"It's psychology Jim, but not as we know it!": the changing face of applied sport psychology practice

Dan Sly, Stephen D. Mellalieu, Chris Wagstaff

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Applied sport psychology has developed substantially in recent decades, and there exist a multitude of views regarding how contemporary practices can be best defined and conceptualized. In this paper, we reflect on these developments and draw from a growing body of literature on professional development, in an attempt to provide clarity on the expanding roles and responsibilities of the applied sport psychology practitioner. In so doing, we acknowledge the recent diversification of applied sport psychology practices, with an emphasis on competencies relating to: working with more diverse performance populations (e.g., in business, military, healthcare, education, and the performing arts); engaging in organizational psychological practices; positive youth development; promoting life skills; and mental health and counselling support provisions Further, we offer suggestions for the future of applied sport psychology education and training, in an effort to contribute to the profession’s continued journey toward maturation. This includes discussion surrounding the possible implementation of multi-supervisory pathways, extended placement opportunities and engagement in post training practices within specialist performance domains, in an effort to aid the development of more diverse competencies which reflect the multiplicity of current practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • sport psychology
  • performance psychology
  • professional competence
  • professional development
  • training
  • qualification


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