How to Become a Sports Psychologist in India?

Published On: February 20, 2023
Sports Psychologist

Are you an athlete looking to hone a technical skill? For instance, bowling yorkers in cricket, practicing the bicycle kick in football, suddenly changing direction in Kho Kho, foot touching in kabaddi… What would you do?

You will work with your coach to break down your technique, then practice and improve your skill.

But what if you need help with your mental game?

Many athletes do nothing and leave everything up to luck. However, the finest of the best athletes do not make this mistake. They accept responsibility and concentrate on improving their mental health by seeking help from a trained sports psychologist.

Sports psychologists work with athletes in the following three ways: –

● Provide clinical counselling to amateur and professional athletes
● Research on developing new tactics
● Educate the players, coaches, and their family members and work towards building an ideal environment for the athlete to perform at their best.

Before we get into how to become a sports psychologist, let’s understand what is sports psychology, who is a sports psychologist, how to become a sports psychologist, the roles and responsibilities of a sports psychologist, the skills that sports psychologists must have, and conclude with five advantages of becoming a sports psychologist.

What is Sports Psychology?

Sports psychology is the study of the character, personality, behaviour, mind, and emotion of an athlete, as these factors have a significant impact on athletic performance and physical activity.

An athlete’s mental requirements are as significant as his or her physical requirements. As a result, mental conditioning and sports psychology are important components of any athlete’s training regimen.

It is seen that athletes who properly train their minds give their best more consistently, experience greater joy, and increase their odds of winning a particular match.

Now let’s get to know more about ‘Sports Psychologists’—the ones who practice the profession of sports psychology.

Who is a Sports Psychologist?

Sports psychologists are the trained psychology professionals who specialise in helping players and teams develop mental toughness. They achieve this by using a variety of cognitive exercises and frequent counselling sessions.

Sports psychologists comprehend the psychological condition and, through repeated sessions, reduce their anxiety levels, helping them to build confidence. They not only train athletes but also train young talents who desire to play professionally. These include children, teens, and, in some cases, specially-abled athletes.

This was the gist of what sports psychology is and who a sports psychologist is. If you’re intrigued by what a sports psychologist can do and are looking forward to becoming a sports psychologist in India, you may be wondering about the education and training requirements. Then that is exactly what we will cover below.

How to Become a Sports Psychologist in India?

Sports psychology is a specialised branch of psychology, and since there are handful colleges or institutes that offer a mainstream degree in sports psychology, you need to have a bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.Sc.) in psychology. You must have a degree in psychology to pursue a career as a sports psychologist.

Once you’re done with the bachelor’s degree, you can either opt for further studies or start your practice. If you opt for further studies, you need to enroll in a M.A. or MSc. in Sports Psychology. There are several universities that are now offering full-time, 2-year postgraduate degrees in sports psychology.

After pursuing your master’s, you can also enroll for an M.Phil. in sports psychology. Another option most frequently chosen by aspirants is to work with athletes and sporting organisations or pursue a doctorate in sports psychology.

To apply for a sports psychology degree, you need to adhere to the rules set by the university. In India, many sports psychologists hold advanced degrees in psychology or sports psychology, with the most common degree being a master’s or doctorate degree.

By obtaining a degree in these areas, aspiring sports psychologists can develop the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work in this exciting field. But what about how much you’ll earn after receiving a formal education?

Let’s find out.

How much will a Sports Psychologist earn in India?

The starting salary of sports psychologists may not be as high as one would expect it to be. However, it ranges from ₹15,000 to ₹50,000 per month. Nevertheless, once you’ve established yourself as a skilled sports psychologist, you can always expect to be in demand and earn more than a decent income.

With a solid foundation in their academic education, sports psychologists are able to take on the diverse and complex roles and responsibilities that come with their work.

Let’s now delve into some of the key roles and responsibilities of a sports psychologist.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a sports psychologist?

The roles and responsibilities of a sports psychologist are multifaceted. The main responsibility of a sports psychologist is to:
● Help athletes enhance their performance.
● Help athletes enjoy the game to the fullest.
● Teach athletes mental skills.
● Help athletes mentally recover quickly from injuries.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a sports psychologist

Help athletes enhance their performance: The psychologist will help the athlete develop a winning mindset, teach them how to manage their emotions, and show them ways to give their best. The psychologist will also help the athlete set realistic and achievable goals so that they can achieve them, thereby helping them maintain a positive mindset.

