Spotlight on Sports Psychology

If you are interested in Sports and want to research, train and teach sports professionals towards improving their performance and increasing their motivation levels, then a career as a Sports Psychologist is just what you want to pursue.

Sport Psychology is the study of the psychological and mental factors which influence and which are influenced by the participation and the performance of any sport, exercise and physical activity. With the use of this knowledge, Sports Psychologists aim to create an environment that serves to enhance the development of sports professionals by helping coaches who work with athletes to increase the athletes’ motivation levels.

Sports Psychology uses some very interesting methods and techniques to gain their results. These are:
Cohesion: Inculcating and encouraging team spirit, mutual respect and teamwork
Imagery: Using the power of creative visualization athletes can ‘see’ themselves performing better
Confidence: Athletes need to feel self-confident and should believe that they can improve their performance
Motivation: This includes ‘Intrinsic Motivation’ which comes from within the athlete and ‘Extrinsic Motivation’ that comes from external sources - both of which combine together to give the athlete the motivation to perform better every time
Attentional Focus: This helps the athletes to block out the crowd, the other team and even issues from their personal lives while focusing on their game

As a Sports Psychologist you will be trained to research into these techniques and methods, teach these to other people (like coaches) and even consult with different teams and coaches in creating specialized techniques suited to an individual sport.

To pursue a career as a Sports Psychologist, you will need to begin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and then choose Sports Psychology as your major for your Master’s Degree. As a Sports Psychologist you can expect a salary range between $18,000 to $22,000 annually. You can find employment opportunities with schools, universities, colleges and with amateur and professional sports teams.

Interest and experience in sports and sport coaching will also add to your hands-on experience and knowledge and will help you to build your career as a Sports Psychologist. It will also help you if you have the practical ability to apply your knowledge of psychology to sports, if you can establish good working relationships with athletes and coaches, you work with a team and can also observe team behavior while doing so and you can work with coaches and teams and keep an open, learning mind every step of the way.
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