Sports psychology is one of the most exciting, fastest-growing online sports degree programs available to new students today. While most branches of psychology have been around for quite some time, sports psychology programs have only been offered to the public for about thirty years. It is a high-demand field with unprecedented growth potential. Anyone who decides to pursue a degree in sports psychology should be prepared for a longer than average timeline for completion because the subject matter can be so comprehensive. But if sports psychology is your passion, the dedication and hard work will pay off in the long run.
Sports psychology degree programs explore factors that impact high performance as well as how sports and physical activity positively affect general health. Anyone remember the baseball player, Chuck Knoblach? He did not have a great sports psychologist! Sports psychology covers an extensive range of theoretical, clinical, and applied topics. After obtaining a sports psychology degree, students will not only understand the techniques behind improving motivation and enhancing performance, they will also have the skills necessary to teach others how to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.
There are many facets of sports psychology, so students should have their career goals in mind when deciding on a school. For example, applied sports psychology focuses on helping athletes build skills that enhance overall performance; clinical sports psychology combines sports psychology with psychiatric therapy to help patients overcome mental disorders; academic sports psychologists conduct research in an educational environment. Although most employers generally require that candidates have a sports psychology graduate degree, some do accept a bachelor’s degree. For individuals who want to teach or research, a PhD will likely be required.
If a student has already chosen an educational path that doesn’t offer a specific online sports psychology degree, it is key to discuss available options with an advisor or an expert in the field. Physical science or a psychology degree can serve as a strong foundation that could be supplemented with classes from other related fields. If at all possible though, the most direct path to job security and satisfaction is to research online sports psychology programs that most closely match a student’s ideal job.
After getting a graduate degree in sports psychology, areas of expertise can include coaching student or professional athletes; empowering mentally or physically disabled individuals; counseling compulsive exercisers and those suffering from eating disorders; conducting research at a university; and teaching sports psychology at college or university.