I have been looking for support in sports psychology for so
long I almost cried when I found your sight. I received my M.A.
in psychological counseling in 1994. I am good at reading athletes
and what is confusing them regarding their performance. I have
helped mostly high school athletes. My step daughter is an athlete.
I used to be one and am picking that practice back up. I need
support knowing that there are other sports counselors and psychologists
I can talk to, network with, get more professional information
from. I feel so alone here in the "boon-docks" and
felt so relieved to read the qualities of a good sports psychologists
and found that I had all of those qualities. I was also relieved
to find that my practices match what was recommended in your
EXRX information, and that there was more I could do. My main
question is, "How do I become recognized as a specialist
in sports psychology?" What kind of certificate can I go
after and how do I go about getting it? Thanks for your time
Below is Marv's reply, if you have not received it directly.
Keep in mind, Marv refers to himself as a Performance Enhancement
In addition to Marv's suggestions, I would like to add: More
difficult than earning a degree from a University, you will need
to establish some sort of credibility with the sports community
you hope offer your expertise. Also see Important
Characteristics of Sports Psychologists.
(Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology)
site offers certification, but the criteria seems very stringent.
It appears the ability to market yourself as a sports psychologist
is the major achievement in being a sports psychologist, peak
performance consultant, or performance enhancement counselor,
as in Marv's case.
James Griffing, MS, BS
Thanks for your nice note. The only way I know of being recognized
as a sports psychologist is to attend a college or university
offering sports psychology degrees. Though I am not a sports
psychologist, I agree with their approach up to a certain point.
I do not believe sports psychologists are wrong, but perhaps
they are only half-right. There is more to performance enhancement
training than just visualization and other mental techniques.
My experience over many years has led to me to the conclusion
that athletes' personal issues must be resolved (or begin to
be resolved) in order for them to perform at their skill levels.
I'm working on a new book called "Mind Over Sports"
which, when it's completed, may be of interest to you.
If I can be of further help, be sure to let me know.
Like Molly, I was very happy to come across your site. I have
an MA in Health Education and an MA in Counselling Psychology.
I have taken several Sport Psych courses years ago as part of
my Health Education training (1985). I am presently going through
Certification in Hypnotherapy.
I am very interested in working with athletes on performance
enhancement and performance anxiety issues. I would love to get
a copy of your book but am also wondering if you might suggest
additional courses that would be helpfull.
Thank you very much for your time.
Thanks for your e-mail...if you'd like a copy of my book (on
CD-ROM) you can order it through ExRx.net and I'm sure James
will see to it that it gets shipped out to you.
I noticed you mentioned you have an interest in "hypnotherapy"...which
is great. But it's important that when you get into this field,
you have to be certain that your clients, in order for your sessions
to be effective, must be free of all issues and baggage they
may be carrying around that could negatively affect the effectiveness
of the process. In the meantime, I thought perhaps you might
be interested in receiving the enclosed attachments that deal
with visualization and meditation, which as you know, are very
similar to hypnotherapy...perhaps they could be of some value.
As for courses you might take, I really don't know what to
recommend other than those not only involving sports psychology,
but also clinical psychology as well since, in my opinion and
based on work I've done with athletes and sports teams, visualization
techniques and other forms of mental training are ineffective
if the athlete is encumbered with unresolved issues in his or
her life, which is why the clinical aspect is so important.
Hope this is of help...let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you very much. I agree with you about the necessity
of focussing on the athlete as a whole person who carries with
them many other things other than their sport performance. I
am a practicing therapist and am very comfortable with the work
that you talk about. I agree that visualization or any form of
mental rehearsal alone will not make a difference if there are
pressing issues that need to be adressed. I am just looking to
increase my knowledge in the sport psych area. Thank you
Hi. I have just graduated from high school and I am going
into college. As you know, sports psychology is a relatively
new field, and it's very difficult to find a school that has
that specific major. I am VERY interested in becoming a sports
psychologist, but the school that I am going to is a liberal
arts school and only has the standard major of psychology. There
are no sports medicine majors or anything like that. Do you have
any recommendations of what courses I should take other than
psychology to prepare myself for graduate school? Any advice
you could give me would be much appreciated.
Thanks for your time, Arielle
Thanks for your note. Should you decide to become a Sports
Psychologist, you should also be sure that you have a degree
in Clinical Psychology as well. As you're probably aware, the
field of psychology is very territorial...as a Sports Psychologist,
you're not allowed to delve ever so slightly into the problems
and personal issues of an athlete since that is considered the
domain of the Clinical Psychologist, and I've been told by the
head of a Midwestern University's Psychology Department that
if I obtained a degree in Sports Psychology and crossed over
the line and began helping athletes with their personal issues
and problems, that I could lose my license. And from my perspective,
helping an athlete resolve personal issues and problems in his
or her life is just as important, if not more important, than
teaching visualization and other forms of mental techniques.
After hearing this (I was once going to become a Sports Psychologist
myself), I decided to become a Performance Enhancement Trainer
(which is what I call myself) and that way, I can teach visualization
and other forms of mental rehearsal as well as help athletes
with their personal issues and problems.
I also found that before visualization and other mental techniques
can be effective, athletes must first look inside themselves
and resolve (or begin the process of resolving) important issues
in their lives that are affecting how they feel about themselves
and that are creating psychological baggage affecting their ability
to focus. Then, and only then, will visualization and other forms
of mental techniques be effective.
Hope this answers your question...good luck.
I can also suggest looking at the Exercise Science route.
After receiving an undergrad degree in psychology or exercise
science (as in my case), you can then apply for a graduate program
through a University's Kinesiology or Exercise Science Department.
Although I studied other disiplines within Exercise Science,
my own master's degree is in Kinesiology with an emphasis in
Sports and Exercise Psychology. I never went for a PhD though,
but they do offer these Sports Psychology programs in the Sports
and Exercise Science Departments at certain major Universities.
Volunteer for practicum work and find yourself a good internship,
since practical experience can be more important than the degree
in this line of work.