In its current state of evolution sports psychology coaches can fulfill a variety of roles. These roles are generally broken down into three areas of specialization or categories. These would be research, teaching and consulting. Also, there are typically two objectives to consider when considering sport and exercise psychology. The first is how psychological factors affect physical performance for the individual and two… and how participation in physical activity affects one psychological development as well as their health and well-being. With that in mind it’s also important to remind you that various points along the way we will be referring to groups, clients, athletes or individuals and regardless of how we label the scenarios, the outcomes and executions of your skills are meant to be the same. We use the terms, sport and exercise psychology, as your author does, to encompass the broad field involving psychology in physical activity settings among those who participate. One of the main roles of an exercise of sport psychology coach is to conduct research and to share their findings with others in the field and to have it subject to peer review. But opportunities for the Sport Psychology Coach are broad and would include application by way of coaching, personal training, and wellness coaching or any of the other health and exercise related fields. Work is done either one-on-one or in group settings and will involve physical activity in some ways. Other opportunities for the sport psychology coach might include continuing education, whereby advanced degrees such as PhD, PsyD or EdD are offered and once graduate level work is completed, candidates can conduct teaching, research and consulting roles within the field.
One trend seen is that of simply recognizing the general knowledge and body of work already done in this specific area of interest. Many candidates have come to understand that this is a growing field and they are also learning what additional skills are required to be successful in this field – which means that the (Certified Sport Psychology Coach) CSPC is expected to have a background in exercise science but also some skills tied to consulting or coaching. For some, this has evolved into the need for students to challenge themselves with coursework that also takes into account good coaching principles as well as psychological concepts.
It’s a really good question to ask: Why sport psychology? Why do we need sport psychology in the first place? Anyone who has worked in a health club or sports environment would agree that those who participate in these settings bring a lot of differences or diversity to the equation. Furthermore we have to understand the impact of participation on characteristic traits, such as personality or personal development.
So clients who have compliance issues, or those who can’t stick to an exercise program, for example, would benefit from knowing some psychological techniques that help coaches better understand the participant or to apply techniques, shown through research, to help get around obstacles or ways to correct problems.
We also have to understand that there are people who do not want to engage in physical activity and of course, there are those who do it for what they perceive to be an improvement to their life quality – but sometimes we see participation occurring for the wrong reasons and we need to understand the motivations behind behavior.
For us to be successful as a coach or for our team players to be successful as a unit – or for an individual to attain success or to hit a goal, we have to be sure that the exerciser or participant has the confidence level required to hit that mark. As a CSPC, you will help facilitate that goal.
Whether you become a coach, or a fitness leader, a PE facilitator or athletic trainer, there are different scenarios that may require you to have a better understanding of the participants of those you are working with in order to achieve success. There will also be other problems and practical concerns that you must also overcome as a coach.
In this particular program, we strive teach you to not only understand these behaviors and what and their roots are, but how to work around them. As it’s been mentioned, anyone can use this program –from a coach, to a physical education instructor or an exercise leader….or even a player. Or, it may be an athlete who needs to understand the psychological root of some of their behaviors. So the applications for this program reach into multiple areas of interest. But what can you expect for the role of the CSPC going forward?
NESTA’s sister school, the Spencer Institute offers you a complete online training and certification program in sports psychology.
You can also earn a sport psychology degree from Wexford University.