Before you start reading this article we have a few questions that we would like you to think about.

If you felt ill would you go and visit a doctor who was not properly qualified?

If you wanted help with your bank accounts would you visit an accountant who didn’t have the right qualifications?

If you were injured would you visit a physiotherapist who had not completed any qualifications?

The area which we are going to delve into is one which has been discussed among a number of people within the sport psychology world. The question which we are going to discuss within this article is;

Do you need proper qualifications to work with athletes and coaches within the field of sport psychology?

Over the past few years we have had the privilege to speak to a number of practitioners within the field who are either performance consultants, NLP practitioners, life coaches, professors, doctors and sport and exercise psychologists. To become a chartered sport and exercise psychologist involves a complex process whereby a person must undergo an undergraduate (which is accredited by the British Psychological Society), a masters in sport psychology (which is accredited by the British Psychological Society) and after a masters, supervision by a chartered sport and exercise psychologist which involves anywhere between 2 to 3 years of training. Altogether the process to become a sport and exercise psychologist can take anywhere between 6 to 8 years of studying, training and hard work. It is important to be aware that the title “Sport and Exercise Psychologist” is a protected term which means it is illegal for anyone to use the term unless they are registered by the HCPC (Health and care professions council).

There is also another route which people can undertake which is through BASES (The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences).  This route involves individuals completing a BASES endorsed undergraduate degree in the sport and exercise science discipline. The individual must then complete a masters in a sport and exercise sciences related discipline.  After this is completed an individual must then complete supervision which can take anywhere between 2 to 6 years. Similar to the BPS route this process can take up 6 to 10 years of studying. Once all these routes are complete a person can then apply for accreditation as a “sport and exercise scientist” with a specialism in sport psychology.

Both of these routes allow a person to go into a sport club or organisation and work with a number of athletes, coaches and managers. They can do this from a group perspective or 1 on 1. Their training has given them the right skills and appropriate tools to work with these people.

We have spoken to a number of people who believe that to work as a sport psychologist or practitioner you need to be properly qualified. The question we want to know is; Do you need to have the right training to work as a sport psychologist? Within the field there are a number of motivational speakers, ex athletes and alternative practitioners who work with athletes and coaches to help improve psychological performance. We have heard of some fantastic work that all these individuals perform which a number of athletes and coaches have praised. However, the argument that has been brought about is, surely if you want to work within this field you need to become properly qualified?

We want to know whether you think you need to be properly qualified to work with athletes/coaches to improve psychological performance? Do you need to go through the specific training routes? If you have completed training in other areas and work within sport psychology we want to hear from you. We want to hear your thoughts and see what you think. Please leave your comments in the section below.

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