Athletes perform under enormous pressure. They must recover from mistakes
quickly and perform well under all conditions. Mental preparation can often
make the difference between the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.
Sport psychologists help athletes use psychological principles to improve
performance. They also study how participation in sports, exercise and physical
activity affects psychological development, health and well-being.
Academic sport psychologists teach and conduct research. They usually
teach at colleges and universities and train sport psychology students. They
may also help athletes, teams and coaches.
Applied sport psychologists focus on professional practice and
actual sport settings. Typically, they assist athletes with performance enhancement
issues. They provide workshops for coaches and administrators or function
as consultants to teams.
Some sport psychologists have their own clinics and see athletes as well
as other patients. Or they may be employed by professional sports teams or
teach in universities.
Because of the limited number of full-time positions, many work part time
and keep evening or weekend hours to accommodate patients.