Top Reasons You Should Consider a Job in Sports and Exercise Psychology

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It doesn’t take an overly keen pair of eyes to look around and realise that we live in a very sports-orientated generation. For perspective, the sports activities sector in the United Kingdom, including everything from ticket sales to the merchandise sold by sporting goods retailers, generates a total revenue of approximately 23.4 billion pounds sterling.

Looking at this figure, it is no surprise that the sports activities sector is one of the most prosperous and prominent industries in the business world. Such a market commands a large pool of career opportunities, from athletes, sports coaches, sports development officers, sports lawyers, sports therapists, and sports physiotherapists.

One area of the sports activities sector that is most demanding is sports psychology to address sports performance and mental health concerns, not just for athletes but the whole population. So, rest assured, for those looking for a career in sports and exercise psychology, the demand is there. Below we list several of the top reasons for considering a job in this sector:

Enjoy The Reward Of Helping People

Popular to contrary belief, anyone can reap the benefits that sports psychology provides – not just athletes! In short, sports psychology is a science that draws on knowledge from many related fields, including physiology, psychology, kinesiology, and biomechanics.

Using the knowledge across all these fields, a sports psychotherapist studies how an individual’s mental and emotional state can affect their performance in sport or exercise and how participation in these activities can affect psychological and physical factors.

A different day brings a different challenge in the life of a sports psychotherapist. One day they could be supporting a professional runner as they work to regain their confidence post-injury, and the next, they could be helping an amateur athlete who has trouble communicating with teammates.

Although faced with entirely different daily scenarios, a common theme among them is helping. Since the primary goal of sports psychotherapists is to help people, they enjoy one of life’s most significant rewards: assisting people to get back on their feet and do what they love.

Not only does this feeling satisfy individuals from a career perspective, but helping others and showing kindness releases feel-good chemicals in our brains which activate its ‘reward centre’, contributing to the overall feeling of a job well done and considering a career in this sector you can enjoy this reward too.

Earn A Competitive Salary

Not everything is about monetary gain regarding your career, but it sure doesn’t go amiss! Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of studying sports psychology is the competitive salary you can expect to receive upon completing your studies.

Although salary can vary depending on the type of employer and the level of expertise of the sports psychotherapist, on average, individuals with a career in this field can expect to take home around £20,000 to £22,000 as a starting salary.

More experienced sports phycologists can earn around £27,000 to £37,000, and those with a senior or head of department role can earn up to £48,000 or more. However, the salary a sports phycologist receives is influenced by many factors and can be subject to fluctuation.

Generally, the salaries of those employed by professional athletic clubs or national governing bodies tend to be higher than those at an amateur level. But, to achieve this, those who apply generally must have completed a sports psychology degree to a bachelor’s level and beyond.

Fortunately, many institutions offer sports psychology courses from BSc level to MSc, aiming to arm prospective entrants into the field with the necessary skills and knowledge to secure these higher-paying roles.

To learn more about a sports psychology degree, visit the website of providers such as the University of Stirling, where you can find student testimonials, pricing, course outlines and much more. Consider visiting their site or enquiring today for more information about their sports psychology programs.  

Work As Part Of A Team

Typically, people enlist the services of a phycologist because they’re experiencing a problem they want to seek professional help for. Our minds then conjure up the image of two people sitting across from each other in an office, talking out the issue the other is experiencing with little input from the outside world.

However, this is not the case when it comes to sports psychology. One of the biggest reasons individuals pursue this line of work is the prospect of being involved in a team culture. As well as working alongside work colleagues, sports phycologists may also have to work with athletes, sports coaches, and referees – meaning that teamwork is crucial.

Therefore, those who prefer to work alone might want to rethink whether a career in sports psychology is in their best interests. Being a good team player is the only way sports phycologists can ensure that they have their client’s best interests at heart and that they produce a solution that is guaranteed to work for them.

Choose From A Range Of Career Pathways

Another reason a sports and exercise psychology career is attractive is that individuals can choose various career pathways. Generally, a career in this field can take an individual down one of three routes: applied sports psychology, clinical sports psychology, or academic sports psychology, the difference between which are as follows:

  • Applied Sports Psychology – This focuses on studying and applying evidence-based performance-enhancing techniques, science, and counselling skills to help clients achieve optimal success in sports and exercise. Plus, how individuals can best enjoy these experiences.
  • Clinical Sports Psychology – This approach focuses on clients’ lifestyles and performance and identifies areas where help is needed. Based on the findings, the sports phycologist will then formulate a plan of action for targeting these weak areas for improvement.
  • Academic Sports Psychology – Those who choose a pathway in academic sports psychology often end up passing down their knowledge of the subject in an educational setting, often specialising in areas of the subject that interest them the most.

When looking for a career in sports and exercise psychology, keep some of the reasons mentioned in mind when looking for a job in this field.

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