Sports Psychologist Job Description [Updated for 2024]

sports psychologist job description

In the realm of competitive sports, the focus on sports psychologists has never been more significant.

As the understanding of mental health and its impact on athletic performance grows, so does the demand for skilled professionals who can guide, enhance, and protect the mental well-being of our athletes.

But let’s dissect the role: What’s truly expected from a sports psychologist?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to grasp the intricacies of this role,
  • A hiring manager formulating the ideal candidate profile,
  • Or simply fascinated by the inner dynamics of sports psychology,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we introduce a customizable sports psychologist job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Sports Psychologist Duties and Responsibilities

Sports Psychologists work with athletes and sports teams to enhance their performance and motivation.

They use their specialist knowledge of psychology to provide mental health support, advice, and training.

Their main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assessing an athlete’s psychological readiness for competition and providing guidance to improve their mental performance
  • Developing psychological strategies to overcome performance anxiety and manage stress
  • Providing counseling and support to athletes dealing with issues such as injury, poor performance, or retirement
  • Working closely with coaches and trainers to develop plans that enhance an athlete’s mental resilience and overall well-being
  • Conducting research to better understand the psychological aspects of sports performance
  • Teaching techniques such as visualization, self-talk, and relaxation strategies to enhance performance
  • Implementing interventions to improve team dynamics and communication
  • Providing education and training on mental health issues in sports to athletes, coaches, and parents


Sports Psychologist Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are searching for a dedicated Sports Psychologist to join our team.

The responsibilities of the Sports Psychologist include providing psychological strategies and support to athletes, either individually or in groups, to improve their athletic performance.

You will be required to study an athlete’s mental response to their sport and provide techniques to manage issues such as anxiety, poor performance, and sports injuries.

The goal is to assist our athletes in achieving optimal mental wellness and enhancing their performance.



  • Assessing athletes’ mental well-being.
  • Identifying areas for improvement and developing training programs.
  • Implementing psychological strategies to improve athletic performance.
  • Helping athletes recover from sports injuries and deal with the associated mental stress.
  • Offering counseling services to athletes dealing with personal or career issues.
  • Working collaboratively with coaching staff to ensure mental strategies are integrated into practice and competition.
  • Conducting research to improve understanding of sports psychology.
  • Preparing athletes mentally for competitions.
  • Teaching relaxation exercises and mental workout routines.



  • A doctoral degree in Psychology, preferably with a focus on sports psychology.
  • Must be licensed or certified to practice psychology.
  • Proven experience as a Sports Psychologist.
  • Experience working with athletes and understanding their unique needs and challenges.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Empathy and good listening skills.
  • Knowledge of sport science and physical fitness.



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Sports Psychologist
  • Work Environment: This role may require working in various environments, including offices, gyms, athletic fields, and training centers. Some travel may be required for games and competitions.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Director of Sports Medicine or Head Coach.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $75,000 minimum to $125,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Sports Psychologist Do?

Sports Psychologists are specialized professionals who work with athletes to enhance their performance and psychological development.

They focus on the mental and emotional aspects of sports and physical activity.

They provide guidance and counseling to athletes, helping them overcome challenges, enhance their performance and achieve their goals.

Sports Psychologists work with athletes to manage stress and anxiety, improve concentration, increase motivation, boost confidence, and address any psychological issues that may affect the athletes’ performance.

They also help athletes cope with the pressures of competition and recover from injuries.

They may provide mental training, such as visualization, self-talk, and relaxation techniques.

In addition to working with athletes, Sports Psychologists can also work with coaches and sports teams to improve team dynamics and develop a positive team culture.

They often work in a variety of settings, including schools, colleges, professional sports teams, sports governing bodies, or private practice.

Furthermore, Sports Psychologists may conduct research, teach and provide consultation services to other professionals working in the field of sports and exercise.


Sports Psychologist Qualifications and Skills

A proficient sports psychologist should possess a range of skills and qualifications to aid athletes and sports teams in improving their mental and overall performance.

These include:

  • Master’s or Doctorate in Psychology, preferably with a focus on Sports Psychology, to understand the mental aspects of sports performance.
  • License to practice psychology and certification in sports psychology, ensuring adherence to professional standards and ethics.
  • Ability to assess and evaluate athletes’ mental health and determine the psychological factors affecting their performance.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills to connect with athletes, understanding their concerns, and providing them with effective psychological interventions.
  • Ability to teach mental skills such as goal setting, visualization, and relaxation techniques to help athletes enhance their performance.
  • Problem-solving skills to help athletes deal with issues like performance anxiety, stress, lack of motivation, and burnout.
  • Knowledge of sports and athletic performance, allowing them to tailor their approach to the specific demands of different sports.
  • Experience in counseling and therapeutic techniques to provide psychological support to athletes dealing with injuries, career transitions, and personal issues.
  • Skills in research and data analysis to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in sports psychology and apply evidence-based practices.


