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For people who are a sports psychologist, If I were interested in pursuing your career, what classes do you think I should be taking in high school? What extracurricular activities should I pursue?

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Rahat’s Answer

Hi Jade. Thank you for your question.

In high school, there isn't much you can do to prepare for a career in sports psychology because the classes needed are more advanced. For the time being, take as many psychology classes as possible. My high school offered AP psychology, and I would have taken that. In addition take biology, peer counseling/counseling classes (this can help in understanding a person's mind development), and get involved with sports. It would be an added value to connect the two through personal experience.

Now the most important time to focus on how you can become a sports psychologist is during college. Here are some suggestions to prepare you for it. First and foremost, pick a school that has a major that pertains to sports psychology. Many schools will have psychology or kinesiology as a major, but try and find one that has an emphasis in sports. Secondly, know that most, if not all, sports psychology positions require a master’s or doctoral degree in clinical, counseling or sport psychology.

Before getting your masters or doctoral degree, you will need to find the right college for you. While there isn't a specific major in sports psychology, try picking a major that is relevant to this career, such as: psychology, physiology, kinesiology, etc. Even then, additional classes in kinesiology, physiology, sports medicine, business and marketing are required. Direct training and experience in applying psychology to sports and exercise is a must. The good news is, due to sport psychology’s recent rise in popularity, a few schools have begun to offer it as a concentration.

Sport and performance psychologists can also choose to specialize in a particular area. Specialties include:

(1) Applied sport psychology (teaching skills to enhance athletic performance such as goal-setting and imagery);
(2) Clinical sport psychology (combining mental training strategies from sport psychology with psychotherapy to help clients with mental health problems); and
(3) Academic sport psychology (teaching at colleges and universities and conducting research).

There are many opportunities for a sport and performance psychologist with an advanced degree. These can be anything from a NASCAR psychologist critiquing a pit-crew drill to counseling an engineer struggling with depression to a Cirque de Soleil psychologist helping performers overcome fear, recover from fatigue or injury and cope with the pressure of preparing for a show.

During your first semester/quarter in college, it will be vital to see a career counselor at your college in order to get the exact requirements and classes needed to graduate in the fields listed above. Also, there will be specific requirements in applying to a masters or doctoral degree program. Be sure to discuss your aspirations of continuing your education post-undergrad in order for the career counselor to guide you in the right direction.

I hope this was helpful! Good luck!

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Keana’s Answer

I'm a communications supervisor for a health acre company. A list of classes that would be beneficial to take would be business management courses, writing courses, and any courses that would help hone your skills for detail, accuracy and focus.