This article provides an overview of the doctorate of sports psychology degree program, some of the subject matters and courses that are covered in the degree, and why completing this degree may be a wise career move. It also presents a high-quality, online doctorate of sports psychology program that you might want to consider.
What Is a Doctorate of Sports Psychology?
There is no secret in the fact that people in this country love sports and that it makes a significant contribution to our economy. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers has stated that, through 2017, revenue from the sports industry is expected to rise by around 4.8%, totaling around $68 billion. Furthermore, Plunkett Research has looked into the national sports market, reviewing revenue from endorsements, advertising, ticket sales, and more, and they estimated that the industry generates around $470 billion per year.
Clearly, with such a lucrative multi-billion dollar industry, there is also tremendous pressure on everybody in the industry to perform properly. Coaches are there to ensure that physical abilities are at their best, and sports psychologists are equally important as they provide various methods to help players in having the right mindset to achieve their goals. They can help with certain issues, such as injury challenges or performance anxiety, and they can help them to change those behaviors that are barriers to success.
The American Psychological Association (APA) states that sports psychologists have the task of ensuring that professional and amateur athletes remain motivated and have the skills to relax and control stress. In addition, they help them set goals and improve their self-confidence through visualization exercises. Furthermore, sports psychologists often work on increasing the levels of sports participation across all age groups.
Why Earn a Doctorate of Sports Psychology?
If you wish to become a sports psychologist, you can start by completing an undergraduate degree in exercise science or psychology. You then move on to a graduate degree in sports psychology, or in clinical psychology, counseling, or another such area. To be able to practice as a psychologist, however, you must be licensed and this requires a doctorate degree.
Each state has its own licensure requirements. However, it is common for would-be psychologists to have to undergo an internship. Additionally, they must be able to demonstrate communication, problem solving, and analytical skills. And they must also be trustworthy and patient.
Those who hold a doctorate degree know that life is one big learning journey and are therefore committed to continuous education. These courses are available through the APA, and also through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. The latter also offers a certification process.
Upon completion of their degree, graduates can work with professional and college teams, or with individual athletes. They often combine motivational speaking, research, counseling, and clinical psychology. They often place an emphasis on visualization, goal setting, and motivational skills. Additionally, they help to diagnose, assess, and treat mental illnesses common in sports professionals, including performance anxiety, eating disorders, and depression.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists had a median salary of $75,230 per year as of May 2016. They also report that there will be a 19% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 2024, which is much faster than the national average.
Online Option for Doctorate of Sports Psychology
University of the Rockies
If you are interested in earning a doctorate of sports psychology, you may want to consider the Doctor of Psychology, Sport and Performance Psychology program offered by the University of the Rockies. This degree program is 100% online and is designed to empower individuals and teams with the strategies they need to enhance their performance. The focus of the degree is on performance enhancement. It achieves this through a wide and diverse doctoral curriculum, which helps the students create a peak experience, self-mastery, awareness, and actualization for individuals and teams alike.
Students take part in various advanced seminars and courses in mind-body practices, cultural diversity, coaching, and human development. This ensures that graduates have the skills and knowledge to develop the techniques required to help people become more effective in their sports. It is a terminal degree that equips graduates with the ability to work in research or academics, or become a consultant.
This is a PsyD program and it is built on the curriculum of the Master of Arts in Psychology, Sports and Performance Psychology Specialization. It adds an intense research component, as well as showing students how to properly apply their skills and knowledge. Furthermore, research skills are enhanced by guiding people to propose, write, and defend their dissertation or applied doctoral project. The degree program is not for licensing nor credentialing. It is a research degree, rather than a practical and clinical degree. That said, in some states outside of Colorado, the degree may meet the relevant licensure or credentialing requirements. However, students will need to check on this themselves before they enroll in the program.
Core courses for the degree include:
- Psychology of Leadership
- Scholarly Argument
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Adult Psychopathology and Treatment
- Group Process and Group Leadership in Organizations
- Advanced Research Methods
- Advanced Tests and Measurements
- Advanced Statistics
- Assessment of Personality for Organizational Leadership
- Advanced Performance Enhancement: Core Mind-Body Practices
- Advanced Psychomotor Development and Kinesiology
- Advanced Performance Enhancement: Integrative Mind-Body Practices
- Rehabilitation in Sports and Performance
- Sports and Performance Psychology as a Business
- Advanced Group Dynamics in Sports and Performance Settings
- Advanced Performance Enhancement: The Psychology of Peak Experience
Students must also complete a doctoral capstone seminar, an applied doctoral project, and a dissertation.
Upon completion of the degree, graduates have the opportunity to take on a variety of professional positions. These include:
- College team psychologist
- Clinical sports psychologist
- Sports consultant
As you can see, completing a doctorate of sports psychology is a great way to drive your career forward. You will have an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the psychological drivers for professional and amateur athletes alike, while at the same time helping to increase participation in sports. This could potentially benefit the country as a whole, making it more likely for people to be involved in physical activity and thereby becoming healthier in the process. By completing a doctorate degree, you will also set yourself apart as a leader and expert in your field, something that you can take significant personal pride in.
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- Psychologists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Sport and Performance Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rockies.edu/degrees/psyd-sport-performance-psychology.htm
- PwC Outlook for the Global Sports Market to 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/hospitality-leisure/publications/changing-the-game-outlook-for-the-global-sports-market-to-2015.html
- Sports Industry, Teams, Leagues & Recreation Market Research. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.plunkettresearch.com/industries/sports-recreation-leisure-market-research/
- Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/about/division/div47.aspx
- Association for Applied Sport Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/