psychologists earn on average $71,880 annually.
With so much value being placed on recreational, collegiate and professional sports this field continues to grow. More colleges and professional teams are employing Sports Psychologists to help athletes deal with a number of issues. These can be as small as focusing attention and can be as complex as overcoming a major injury. For those individual who are interested in sports, psychology and medicine, Sports Psychology is an excellent option.