While sports celebrate the body’s strength, speed, and ability to master maneuvers with panache, the body is not the main factor behind excellence in sports. The mind is. Sports psychology looks at this phenomenon by studying how a person’s mind and psychological responses to the stresses of play affect performance. Sports psychologists counsel players on how they can use positive thought, hypnosis, visualization, and other mind strategies to triumph in competition. Motivation, mood, and perception, according to sports psychologists, can thwart or improve any athlete.
- Sports Psychology Primer: This website explains the basics of what sports psychology is.
- Factors that Influence Sports Performance: This webpage looks at the impact of mind content and mood on sports.
- A Day in the Life of a Sports Psychologist: This page details what a sports psychologist does on a daily basis.
- Olympic Athletes Rely on Sports Psychologists: This Christian Science Monitor article details how Olympic competitors used psychologists to enhance performance.
- Why Athletes Call on Psychologists: The second section in this summary of sports psychology benefits, details the top seven reasons for why athletes seek help from psychologists.
- How Psychology can Prevent “Choking”: This article addresses psychological reasons why people fail or “choke” under the pressure of sports performance and how sports psychology can prevent that.
- Help for Amateurs & Professionals: This article on the American Psychologists Association’s website explains how both amateur and professional players can reach high levels with sports psychology.
- Psychotherapy Techniques Used for Sports: This website details the use of hypnosis and visualization in the sports world.
- Theories in Sports Psychology: This article describes the behavioral theories at work in sports psychology.
- The Use of Hypnosis in Golf: This article discusses how psychology has become popular in golf.
Sports psychology in the U.S. has its early roots in the late 19th century at Indiana University. There, psychologist Norman Triplett used cyclists to test how mental strategies could affect the quality of athletic performance. Coleman Roberts Griffith, however, in neighboring Illinois, was the first to do extended and formal scientific study and analysis on links between the psychology and athleticism in the 1920s. Considered the originator of sports psychology, Coleman has published many books and papers detailing his psychology research with the Chicago Cubs and other teams.
No college offers a degree in sports psychology at the baccalaureate level. Many offer master degrees and doctorates in sports psychology, however. Some offer a master of psychology with a concentration in sports. Short training programs also offer certificates for those who wish to become sports psychology coaches without earning a psychology degree.
- History of Sports Psychology: This website traces the history of sports psychology from the late 1800s.
- Coleman R. Griffith: This brief identifies Coleman Roberts Griffith as the pioneer of modern sports psychology in the U.S. and succinctly summarizes his efforts to help the Chicago Cubs improve.
- Advice & FAQs on Sports Psychology as a Career: This website sums up the information needed to pursue a career in sports psychology. Includes many recommendations.
- Become a Sports Psychology Coach: This Spencer Institute page explains their process for becoming a certified sports psychology coach.
- Credentials Needed: This website, in the section marked credentials for the sports psychologists, discusses whether certification is necessary.
- Graduate Degree in Sports Exercise Psychology: This page discusses a sample master’s degree program specifically for sports exercise psychology.
- Master’s Degree Level Concentration: Some schools like Capella University do not offer a master’s degree in sports psychology, but instead offer a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in sports psychology. This page offers a sample roster of courses.
- Applied Sports Psychology: This page offers degree preparation advice for those wanting to bypass research careers and focus on regularly applying sports psychology in crisis situations and ongoing athletic counseling.
- Training & Internships: This website for the American Board of Sport Psychology gives advice on internships, certification, and other training for sports psychology careers.
- Job Outlook & Salary: This website includes sections detailing the future potential for jobs in sports psychology and typical salary.
- How to Transition Within the Fitness Field: This website explains the facets of a short schedule of courses that allows a worker already in the fitness field to transition to sports psychology quickly.
- Resources for Working Professionals: Whether novice or veteran, this site for the International Society of Sports Psychologists provides up to date job resources and news.
Anyone can find a sports psychologist by contacting a local college with a sports psychology division or by searching a national directory at the online home of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. For those who prefer virtual counseling by phone or e-mail, many sports psychologists maintain personal WebPages for interacting with clients across the globe.
- Consultation: Many colleges and universities offer consultations to the public through their sports psychology department. The University of North Texas actually has a Center for Sports Psychology, as this page attests.
- One-on-One Virtual Coaching: This website details how someone can locate a sports psychologist who will provide one-on-one coaching if they are unable to meet in person.
- Finding a Consultant in Your Area: This Association for Applied Sports Psychology website allows people to search and hire sports psychologists in their locale using its database.
- Jim Mastrich: Certified in sports psychology, Jim Mastrich takes appointments through his website.
- Jack Singer: Sports Psychologist Jack Singer answers questions and schedules appointments through his advice website.