Have you always been fascinated by the role that psychology plays in sports? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of athletes? If so, a career in sports psychology might be the perfect fit for you.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to find and apply for sports psychology jobs online. We’ll cover everything from top companies to organizations that hire sports psychologists. So, whether you’re a recent graduate or you’re looking to make a career change, read on for all the tips you need to get started.
What is the Function of Sport Psychology?
Sport psychology is the scientific study of the psychological factors that affect participation and performance in sport, exercise and physical activity. Some of the main functions and goals of sport psychology include:
- Enhancing performance – Sport psychologists work with athletes and teams to improve performance through mental skills training, goal setting, imagery, self-talk, arousal regulation, concentration techniques, team dynamics, and more. The aim is to help athletes reach peak performance in competition.
- Increasing motivation – Sports psychologists help athletes stay motivated through slumps, setbacks and plateaus. They promote healthy achievement orientation and intrinsic sources of motivation.
- Managing stress and anxiety – Techniques are taught to athletes to better cope with the pressure and demands of competition. Relaxation skills, cognitive restructuring and visualization can help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Improving confidence – Self-efficacy and confidence are critical for optimal performance. Sport psychs build confidence through positive self-talk, perspective taking and attribution training.
- Facilitating psychological well-being – The mental health and well-being of athletes is promoted through counseling, social support, communication skills and life skills training. Issues like eating disorders, burnout and drug abuse may be addressed.
- Enhancing team dynamics – Sport psychologists help teams optimize group cohesion, teamwork, communication, role clarity and leadership. Team building interventions can strengthen collective efficacy.
- Facilitating youth development – Programs are designed to use sports and physical activity to facilitate positive youth development and teach life skills. Psychologists promote positive coaching and social environments.
How to Apply for Sports Psychology Jobs Online
Here are some tips for applying for sports psychology jobs online:
- Search job sites and professional associations – Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, HigherEdJobs, and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) job board are good places to look for open positions.
- Tailor your materials – Customize your resume and cover letters to highlight your experience and skills that align with each specific job. Emphasize your training in sports psychology.
- Highlight relevant experience – Draw attention to any internships, mentorships, practical experience, or research you’ve done related to athletes, sports teams, performance psychology, etc.
- Get licensed – Having a state license or certification (e.g., CC-AASP) in applied sport psychology demonstrates your qualifications.
- Showcase tech skills – With more virtual/online positions, highlight your ability to use videoconferencing, athlete monitoring systems, and other applicable tech tools.
- Build a strong online presence – Maintaining an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and thoughtful social media use can aid the job hunt. Follow sports psych professionals and companies.
- Check employer websites – Look for open positions on the career pages of universities, sports organizations, performance centers, etc. Then apply directly via their online system.
- Network online – Connect with sports psychologists and coaches through LinkedIn or Twitter and let them know you’re job searching. Join relevant groups/associations.
- Follow up – After applying, follow up with a call or email if you don’t hear back within a week or two. Be professional and express continued interest.
- Consider remote/freelance work – Explore freelance consultant roles or online positions to gain experience if full-time jobs are limited.
Sports Psychology Job Description
Here is an example job description for a sports psychologist role:
Job Title: Sports Psychologist
- Work with individual athletes and sports teams to enhance performance, manage stress, build motivation, and promote overall mental wellbeing. Provide counseling and mental skills training tailored to athletes’ needs.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Conduct assessments to identify mental and psychological strengths and areas for improvement with athletes.
- Develop and implement customized mental training programs covering areas like focus, confidence, intensity regulation, visualization, etc.
- Educate coaches and athletes on the impact of psychology on sport performance.
- Provide one-on-one counseling and group workshops focused on performance enhancement, goal-setting, coping with pressure, injury recovery, communication, and team cohesion.
- Design and facilitate team building activities focused on leadership, group dynamics, role clarity, and cooperation.
- Collaborate with coaches, trainers, and other staff to incorporate psychological skills training into overall athletic development.
- Monitor and evaluate psychological interventions to determine effectiveness and opportunities for improvement.
- Maintain confidential client records detailing assessment data, mental skills plans, progress notes, and testing profiles.
- Stay current on the latest research in sports psychology, peak performance, motivation, and related areas.
- Doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) in psychology with specialized training in sports psychology.
- Strong knowledge of psychological principles and techniques for performance enhancement.
- Excellent communication, interpersonal, and motivational skills.
- Ability to connect with athletes from diverse backgrounds.
- Comfortable working in fast-paced, high-pressure sports environments.
- Strong ethics, integrity, and commitment to athlete wellbeing.
Top Companies Hiring Sports Psychologist
Here is a list of some of the top companies and organizations that hire sports psychologists:
- Professional Sports Teams: Most major professional sports teams have sports psychologists on staff to work with players on performance, motivation, anxiety, and other mental skills. Examples include NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams.
- Colleges and Universities: College athletic departments often employ sports psychologists to counsel student athletes. Major universities with prominent sports programs frequently have openings.
- Sports Science & Training Companies: Companies like IMG Academy, EXOS, and other sports performance institutes hire sports psychologists as performance specialists and training experts.
- U.S. Olympic Committee & Training Centers: The USOC employs sports psychologists to train Olympic athletes for peak performance. They have openings at Olympic training facilities and with U.S. national teams.
- Hospitals & Medical Systems: Large hospitals and medical providers sometimes have sports psychologist roles within orthopedics and sports medicine programs to help injured athletes with rehabilitation.
- Youth Sports Organizations: Some large youth sports, community recreation, and coaching organizations employ sports psychologists for research, education, and helping young athletes with skills.
- Performing Arts Companies: Sports psychologists may also find employment with professional dance companies, theaters, orchestras, and other performing arts institutions.
- Military & Government Agencies: Certain military, government, and tactical organizations hire performance specialists, often focusing on mental skills, stress management, and concentration.
Sports Psychologist Salary
The average annual salary for sports psychologists in the United States as of 2020 is $77,860 per year; however, salaries can vary widely, with entry-level positions often ranging from $45,000-$60,000 per year while very experienced sports psychologists working with elite athletes or teams can earn over $120,000 annually.
What are the Three Main Roles of Sports Psychologists?
The three main roles of a sport psychologist typically are:
- Performance Enhancement – This involves working with athletes and teams to improve areas impacting performance – motivation, focus, confidence, concentration, intensity regulation, resilience after setbacks, and managing performance anxiety. Helping athletes enter ideal performance states.
- Clinical Interventions – Sport psychologists help athletes with clinical issues like depression, burnout, disordered eating, substance abuse, sleep problems, injuries, retirement adjustment, career transition, and interpersonal conflicts that impact performance. Providing counsel and treatment plans.
- Research & Education – Conducting original research around topics that influence sports performance and behaviors. Publishing findings to expand knowledge and science supporting applied practice with athletes. Also involves educating students, coaches, teams and athletes through workshops, lectures and instruction.
Applying for sports psychology jobs online is a process that requires careful planning and execution. But with the right tools and resources, you can find the perfect job for you. Remember to stay motivated, and to stay true to your passion for sports psychology. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your career goals.