California Baptist University offers many degrees related to psychology and counseling, including the Master of Science in Sport and Performance Psychology. According to the official CBU website, this 16-month, 43-unit degree program prepares students, “to increase the quality of life of their client by helping them reach their performance and health goals.”
While many people are familiar with the field of psychology, sport and performance psychology is not as widely known.
“Sports psychology is this area that people will say, ‘Oh that’s really cool,’ and then they’ll pause and ask, ‘Wait what is that exactly?’” said Dr. Kristin Mauldin, director of the M.S. in Sport and Performance Psychology program and assistant professor of psychology.
Sport and performance psychology is sometimes neglected by the general public because it tends to focus on those who excel, and those who already perform at such high levels that they don’t appear to need any help.
“The fields of psychology have, historically, and even still currently, typically focused on dealing with problems,” Mauldin said. “And while we do deal with problems (in sport and performance psychology) we deal with problems that performers have, and good performers are usually not seen as those who are suffering so much. It’s hard to recognize, people have a harder time having some sympathy or empathy for them.”
Practitioners who work in the field of sport and performance psychology use their psychological training to help those who are facing problems performing at high levels; however, sport and performance psychology is not just for elite athletes.
“Sport and performance psychology is really grounded in the theories of psychology, and it uses what we understand about mental health and cognition and performance in general, and even the relationship between that and the body, and develops techniques that helps people push past barriers,” Mauldin added.
The CBU Sport and Performance Psychology program teaches graduate students how to use psychological theory to help anyone who needs help pushing past mental barriers and performing, whether it is a musician, basketball player or trauma surgeon.
“The main areas of research within sport psychology are imagery training, relaxation (breathing) training, motivation, socialization, conflict and competition, counseling and coaching,” said Taylor Ware, graduate student in Sport and Performance Psychology.
Sport and Performance Psychology graduate students learn to help people in tangible and concrete ways.
Those interested in the Sport and Performance Psychology graduate program at CBU can contact the CBU Office of Admissions for information.