Three career paths with a sport psychology degree

May 19, 2016

Competitive sports test the strength and agility of the mind as well as the body.

If you’re interested in the mental aspects of competitiveness, a career in sport psychology is worth your consideration. Here’s a look at the sport psychology field and three potential career paths.

What is sport psychology?

While coaches will typically focus on the physical performance and well-being of athletes, sport psychology professionals focus on their minds and mental health. Individuals in this field can help athletes enhance their performance with mental strategies, deal with the pressures of competition, recover from injuries, and stay mentally motivated to keep up with exercise regimes and enjoy their sport.

Sport psychology professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from former athletes who want to stay involved in the game to sports enthusiasts who hope to combine this passion with helping others better their performance.

Three potential career paths in sport psychology

1. Team coach-focused

A team coach mentors whole groups of athletes rather than individuals. People who are passionate about using group dynamics to positively impact performance are good candidates for this focus.

Career settings may include collegiate or professional sports teams, school districts, or community-based sports programs.

2. Personal training-focused

Personal training is a popular focus area for those who want to work with individual athletes to improve their performance through physical and mental coaching. Individuals working in personal training will have often already worked in an athletic or fitness field, and may already have the skills to help athletes with their physical performance.

Career settings may include fitness centers, athletic training companies, high schools, colleges, or contractor/consultant roles within these organizations.

3. Sport psychologist-focused

The sport psychologist focus prepares you to work one-on-one with athletes to improve their performance through mental coaching and counseling. While sport psychologists may be interested in sports or have been athletes in the past, they are often more passionate about individual counseling and have a desire to help athletes improve their mental well being in order to perform their best.

NOTE: Individuals who provide one-on-one counseling must have a doctoral degree and state licensure.

Career settings may include private practice or sports team psychologist.

Learn more about Capella’s onlineMS in Psychology, Sport Psychology degree.

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