Help athletes enjoy the game to the fullest: The psychologist will help the athletes build a positive mindset and resilience. The sports psychologist will teach them effective ways to manage stress and anxiety. By enhancing the athlete’s enjoyment of the game, they are inevitably helping them perform better and achieve greater success.

Teach athletes mental skills: A sports psychologist will do a one-on-one counselling session with the athletes and conduct workshops to teach them various mental skills. The sports psychologist will closely work with the coaches, family, and friends of the athletes to learn the deep-rooted issues, if any, and teach them techniques that will help the athlete overcome the obstacles. They will also teach the athletes how to concentrate on the task at hand and avoid distractions.

Help athletes mentally recover quickly from injuries: Getting injured can foster a lot of negative emotions and can be very demotivating for the athlete. The sports psychologist will help the athlete cope with these emotions by teaching new relaxation techniques and helping to maintain their emotional state. The sports psychologist will help the athlete reframe the negative thoughts and create a more positive outlook on life.

That being said, let’s now have a detailed look at some of the skill sets that a sports psychologist must have.

What are the skills that sports psychologists must have?

Sports psychology is a highly specialised field that requires a unique combination of skills and expertise in order to work effectively with players, coaches, and teams.

Some of the key skills that a sports psychologist must possess are: –
● Excellent communication skills
● Knowledge of sports and games
● Empathy & compassion
● Problem-solving skills
● Cultural competence

Skill every Sports Psychologist have

Excellent communication skills: The sports psychologist should be able to communicate clearly with the players in order to establish trust and build rapport. Only with their excellent skills will they be able to help the players overcome obstacles and grow.

Knowledge of sports and games: It would really help if the psychologist is a sports player and is aware of the challenges that players face. Also, an understanding of sport and exercise science is a must, as this understanding will help them develop strategies to optimise the athlete’s performance and try new tactics that will help manage stress and anxiety.

Empathy & compassion: Sports psychologists must be able to empathise with the challenges faced by players and teams. They should provide compassionate support and guidance during the athlete’s tough time.

Problem-solving skills: They should be able to think creatively and develop strategies to help the athletes overcome obstacles, manage stress, and achieve their goals.

Cultural competence: As they will have to deal with players and teams from different cultural backgrounds, they should be eager to learn more about various cultures and have a clear understanding of the cultural effects on the lives of athletes.

Now that we have cleared up how to become a sports psychologist and the skills that sports psychologists must have, let’s conclude with the advantages of becoming a sports psychologist.

What are the advantages of becoming a sports psychologist?

The field of sports psychology is relatively new and growing, and it offers unique advantages for those interested in pursuing a career in this area.

The main advantages of becoming a sports psychologist are as follows: –
● Specialise in sports psychology.
● Opportunity to make athletes mentally robust.
● Accompany the athletes or teams.
● Growing career field.
● Start your own practice.

Advantages of becoming a sports psychologist

Specialising in sports psychology: When it comes to professional career pathways, everyone wants options, and becoming a sports psychologist gives you just that. There are several job options available after completing sports psychology. These include practical sports psychology, clinical sports psychology, and academic sports psychology.

Opportunity to make athletes mentally robust: As a sports psychologist, you do more than train them to keep calm under duress. You will also be able to work with the entire team and teach them ways to be emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy. These lessons will have a positive impact on the lives of the athletes.

Accompany the athletes or teams: If you work for a sports team, you will almost certainly be required to travel with them. This implies that you might have to keep them motivated and stress-free before the match so they can give their best.

Growing career field: If you want to build an impressive resume, then you will have to put in a lot of effort and hard work throughout the early years. A master’s degree is necessary to work as a sports psychologist. You have a plethora of options to pursue after completing your undergraduate degree in psychology.

Start your own practice: As a sports psychologist, you can start your own clinic or undertake research in addition to supporting a sports team. This means you can arrange your day and never be bored since there is always something new to learn and someone who needs your assistance.

Though these advantages may seem appealing to some, becoming a sports psychologist means you will have to put in those extra years of study, practice, and dedication.

To sum it up
This was an in-depth blog on how to become a sports psychologist and the details you should be aware of if you want to pursue a career in sports psychology. So, if you are truly interested in a career in sports and have always wondered how the human mind works, a career in sports psychology is extremely rewarding and one you should pursue.

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