Here we help answer questions you might have about sport psychology, the process of working with a sport psychology, how to become a sport psychologist, among other things. If you do not find the answer to your question in this section, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Psychological Association (Division 47) defines sport and exercise psychology as the scientific study of the psychological factors associated with participation and performance in sport, exercise, and other types of physical activity. Sport psychologists focus primarily on:
- Helping athletes use psychological principles and skills to achieve optimal mental health and to improve performance.
- Understanding how individuals' participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity affects their psychological development, health, and well-being.
Although all U.S. Olympic athletes have access to a Sport Psychologist, and many professional and college athletes use them as well, sport psychology services can help most people who, regardless of age, race/ethnicity, gender or competitive level, are interested in improving their performance or deriving more enjoyment from sport and physical activity. Some of the common reasons individuals and teams may seek out sport psychology services include: increasing motivation, setting effective goals, improving relationships with coach/teammates, learning imagery, improving focus and attention, developing preperformance routines, increasing positive thinking and confidence, effectively regulating emotions, improving communication, becoming an effective leader, preventing or recovering from injury, treating an eating disorders or substance use/abuse. Clearly, there is a wide range of reasons why athletes may work with a sport psychologist.
There are many excellent books, journals, websites, and professional organizations through which you can learn more about the field of sport and exercise psychology. Some of them are listed here:
Anderson, M.B. (2000). Doing sport psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Anderson, M.B. (2005). Sport Psychology In Practice. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Griffith, C. (1928). Psychology and athletics. New York: C. Scribner's Sons.
Griffith, C. (1928). Psychology of coaching. New York: C. Scribner's Sons.
Le Unes, A. (2009). Sport psychology. Psychology Press.
Tennenbaum, G., & Eklund, R. (2007). Handbook of Sport Psychology (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons
Van Raalte, J.L. & Brewer, B.W. (Eds.) (2002). Exploring sport and exercise psychology (2nd edition). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Weingberg, R. & Gould, D. (2007). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (4th Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Williams, J.M. (Ed.) (2009). Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (6th Ed.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co.
Journal of Applied Sport Psychology
The Sport Psychologist
Journal of Exercise and Sport Psychology
International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Journal of Sport Behavior
Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise
Professional Sport Psychology Organization Websites
American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD)
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
American Psychological Association (APA) - Division 47 - Sport and Exercise Psychology
Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD)
North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA)
One of the questions students interested in sport psychology most often ask is “How can I become a sport psychologist?” Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the field -- drawing from psychology and the sport/exercise sciences - there are many different educational pathways students can take to get there. Thus, a central issue for students interested in sport and exercise psychology concerns determining exactly what they want to do in the field. Do they want to teach and conduct research at a college or university? Do they want to coach? Do they want to work with athletes on mental skills training or performance enhancement issues? Do they want to provide athletes with counseling or therapy? How you answer these and other questions will guide your choice of career and graduate training.
To assist students with this process, members of the American Psychological Association – Division 47 (Exercise & Sport Psychology) and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) developed a brochure on “Graduate Training & Career Possibilities in Exercise & Sport Psychology.” The primary purpose of the brochure is to inform students interested in pursuing training in sport/exercise psychology about the different career tracks that exist within the field and the educational pathways they would pursue to receive the necessary training.
If you are a student interested in sport and exercise psychology, we strongly encourage you to read this information before making any decisions concerning a career or graduate training. If you have additional questions about the field or would like to talk to one of our Performance Excellence Staff regarding training opportunities at the University of North Texas, please contact us at email@example.com or 940-369-SPORT (7767).
Currently, there are two "credentials" available to sport and exercise psychology practitioners. The first is the "Certified Consultant, AASP" offered through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. The second is membership in the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. Each credential demonstrates that the sport psychology professional has attained some minimum level of training and/or experience. You also may want to consider working with a sport psychologist who is a licensed psychologist because that professional would have a broader understanding of interpersonal issues affecting your performance and may be in the best position to help you reach your goals.
To find a qualified sport psychology consultant, you can visit the AASP website (AASP Consultant Finder), which has a directory of specialists in the field with their respective service areas. In order to be included on this list, they must be certified as a sport psychology consultant through AASP and a member of the APA. When you contact the sport psychology consultant, ask them specific questions concerning their interests as well as if they feel they might be able to help in addressing your concerns. For further information on questions you might want to ask your potential sport psychology consultant, please visit APA Divison 47's website.
Sport psychology fees can vary across the U.S. Like other service professionals, fees often range from $100.00 or more per session. Fees for long-term consultations with athletic or sport organizations generally are determined based on services provided and length of contract.
Each athlete/team/performer is unique, thus the process of working with a sport psychologist typically begins with an assessment session where the sport psychologist will determine your performance goals. Based on the information obtained from that session, the sport psychologist will recommend various options to help you decide what approach might work best to meet your achievement goals.
UNT Center for Sport Psychology Services
Top level athletes know that to achieve performance excellence, they have to be at their best, not only physically, but mentally as well. Are you doing everything possible to ensure that you are mentally prepared to perform consistently at the highest level?
Whatever your skill level, your age, gender, or sport, we can help you evaluate your current performance and develop the skills and mindset needed to reach your optimal level of performance and enjoy what you are doing. We offer specialized services and resources for:
Graduate Education in Sport Psychology at UNT
At UNT, there are two educational options for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in sport psychology. First, within the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation, students can pursue a master’s degree in Kinesiology that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of sport. To learn more about this degree option, click here.
Second, students can pursue a doctorate within the Psychology Department’s APA-accredited counseling psychology program and then select sport psychology as their specialization. Students who graduate from the doctoral program will be eligible for licensure as a psychologist and certification as a sport consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. To learn more about this degree option, click here.