Are You Motivated to be a Sports Psychologist?

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Sports Psychologists deal with the psychological and mental factors that influence and enhance an individual's performance in sport, exercise and physical activity. They also evaluate how participation in sports, exercise, and physical activity may improve one's personal development and well-being.

There are a variety of sub-fields a sport psychology professional can pursue. Based on your specific interests and training, you may decide to conduct research and educating others about sports psychology. You may, on the other hand, prefer to work directly with athletes, coaches, or athletic administrators. In this capacity, you'll serve not only as an educator but also as an implementer of programs designed to enhance the performance of athletes.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in sport psychology, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and ideally perform some sort of internship that involves you with a sports team. The job picture opens up considerably for those with a master's or PhD degree. If you want to work as an independent consultant, you'll need to be licensed by the state where you plan to work. Beyond that, you'll need some important intrinsic social skills. For example, you should show a concern and care for athletes and coaches; have a likable personality (you don't want to be like the coach in "Glee"); you should demonstrate the ability to establish good working relationships with athletes and coaches; and be willing to learn practical skills (what you didn't learn in school) from athletes and coaches.

Pay scales vary depending upon experience and education. Those beginning their careers as sports psychologists can expect to start in the low $20K range. Those with advanced degrees and some experience can pull in salaries in the $30k range. Naturally, consultants to major sports teams can earn considerably more. For more information, check out Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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