Love sport and psychology? Become a sports psychologist
Are you interested in athletics? Why not consider a career in sports psychology? As a sports psychologist, you’ll be working as part of a team with the aim of helping athletes to reach their full potential. This career is both exciting and rewarding, which makes it a great choice. If you’re looking for interesting employment opportunities, you can find a range of psychology and sport-related vacancies on Job Mail.
A sports psychologist is responsible for providing counselling services to athletes. They focus on mental wellbeing as well as performance and fitness. They address connections between the mental state of athletes and their performance on the playing field. These professionals review the mental strengths and weaknesses of their clients with the aim of improving their performance. They use a range of strategies to help athletes to handle pressure on the field and in their daily lives. Visualisation techniques can be used during this process.
Sports psychologists also provide counselling to athletes who have physical injuries as well as those who have mental health disorders. They use the latest psychological and scientific knowledge to provide the best possible service to their clients. They work with clients on developing their concentration and motivation as well as assisting with goal setting.
A sports psychologist can work in private practice offering services to athletes in their offices as well as on the playing field. They can also be hired to carry out research. They may be employed to work with individual athletes or entire teams. Clients include both beginner sportspeople as well as experienced professionals. While sports psychologists are typically based in an office, they are often required to travel to sports fields to watch their clients practicing or playing matches.
What are the different types of sports psychology careers?
- Applied sports psychologist
- Clinical sports psychologist
- Sports research specialist
- School, university or professional team coach
- Sports psychology lecturer
- School counsellor
In order to work as a sports psychologist, you’ll need to complete your studies as well as a 6-month internship with a registered psychologist. Next, you’ll be required to pass the National Examination of the Professional Board for Psychology. The final step is to register with the HPCSA.
What to study:
- Bachelor’s Degree majoring in psychology – You can study at most universities and tertiary education institutes.
- Bachelor’s degree majoring in sports psychology – Available at selected universities.
- Honours in Psychology – You can study at most universities.
- Master’s in Psychology – Available at selected universities.
Related studies include degrees in:
- Sports Science (Honours)
- Arts and Social Sciences – Sports Science with Geo-Environmental Sciences
- Arts and Social Sciences – Sports Science with Psychology
- Sports Development
- Arts and Social Science – Sports Science (English or Afrikaans)
These studies are available at selected universities and tertiary education institutes across South Africa.
What skills do you need to succeed?
Do you have what it takes to succeed as a sports psychologist? You’ll need a broad range of knowledge and skills to do well in this career. Make sure that you cultivate the following capabilities as they’ll stand you in good stead when you start working with athletes:
- Active listening
You’ll need to be a good listener to pursue a career in sports psychology. This career requires the ability to listen carefully to what your client’s saying. You’ll need to collect information on their emotional state and the situations that they’re struggling with.
- Verbal and written communication skills
The ability to communicate effectively is an important aspect of the role of a sports psychologist. Verbal communication skills are necessary when you’re working with clients while written capabilities are required when you’re writing reports.
- Understanding of athletics
An understanding of sports is required to succeed in this role. You’ll need to have insight into the pressures and demands that athletes face. Knowledge of the social context that surrounds sport is also essential.
Sports psychology is an interesting field to specialise in if you’re passionate about athletics. With the right skills and plenty of dedication, you can set up your career as a sports psychologist. Ready to get started? Find a range of exciting psychology and sport-related vacancies on Job Mail.