Published on 26 May 2023

10 Pros And Cons Of Being A Sports Psychologist

Behavioral Psychology 10-Pros-and-Cons-of-Being-a-Sports-Psychologist
Table of Contents

People worldwide deal with mood and behavior changes. Everything that happens in a person is directly connected through the mind. As per the research, 90% of People deal with four personalities: being pessimistic, Optimistic, envious, and trusting.

Human psychology deals with the mind and human behavior. But when it comes to proficiency in a single stream of work, a sports psychologist plays a vital role in strengthening athletes' minds.

Sports is an activity where the athlete should be fully focused and attentive in the game. One-second blackout can also make a massive difference in the performance. Know more about it in detail about sports psychologist and their pros and cons.

What is Sports psychology?

Sports psychology covers a broad spectrum of subjects, including the drive to perceive and succeed, sports injury and recovery, counseling athletes, talent judgment, exercise commitment and overall well-being, self-perception about achievement, expertise development in sports, performance enhancement, and self-regulation techniques.

A sports psychologist is an expert who concentrates on an athlete's physical and mental aspects. Sports psychologists blend their Expertise in psychology with their understanding of physiology and kinesiology to assess and address mental health challenges that impact athletes.

Pros of Sports Psychologists

As every career path has its positive aspects, you can have the advantages of being a sports psychologist in terms of sports psychology.

1. Well-payed job

The basic salary of an entry-level psychologist is good enough. If the Psychologist has experience of anywhere between 1-4 years can expect an annual income of around $70,000. Experience is essential; your salary will increase as you grow and work in the industry.

If a psychologist has an experience between 5-9 years, they can expect a salary of between $75000- $78000. Once you are experienced more than 10 years, your salary can be hiked up from $96,000 to $1,00,000. It is one of the top pros of a sports psychologist.

2. Options to choose different Expertise

It's a great pro when you have different choices in your career. Being an expert in one can be an enormous boon for any psychologist. It can help psychologists enhance and is specialized in a particular field. Sports psychology includes three different options:

  • Applied sports psychology: In this, psychologists would help athletes by teaching skills to enhance their performance.
  • Academic sports psychology: The Psychologist would teach at a school or university level, which will be executed after the research.
  • Clinical sports psychology: The Psychologist will be working on curing the mental health problems going through the athlete's mind, such as anxiety or depression. The Psychologist will be using two techniques, cognitive and psychotherapy, on the athlete for a cure.

3. Wide variety of areas

Sports psychologists can work in their chosen areas using their specialized Education. A psychologist can select their sites to work on, such as working in schools or universities; they can work with athletes or any team as a mental health expert and work on team building. Another way a sports psychologist can work as a mental health provider in the medicinal clinic or practice in their private clinic.

4. Psychologists would be solely responsible for the day's plan

One of the most exciting parts of being a sports psychologist is that they can be their boss if they have their private consultancy or they do their practice. But to get this kind of free hand, you should complete a Ph.D. The perks of being a sports psychologist are to schedule client meetings as per your availability and plan your day according to your preferences.

5. Sports Psychologists can never face boredom.

Enjoying work is the best kind of work any person would wish for. The Psychologist would spend each day differently. One day you might be working with an athlete facing mental issues, and another day, you might spend time with the team assisting in team building. On another day, you might help an athlete facing an emotional phase of life due to injury.

6. Psychologists can roam within the country or worldwide

The best part of being a sports psychologist is that you will be paid for traveling around the country. You will be experiencing a different atmosphere by roaming and working with the team or an athlete. With the experience, you may also get a chance to explore the world with the team.

7. Psychologists can help others to better their game

A sports psychologist is a type of lead warrior who makes their soldiers the strongest with the help of skills. They help through an athlete's emotional, mental, and physical aspects. Psychologists' core motive is helping the lives of athletes and changing their perspectives from negative to positive.

8. Psychologists can work with famous people

Many psychologists can work at the college or university level, but only a few get to work with profound and well-known celebrities. It all depends on the opportunities you get in life and your career choices through the psychological journey.

9. Sports Psychology is a Prestigious career

It is prestigious for you or your near ones when you achieve in life. If you hold a master's degree in psychology, you will automatically gain a prestigious moment. If a psychologist goes for Ph.D., then it adds more value to their career and life wherein they will put more than their capabilities and work harder.

10. Psychologists will have autonomy

Sports psychologist works in the field and has freedom in practice. Psychologists can manage their clients according to their availability and spread knowledge to them as per their needs. This is termed a pro or a con per their Psychologist's career.

Con's of Sports Psychologists

As everything has a negative aspect, Sports psychology too deals with cons. Below mentioned are the disadvantages of sports psychology.

