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Sport psychology: A great career choice!

With all the bad news out there at the moment about the economy, employment, debts, and the cost of living I thought it was worth reflecting on the job that I do as a sport psychologist.

I have had a passion for the discipline ever since studying it as part of my A-levels at school (too many years ago to think about). That initial exposure to the subject ignited a passion in me for understanding the mind and it’s impact upon sports performance and participation. This determined my choice of degree, and Masters degree as well as encouraging me to undertake an applied PhD. Even though I have had to jump through many hoops due to the changing nature of the profession and its qualifications in the UK in recent years, I wouldn’t change a moment of it. The fact is that I just love my job.

I probably work more than I should do, possibly have not quite got the work-life balance completely sorted, and some weeks end up driving hundreds of miles (even further in kilometers) to engage with clients but feel like I have the perfect job.

Working as a sport psychologist gives me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people, with every day being different to the one before. I get to talk to experts and enthusiasts on a daily basis and just can’t help feeling inspired a lot of the time. I also get to watch a lot of sport and get to claim “it’s for work” which is just fantastic, especially as I enjoy watching many many sports.

I also have a passion for helping others, so whether that is working with elite athletes, academy athletes, trainee sport psychologists, or students I enjoy the opportunity to try to make a difference and to have the opportunity to continue to learn from each of these groups.

In my career as a sport psychologist I have been lucky enough to be engaged as a university educator, as an applied consultant and as a researcher. I enjoy each of these equally well, and enjoy the varied and rich experiences they all provide.

Times are tough at the moment, and the training route to becoming a sport psychologist becomes ever expensive and competitive. So you might ask the question “Is it worth it?” Well I can’t answer for everyone but I would say a resounding yes. It is not easy to get to where you want to be, but then those things that are worth achieving rarely are. I have loved every minute of my job and believe the career so far has lived up to the expectations that I has as an A-level student all those years ago.

So here is to the diversity and unpredictability of our profession, long may it continue. If you are interested in becoming a sport psychologist my advice would be to go for it. It is a lot of hard work and there is no guarantee of success other than the hard work you are willing to put in to get there. But is it work it, well it is a big resounding yes from me!

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