Sports Psychologist Experience Requirements

Sports Psychologists must typically have a significant amount of experience in the field of psychology, often beginning with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree and a doctorate in sports psychology or a related field.

During their educational journey, they are expected to acquire relevant experience through internships or research assistant roles where they will work with athletes or sports teams.

This hands-on experience is critical in understanding the psychological dynamics of sports and athletes.

Entry-level sports psychologists usually have 1 to 2 years of supervised experience, often in a clinical setting where they have the opportunity to work with athletes.

After gaining licensure, sports psychologists with 3 to 5 years of experience may deepen their expertise in specific sports or psychological techniques.

They may also gain experience in conducting mental health workshops for athletes, providing performance enhancement training, and working with sports teams at various levels.

Those with more than 5 years of experience may have developed a significant level of expertise and could be ready to take on more senior positions, such as leading a team of sports psychologists, working with elite professional athletes, or contributing to research and development in the field.

Some sports psychologists may also have experience as athletes themselves, which can provide a unique perspective and understanding of the pressures and challenges faced by athletes.


Sports Psychologist Education and Training Requirements

To become a Sports Psychologist, an individual typically needs to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.

This foundational level of education provides an introduction to various psychological theories, research methods, and core areas of psychology.

Courses in sports science, exercise science or kinesiology can also be beneficial.

Following a bachelor’s degree, aspiring Sports Psychologists are required to obtain a master’s degree and/or doctoral degree in sports psychology, clinical psychology, or counseling psychology.

These programs provide in-depth understanding of the psychological aspects related to sports and physical activities, and often offer opportunities for practical experience through internships or practicums.

Licensing is required for sports psychologists who wish to practice independently.

Licensing requirements vary by state, but generally require a doctorate in psychology, an internship, and a certain number of years of professional experience.

Additionally, certification in sports psychology can be pursued through organizations such as the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

Continued professional development and education are encouraged in order to stay updated with the latest research, theories, and techniques in the field.

Prior experience in sports can be advantageous, as it provides a better understanding of the pressures and challenges athletes face.

Sports Psychologists should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills, along with a good understanding of sports, exercise, and the human mind.


Sports Psychologist Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Sports Psychologist is approximately $75,000 (USD) per year.

The actual salary a Sports Psychologist earns can vary depending on factors such as individual’s years of experience, specialization, geographical location, and the organization they work for.


Sports Psychologist Job Description FAQs

What qualifications does a Sports Psychologist need?

Sports Psychologists typically need a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar field, and a master’s degree or doctorate in sports psychology.

They are also required to be licensed by their state’s board of psychology, which often requires a certain number of supervised practice hours and passing an examination.


What are the daily duties of a Sports Psychologist?

On a typical day, a Sports Psychologist might meet with athletes for individual therapy sessions, conduct team building exercises, or develop mental conditioning programs.

They might also research the effects of exercise on mental health, attend training sessions or competitions to observe athletes, and work closely with coaches and other sports professionals to ensure athletes are mentally prepared for competition.


What qualities make a good Sports Psychologist?

A good Sports Psychologist should have excellent interpersonal skills to build trust with athletes and communicate effectively with coaches and other team members.

They should have a deep understanding of the pressures and challenges faced by athletes, and the ability to help athletes build mental resilience, focus, and confidence.

Good analytical skills are also important for assessing an athlete’s mental state and developing appropriate treatment plans.


What should you look for in a Sports Psychologist’s resume?

Look for a strong background in psychology and specifically in the field of sports psychology.

An ideal candidate should have a master’s degree or doctorate in sports psychology and be licensed in your state.

Additional relevant certifications or training programs, such as Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC), would be a plus.

Experience working with athletes or sports teams, whether at the high school, college, or professional level, is also highly desirable.


Is it difficult to hire a Sports Psychologist?

Hiring a Sports Psychologist can be challenging due to the specialized nature of the role.

It may be difficult to find candidates with the required education, licensure, and relevant experience.

Additionally, it’s important to find someone who is a good fit with your team’s culture and who can build rapport with your athletes.

Therefore, the process might take some time and careful selection.



So there you have it.

Today, we’ve explored the ins and outs of what it truly means to be a sports psychologist.


It’s not just about understanding the human mind.

It’s about enhancing performance and fostering mental toughness, one athlete at a time.

With our comprehensive sports psychologist job description template and real-world examples, you’re fully equipped to take the next step.

But why stop there?

Dive deeper with our job description generator. It’s your key to creating detailed job listings or fine-tuning your resume to perfection.


Every mental strategy is a part of the bigger game plan.

Let’s shape that future. Together.

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