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Sport and exercise psychologist

Sport and exercise psychologists work with athletes, teams and coaches to improve their motivation and performance.

Potential salary
£20,000 to £48,000
Working hours
37 to 39 a week
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As a sport and exercise psychologist, you'll:

  • help athletes develop strategies to deal with nerves, anxiety, self-confidence, concentration and motivation
  • set up activities to improve team and individual performance
  • support athletes in coping with injuries
  • give advice to coaches on team communication
  • assess clients' needs and develop fitness plans and recommendations
  • work with health promotion staff to show the therapeutic and health benefits of exercise
  • create exercise programmes in organisations, workplaces, prisons and psychiatric units
  • teach mental skills to individuals to improve their wellbeing and performance

You could work at a sports arena, at a fitness centre, at a health centre, in a prison or on a sports field.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You could work as a full-time sport psychologist or you could combine consultancy work with teaching and research.

As an exercise psychologist, you could work for a local health authority, or on a GP exercise referral scheme. You could also assess exercise programmes in workplaces, prisons or psychiatric settings.

With experience and further study you could become a senior psychologist or head of a psychology department. You could also move into lecturing.

You'll find more details about working in psychology from The British Psychological Society.

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