Differences Between Coach And Sports Psychologist

Perhaps you think that coach and sports psychologist are two synonymous words. However, although they do refer to  a similar position, we are going to discover that there are quite a few differences between a coaching professional and a sports psychologist.

To begin with, it must be clarified that a coach cannot be a sports psychologist.  Since this one lacks the proper training. However, a psychologist can act as a coach . This will determine the way in which both will act. Let’s see what is the difference of each of these professionals.

What does a sports psychologist do?

Coach with a girl in the gym: differences between coach and sports psychologist

A sports psychologist has studied psychology to later specialize in this particular field. The tools it has are very precise. A psychologist is in charge of studying the human psyche, cognition, behavior, and emotions.

All this makes it very interesting to have a sports psychologist on the field of play. This will analyze the attitudes that an athlete will have, or a group of them. Thus, they will try to enhance their skills or correct certain behaviors that can detract from their performance.

The sports psychologist is a professional fully indicated to motivate and help each athlete to give their best. But, at the same time, it helps you not only to work in a group, but to work as a person. A sports psychologist knows that individual work is also necessary.

Sports psychologist competencies

A coach and sports psychologist are not the same, because the specific functions that they are going to carry out are completely different. Next, we are going to see those that concern the sports psychologist:

  • Assessment : If there are injuries or a family problem, this can affect performance in sport. The sports psychologist must see what the situation is to be able to advise the athlete in the best way.
  • Counseling : after the evaluation, the counseling is carried out. For example, imagine that an athlete is unable to deal in a healthy way with the media. The psychologist will help you know how to do it.
  • Intervention : consists of giving the athlete tools to deal with the problem that plagues him.
  • Training of athletes: the sports psychologist also trains athletes. It helps them manage their stress, motivating them and enhancing their skills and abilities.

What role does a sports coach occupy?

Coach with a girl looking at her watches: differences between coach and sports psychologist

A sports coach has no training in psychology.  Therefore, your way of proceeding will be quite different from that of a sports psychologist. Their objective or way of acting with athletes is different. Let’s see how you do it:

  • Motivate : it helps each player to give their best by confronting them with their limits in order to achieve better group work.
  • Dialogue : use dialogue as a vital tool. Thanks to this, he analyzes the weak and strong points of each player to enhance the latter.
  • Play with perspective : try to change the perspective that an individual may have regarding their abilities.

In short, a sports coach seeks for each individual to enhance their skills, feel motivated to improve them and, above all, to face their limitations.

Psychologist or coach?

Although we have been able to see certain similarities between a coach and a sports psychologist, both have different ways of proceeding. A psychologist has certain tools supported by strategic methodologies.

However, a coach does not have this very specialized training, but he is good at communicating, dialoguing and motivating, so he can become someone essential to move a team forward or achieve that a person achieve all their objectives.

Both professionals are equally important, since they seek that athletes achieve their goals by giving the best of themselves, only that the coach and sports psychologist are going to act or work from different perspectives. Therefore, it is best if the team has both types of professionals if possible.

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