Ferruccio Antonelli established the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) in 1965 and by the 1970s sports psychology had been introduced to university course offerings throughout North America. The first academic journal, the International Journal of Sport Psychology, was introduced in 1970, which was then followed by the establishment of the Journal of Sport Psychology in 1979.
Depending on practical application of skills and various licensing organizations, sports psychology may be considered a specialty under either applied or clinical psychology. Applied sports psychologists typically advise teams, coaches, trainers and managers in methods of stress-management, relaxation and visualization designed to optimize performance in the game. Clinical application of these skills tends to involve counseling athletes in personal crisis; addressing performance issues, anxiety or mental or physical injury rehabilitation; and more.
It would be nice if you could use your undergraduate degree and get a job as a sports psychologist, but this is simply not the case. Most individuals who want a career in sports psychology must earn an advanced degree. This advanced degree can be from a designated Sports Psychology Master’s or doctoral program. It may also be the case that you can earn your graduate degree in a clinical or counseling doctoral program, and then take additional classes in kinesiology, physiology, sports medicine, business and marketing. Remember that a Master’s degree can take 2-3 years and completing your doctoral degree may take as long as 6 years.
In North America, early years of sport psychology included isolated studies of motor behavior, social facilitation, and habit formation. During the 1890s, E. W. Scripture conducted a range of behavioral experiments, including measuring the reaction time of runners, thought time in school children, and the accuracy of an orchestra conductor's baton. Despite Scripture's previous experiments, the first recognized sports psychology study was carried out by an American psychologist Norman Triplett, in 1898. The work of Norman Triplett demonstrated that bicyclists were more likely to cycle faster with a pacemaker or a competitor, which has been foundational in the literature of social psychology and social facilitation. He wrote about his findings in what was regarded as the first scientific paper on sports psychology, titled “The Dynamogenic Factors in Pacemaking and Competition”, which was published in 1898, in the American Journal of Psychology. Research by ornithologists Lashley and Watson on the learning curve for novice archers provided a robust template for future habit formation research, as they argued that humans would have higher levels of motivation to achieve in a task like archery compared to a mundane task. Researchers Albert Johanson and Joseph Holmes tested baseball player Babe Ruth in 1921, as reported by sportswriter Hugh S. Fullerton. Ruth's swing speed, his breathing right before hitting a baseball, his coordination and rapidity of wrist movement, and his reaction time were all measured, with the researchers concluding that Ruth's talent could be attributed in part to motor skills and reflexes that were well above those of the average person.
There are a few other important points to make about getting a graduate degree in sports psychology or a related Psychology area. First, every graduate program has unique requirements. Before you jump into applying to a program make sure you have done your homework and thoroughly checked out the program. Second, if you plan on getting a doctoral degree it is likely the case that you will be required to complete a one-year internship where you will get additional training in an applied setting. For more info about a graduate degree in sports psychology go to careersinpsych.com. Third, it is always to your benefit to stick with graduate programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association. For example, certain jobs require that you were trained at an accredited school. Fourth, it is to your benefit to be certified as a sports psychologist by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Fifth, if you complete a counseling or clinical program you will almost surely apply for licensure. You will need to meet your state’s educational and training requirements and passed a comprehensive exam. Being licensed is very important, not only to be able to work with clients and be employed in various position, but also because only when you are licensed can you legally call yourself a “psychologist”.
Sports psychology is a relatively young discipline within psychology. In 1920, Carl Diem founded the world’s first sports psychology laboratory at the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Berlin, Germany. In 1925, two more sports psychology labs were established – one by A.Z. Puni at the Institute of Physical Culture in Leningrad and the other by Coleman Griffith at the University of Illinois.
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Coleman Griffith made numerous contributions to the field of sport psychology, but most notable was his belief that field studies (such as athlete and coach interviews) could provide a more thorough understanding of how psychological principles play out in competitive situations. Griffith devoted himself to rigorous research, and also published for both applied and academic audiences, noting that the applicability of sport psychology research was equally important with the generation of knowledge. Finally, Griffith recognized that sport psychology promoted performance enhancement and personal growth.
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Sports psychologists in the U.S. comprise a niche within a broad category that also includes social and forensic psychologists, among other less populated specialties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sports psychologists are expected to grow in number by 11% nationwide from 2012 to 2022. This category of psychologists can expect to see approximately 1,400 new jobs by 2022, according to BLS projections.
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Both views reflect CEOs’ perceptions. But those, in turn, reflect the failure of coaching programs to show that the infrastructure of successful leadership vision and behavior is heightened self-awareness about one’s motives, values, and personality traits. That’s especially true within today’s challenging, fluid environment. Because of this failure, coaching programs unknowingly collude with CEOs’ view that self-awareness is either irrelevant to leadership or of minor importance.
Sports lovers will likely find the field of sports psychology interesting, but choosing it as a career involves practical considerations—in other words, what’s the job outlook, and what’s the bottom line? As with most jobs, financial compensation largely depends on experience and education level, but as a growing field, sports psychologists have a generally good outlook.
Once the bachelor’s degree is finished, a master’s degree is the next step. This may be specifically in sports psychology, or could be in psychology with a concentration in sports psychology. The final degree is either a PsyD or PhD in sports psychology. Some schools offer joint degrees that combine the master’s and doctoral degrees; a small number offer the doctorate degree to students with only a bachelor’s degree, but this is rare.
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Jump up ^ The accreditation criteria and the structure of the accreditation system were based on those described in Yeates, Lindsay B., A Set of Competency and Proficiency Standards for Australian Professional Clinical Hypnotherapists: A Descriptive Guide to the Australian Hypnotherapists' Association Accreditation System, Australian Hypnotherapists' Association, (Sydney), 1996. ISBN 0-646-27250-0  Archived 2009-09-12 at the Wayback Machine.