The field of sports psychology studies the how participation in sports and exercise works with a person’s psychological and mental capacities. By getting a master’s degree in sports management, with a focus on psychology, students prepare for a career that combines athletics with psychological science. Classes prepare students for licensing, and build upon the foundation psychology classes they took as part of a bachelor’s degree program.
Specific topics students cover in their classes include performance, emotional management, client counseling, research, self-awareness and perception, leadership and teamwork, anatomy, chemistry, ethics and law, motivation, pharmaceuticals, assessing talent, confidence, the use of rituals, visualization, and relaxation. Students may also take general management or administrative courses. Students can pursue other areas of sports management such as athletic administration as well as sports and health.
A variety of careers are available in the field of sports psychology. First, students can work in research, studying how team participation and individual sports affect a person mentally and how these findings can be applied to treat mental health conditions, as well as how exercise influences mental health.
Graduates can also work as a sports counselor, helping teams mentally prepare for games, set realistic goals, deal with losses and injuries, and apply what they learn on the field to everyday life situations. Students can also work directly with coaches, helping them learn more effective ways to motivate their teams.
With an MA in sports psychology, students can work in the following settings::
According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for a psychologist was $72,540 as of 2010. The Indeed.com reports annual wages for sports psychologist at $92,000 in 2011. Top sports psychologists, who work with individual sports stars or professional sports teams, can make well over six figures annually.
The annual salary for a sports psychologist varies depending on organization and geographic location. Also, working for a large athletic association will likely pay more. However, these jobs are competitive and hiring is sporadic. Extra income can be earned by consulting, conducting research, writing books, and teaching classes.