What is the Difference Between Exercise Psychology and Sport Psychology?

Overview

Sport psychologists focus mainly within the field of sports in relation to the human psyche, and in the approach and style in which the psychologists expound his/her knowledge. A sport psychologist is more likely to be involved with those who are fairly fit both mentally and physically. Helping to obtain optimal levels in the particular sport is always the end goal. Sport psychology exercises work on both the body and mind in tandem. Goal setting is used as key motivation tools in sport psychology. A sport psychologist typically helps others to deal with psychological demands.

There is more involvement by the exercise psychologists in areas such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis conditions, cancer, diabetes and other similar types of negative medical conditions. Providing assistance to help optimize any physical participation in sporting activities is usually the end goal here. Better healthy levels are the end goal of those working with exercise psychologists. Exercise psychology is focused on the connection between psychological principles and physical activity. It tries to promote involvement and enjoyment through exercise. Therapeutic value is promoted through exercise psychology.

An In-depth Look at Sport Psychology

The duties of a sport psychologist typically involve counseling athletes. These athletes can be from students at high school levels participating in a variety of events for a bright future in their chosen sporting activity or can be athletes who perform in a professional capacity.

Common areas that sport psychologists would have to address would be giving unbiased advice in personal crises, performance effecting issues, behavioral problems, mental responses to challenges and physical injuries and any other elements that may cause the individual to fall behind in their performance.

The idea behind the help extended by sport psychology is that individuals or teams on the receiving end will eventually benefit from all the conditioning, advice, visualization, concentration and relaxation methodologies taught. Most sport psychology experts work alongside other professionals such as trainers, coaches and managers to ensure the athletes perform at optimal levels at all times. The training given is designed to ensure complete concentration on the sports, thus allowing the athlete to master the art of overcoming any mental issues.

Related Reading: How to Become a Sports Psychologist

The ability to satisfactorily deal with all psychological demands that the sporting activity may require, would allow the athletes to enhance their personal development and performance levels.

Besides working with a wide range of clients ranging from individual athletes to teams, the training of a sport psychologist usually allows for participation into any range of sporting disciplines.

In order to help an athlete always perform at optimal levels, there is a need to have various tailor made intervention exercises in place, which would be designed by the Sport Psychologist. These should include mental strategies that help the athlete overcome injuries and other disruptions. Advising coaches and managers on how to optimize team work and communication is also another area often covered.

Occasionally sport psychologists are expected to be able to deliver reports based on self-analysis of the performances in relation to current techniques used and also workshops on how to develop mental strength.

An In-depth Look at Exercise Psychology

In contrast, the exercise psychologists would have to work closely with other professionals such as coaches, nutritionists and managers. Exercise psychologists would have to create a platform where the athlete’s physical and mental needs are optimally met.

Unlike sport psychologists, exercise psychologists would mostly work with people who aren’t professional athletes. They nonetheless actively take part in making suggestions on ways to improve the health and wellbeing of their charges.

Within the actual day to day interactions with clients, a exercise psychologist would have to create programs and activities that would help to improve their general health. Working with cardiac patients who need rehabilitation help, as well as working with other medical conditions where general exercise programs are crucial to optimal recovery, is common, again unlike a sport psychologist who generally works with able-bodied people. The idea is to get those with poor physical and mental health to consider exercise as a viable alternative to help bring about general improvement in both spheres.

With the exercise psychology sphere there is a lot of active study, constantly being explored between the application of certain psychological and emotional conditions as a direct result from any physical activity. Unlike the role of sport psychologists, who conclusively ascertains the benefits of specifically designed physical exercise sessions prescribed.

An exercise psychologist uses programs that have therapeutic benefits that help to enhance the overall health of those they work with, whereas a sport psychologist will use exercise to enhance performance levels within a particular sport. The study of how exercise positively affects certain groups of people is also another task commonly taken on by exercise psychologists. Basically both psychology areas delve into areas that involve helping people enjoy better physical and mental health through recommended exercise regimens.

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