Careers in sports psychology cover a range of areas. Sports psychologists may practice in a hospital, clinic, gym, physical rehabilitation center, high school or university. Some may work in private practice or provide contracted consulting services to clients in other settings. Professionals in this area are often employed as part of a team of specialists, assembled from a variety of disciplines to maximize health and wellness among athletes, coaches, teams, parents of athletes, fitness professionals and more. Whatever the nature of their practice, sports psychologists should possess the following skills and competencies:
There are different approaches that a sports psychologist can use while working with his clients. For example, the social-psychological approach focuses on the social environment and the individual's personality, and on how complex interactions between the two influence behavior. The psycho-physiological approach focuses on the processes of the brain and their influence on physical activity, and the cognitive-behavioral approach analyzes the ways in which individual thoughts determine behavior. Generally, there are two different types of sport psychologists: educational and clinical.
Physical factors: what type is it? have you suffered something like it before? what’s the cause? Mental factors: what’s your personality? what’s your best coping mechanism? how do you think about yourself? Situational factors: what kind of sport you are in? what level of competition you are at? Social factors: the influence of coach, family, friends, team-mates.
In a majority of cases, the coaching sessions happen weekly (3 to 4 times per month). Since the client expects to make changes and/or improvements for themselves, weekly sessions help keep the process on track and also serve as an “accountability” measure to the incremental improvement, along with addressing any other situations the client wishes to discuss with the coach.
October 20, 2017 - At the annual conference of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), Center faculty, current doctoral students, and alumni had a reunion dinner to reconnect and make new connections among the many generations that were in attendance. Pictured are (from left in front row): Dr. Robert Harmison (James Madison University), Dr. Nick Beck (private practice, Pensacola FL), and Karolina Wartolowicz (third year doctoral student); (from left in the back row): Carlie McGregor (third year doctoral student), Dr. Joey Raemaker (University of Notre Dame), Dr. Trent A. Petrie (UNT Center Director, Tess Palmateer (second year doctoral student), Andrew Walsh (first year doctoral student), Alan Chu (fifth year doctoral student), and Dr. Brian Yu (UC Davis).
Unlike psychologists or psychotherapists, ADHD coaches do not provide any therapy or treatment: their focus is only on daily functioning and behaviour aspects of the disorder. The ultimate goal of ADHD coaching is to help clients develop an "inner coach", a set of self-regulation and reflective planning skills to deal with daily life challenges. A 2010 study from Wayne State University evaluated the effectiveness of ADHD coaching on 110 students with ADHD. The research team concluded that the coaching "was highly effective in helping students improve executive functioning and related skills as measured by the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI)." Yet, not every ADHD person needs a coach and not everyone can benefit from using a coach.
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