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Sports Psychology Graduate Program
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We watch the performances of our professional and Olympian athletes with awe and respect. Their talent and courage often leave us breathless with admiration. Their physical skills are enormous and their bodies are fit, especially since there are usually a number of trainers, coaches and medics on hand to help keep them fit.
Although in the past therapy for athletes seemed to be focused strictly on muscular and skeletal concerns, there has more recently been a surge of attention on the mental and emotional aspects of sports training. Now professionals--and recreational athletes, too--are adding another dimension to their training. Besides the push-ups and rubdowns they are learning to focus and set goals. For this they look to the services of a sports psychologist.
The field of sports psychology is relatively new, and the number of degree and post-degree programs is growing fast. For anyone with an interest in both sports and psychology it's an excellent jumping-off place for career exploration. Starting out, you'll find a great many degree programs available. Once you have a short list of schools and programs in which you are interested, research each of them carefully, to be certain you will be getting an in-depth education, a wealth of knowledge and hands-on training in addition to a degree. If you are serious about going on to a career you should talk to people in the field, especially professors who teach related topics, athletes and practicing sports psychologists, before making a commitment to any program.
There are multiple career paths for the holder of a Master's degree in sports psychology. You could write, teach, or even work with athletes. But if you want to pursue a high-level practice, go for your Ph.D and hang out your shingle. Once established, you could still write or teach.
The best sports psychologists agree that in order to be effective, they must be diligent about certain basics: be creative and imaginative, stay motivated, keep focused, concentrate, learn to relax and be optimistic. Sounds pretty much like what they train their clients to do.