Mastering their Heads: The Psychology of Coaching

By Joe Aguilar

Teaching others to reach their full potential requires an understanding of how they think. While sports coaches have always known this, many newer breeds of coach—personal coaches, career coaches, leadership coaches, and executive coaches—are beginning to apply sports psychology techniques to get the most out of their charges. Think you’d make a good coach? If so, you can learn the relevant performance psychology though many different master’s degree programs.

“I think I can, I think I can.”

A psychology master’s degree with an emphasis in sports psychology trains you to use theory and research skills to help athletes with stress management, motivation, and performance issues. In the business world, the same techniques can prove invaluable to improving performance in workers, managers, and even executives.

Sports Psychology: Beyond the Locker Room

More people are finding that the application of sports psychology doesn’t stop at the locker room door. The same techniques coaches use to improve performance in their players can be used overcome performance anxiety at school, home, and even the workplace. Joel Fish, a Philadelphia sports psychologist and founder of the Center for Sports Psychology, notes, “Because sports psychology is becoming more well-known, often kids will come in because they want to use sports as the arena [to learn] how to deal with [negative emotions]. These might not be kids who come in to say, ‘when I’m in a social situation I get nervous, or in school I have a hard time taking tests,’ but because sports is a safer place for them to address the problem, I think we’re teaching them things that will help them in other parts of their life.”

Online Psychology Master’s Degree Programs for a Strong Future

Online colleges allow you to earn your master’s degree while continuing to work full time. Study at your own pace from nearly any computer with an Internet connection. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job opportunities in psychology will grow faster than average through 2014. So get yourself motivated—earn your master’s degree online!


“Psychologists,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Main Line Times
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

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