Sports psychologists deal with the mental aspect of the performance of athletes. At the elite sports level, the difference between the best and second best is often a function of mental conditioning, drive, determination and focus. To excel at this level the sportsman or woman needs help to get into a frame of mind that puts him or her a few seconds faster than the rest of the pack. Sports psychologists are trained to help their clients in this way. To become a sports psychologists, you can have a traditional psychology degree with the appropriate certification(s) with additional sports psychology certification, experience or training. You can also specifically get graduate education in sports psychology at the masters or doctoral level. Associated professionals such as coaches, psychiatrists, retired professional athletes, psychologists in other specialties can also receive specialization fellowship training from the American Board of Sports Psychology.
Sports Pschology Graduate Programs
According to gradschools.com, an online database of graduate schools, there are 62 sports psychology graduate programs in the United States. Of these, 49 are on-campus programs while 13 are online. Seven of these programs offer certificate programs in sports psychology, 17 confer doctorate degrees and 56 confer masters degrees, 46 of which are on-campus masters in sports psychology programs. These programs are in 19 states with California having the most schools (12 in all).
Here are a few of the schools in no particular order.
- Adler School of Professional Psychology
- Argosy University
- San Diego State University
- Seton Hall University
- University of Texas of the Permian Basin
- San Diego University for Integrative Studies
- Minnesota State University Mankato
- Florida State University
- University of Denver
- University of Tennessee Knoxville
A Note on Rankings
One of the many important questions on your mind may be what schools have the best degrees for masters in sports psychology? While rankings are very popular, especially for colleges and some undergraduate as well as professional programs, these rankings should not be the the most important to you while searching for a sports psychology masters program. Instead pay attention to things like your research interests, whether you are interested in research or applied sports psychology, where you want to live, which program(s) may be a good fit and have faculty with similar interests as you. In fact Phd.org, a website that collects information on all things graduate programs, advises that you build your own rankings based on the things that are important to you. Consequently the website has a number of such criteria collected on graduate programs and you can in turn use this tool to build a personal ranking based on your own criteria.