1. Researching for a sports psychology school for a degree

Finding a school that offers a degree in sports psychology is a bit difficult as few colleges have a sports psychology subject. Sports psychology is getting hyped up, and some institutes provide a degree. Selecting the type of psychology is a task that may end up in confusion because you have chosen the wrong psychology path. So it is a con wherein you would be in a confused state of mind.

2. Atleast a Master's degree is mandatory

For the sports psychologist to be well established in the industry, the person should complete the graduation first. To let themself on the safer side to build more confidence and authority to be in the psychology field, they should pursue a master's degree as well.

3. Ph.D. would be additional leverage to be in the job market

To be settled in a psychological field, a master's degree doesn't work to be authoritative to be in the job market. A doctorate adds more value to your career as there would be more practice and research. You would be assigned to a particular position. It has a lot of hard work to complete a doctorate, which eventually keeps you on a level up than people who have met their master's.

4 Hands-on training

Not just a degree would help you through getting a job. Getting enough training is an essential aspect. The training can last for anywhere between 6 to 24 months, mostly which is an unpaid job. But this would help you through excelling in your future career.

5. Costing of becoming a sports psychologist

Becoming a sports psychologist would cost between $18000 to $60,000. The cost would depend on different institutes and their particular courses. If you want to pursue from the University of Houston, the price will vary; if you are an in-state student, it would cost around $18000, and if you are an out-of-state student, it would cost $27000. Yale University would annually cost you around $60,000.

For a master's degree, Stanford University will cost you around $51,000, and Boston University would cost you around $57,000.

For Ph.D., tuition and fees would be around $11,000 to $45,000. It will vary according to different schools.

6. Dissertation is mandatory

If you have decided to opt for a Ph.D., you should be doing a dissertation and have to write and defend your thesis. A Thesis will contain thorough research and complete analysis. Hours and months of research will make you a successful Ph.D. holder. A twist for it is that you might end up not completing your thesis entirely for the first time.

7. Licensure exams

For practicing sports psychology, writing a Licensure exam is mandatory. You have to pass the exam, but for that, you should be fulfilling the required requirements. Each state has different needs. The basic requirements for the licensure exam are to complete a master's degree, a Ph.D., and some of the on-ground work (Internship).

To attempt the exam, there is a sum of the amount you have to pay. You will be given a license if you pass the exam with good grades. The request should be renewed every 2 to 3 years. You cannot work in sports psychology if you do not have a valid license.

8. Irregular hours of working

Sports psychologists also deal with working hours, as the job is not like a usual 9-5. The services can be needed at any moment, not just when the athlete is in a good mood. There are circumstances where the team or a particular athlete needs guidance and help to get mental health stability through the tournament. So there might not be fixed holidays or vacations that can be taken.

9. Traveling a lot throughout the year

As traveling can also be a boon, it can be a con to a sports psychologist. There might be moments when you have to travel with the team and help the athlete cope with the mental drain. You might miss your family and spending time with your friends. You might compromise with your self-time.

10. Emotionally drained out

Sports psychologists can become emotionally drained due to hearing problems and crises the team or an athlete has faced. This burns out the emotional aspect of a sports psychologist. So the bar is in your court to decide all the given disadvantages and choose the best for yourself as a sports psychologist.

Skills Required for a Sports Psychologist

A sports psychologist must have soft and hard skills. Combining both skills helps a psychologist build trust and close relationships with athletes. Below mentioned are the skills that would be required.


Communication is the key to expressing your thoughts with the athlete. Interaction should be strong so there would be no problem understanding techniques and the demonstration.


Listening helps sports psychologist to understand the feelings of the athletes. This allows the Psychologist to understand and relate to things the athlete is suffering from and advise effectively.

Solving Disputes

This is a mandatory skill a sports psychologist should have. There are instances where minor disputes between athletes or players can affect the entire game. In this instance, sports psychologists should have effective solutions to solve the problem.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques help athletes calm themselves down during intense or pressure situations. Sports psychologists use this technique to ensure the athlete has a focused mindset during the game.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Being a sports psychologist is not an easy job. The person opting for sports psychology should be mentally fit and aware of the solutions they would be given. They face a lot, and there are pros regarding the job.

Before becoming a sports psychologist, you should know all the pros and cons. Do get counseling or suggestions from people who have completed their Education in psychology; they can guide you if you are confused.

Frequently asked questions

The significant concern of a sports psychologist is to help athletes in their mental phase and improve performance.
For a Doctorate, a person can take around four to seven years.
The three essential types of sports psychologist goals are performance and outcome.