If you are fascinated by the human psyche, enjoy helping others improve themselves, and thrive in a fast-paced environment, a career in sports psychology may be for you. With an increasing focus on mental skills training as well as physical performance training in the world of athletics and sports, more and more job opportunities are opening up for those trained to support these athletes from a psychological perspective. It is no secret that athletic performance is directly impacted by one’s mental state. When an athlete feels anxious, afraid, or stressed about their upcoming performance, it can have a negative impact on their abilities. On the other hand, when an athlete is confident and excited about their upcoming game, it normally has a positive effect on their performance. In this guide, we’ll look at what sports psychology is, the education you need, and the top three careers you could follow.

What Is Sports Psychology?

Sports psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with the mental aspects of sports performance. It is related to the study of brain and human behavior but also focuses on how both physical and mental processes affect sports performance. Most sports psychologists work with sporting teams, Olympic athletes, or other professional athletes to help them maximize their performance in a competitive setting.

Getting A Bachelor’s Degree In Sports Psychology

There are many different schools that offer a sports psychology bachelor’s degree. During a sports psychology degree, you will typically study topics like how to best support athletes’ mental health, the psychological impact of injuries, and how to best help athletes cope with a fear of competition. When you want to study sports psychology, you will want a well-rounded course that will provide you with everything you need in order to get the best start in your future career. To explore your options, check out the sports psychology courses provided by the University of Stirling.

Pursuing A Master’s Degree In Sports Psychology

While it’s not always necessary to pursue a master’s degree in this field in order to begin your career, many professionals find that a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology is not sufficient for the career they want. If you want to be at the top of the field one day, pursuing a master’s degree in sports psychology would be the ideal solution for you.

Travelling With Sporting Teams

The psychology of sport has also evolved to include mental skills training for athletes. Mental skills are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that impact your performance on the field or court. These skills can be learned through various methods such as meditation, visualization, and cognitive behavioral therapy. If you are interested in a career in sports psychology, opportunities will likely open up to work with teams in different disciplines. One such opportunity is travelling with sporting teams. As a sports psychologist, you may be asked to travel with an entire team of athletes to provide mental skills training and emotional support. This can include anything from helping players deal with anxiety or stress to assisting with their confidence levels before and during games or competitions.

An Overview Of Sports Psychology Career Options

A career in sports psychology can be an exciting, fulfilling, and lucrative opportunity. There are a variety of career options available to those who are interested in working with athletes and sports. Some common careers within the world of sports psychology include sports psychologist, exercise psychologist, and health promotion specialist.

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists are professionals who study how people’s mental state impacts their physical performance. They provide psychological support to athletes and sports teams and help to develop programs that minimize stress and anxiety so that athletes can perform at the top of their game, no matter what pressure they face. Sports psychologists typically work closely with coaches or trainers to come up with a plan for positive mental conditioning in order to maximize performance. Sometimes this includes neuro-linguistic programming, which has been found to be helpful in improving an athlete’s self-confidence and ability to cope with stressors before a competition. A typical day could involve anything from reviewing or helping create pregame routines to providing one-on-one counselling during a difficult time in someone’s life. 

Exercise Psychologist

Exercise psychologists focus on the mental, physical and motivational needs of athletes. They are typically found in a hospital setting where they have patients who are physically recovering from injury. In this role, you would work with patients to help them regain their confidence in order to return back to their previous state of physical activity.

Health Promotion Specialist

Health promotion specialists provide education and support on health-related topics to individuals and groups. This can include teaching people about their health and well-being or working with community organizations to teach people about healthy lifestyles. Health promotion specialists may also work in hospitals, clinics, schools or other settings to help people manage their illnesses.

Opening Your Own Practice

If you enjoy interacting with people and are interested in a career that is constantly evolving, you may want to consider opening your own private practice. This is an option that many professionals working in the sports psychology field end up taking on, typically when they want to settle down and no longer enjoy travelling for work. There are so many ways to get started with this type of career. You could start off by working with a specific professional league or sports team, begin volunteering at clinics and schools, or even start your own gig on the side while still holding down a day job. The key to being successful as an independent practitioner is being flexible. You may realize that finding jobs for sports psychologists may be a challenge, but in most cases, it is because you could be looking in the wrong places. The best place to find sports psychology jobs would be on psychology-only job boards, which connect psychology experts and employers. Also, you need to be willing to find opportunities where they exist and make adjustments as necessary. 


Pursuing a career in sports psychology is a unique and rewarding experience. With a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology and a master’s degree, you can pursue many different paths, including working with sports teams, travelling with sporting teams, opening your own practice and more. Whether you’re looking for an exciting new career or just looking to enhance your current career with some additional skills, you’ll find what you need with sports psychology.

Your Personal Path to Wellness Starts Here>>Karen Malkin Health Counseling

Click here for full podcast playlist.