top of page
Dancer Performer Artist
Recreational athletes Exercise
Executives Corporate

What is sport & exercise psychology?


As a scientific discipline, sport and exercise psychology explores diverse areas of human behaviour, such as excellence in sporting performance, motivational processes, motor learning, psychological considerations in sport injury and rehabilitation, leadership and group dynamics, talent identification, and the design, implementation and evaluation of performance enhancement strategies.


As a field of psychological practice, sport and exercise psychology is concerned with the application of psychological knowledge and skills to understanding and positively influencing people's behaviour.


Sport and exercise psychologists draw upon a specialised body of knowledge and a diverse range of evidence-based assessment and intervention skills to assist their clients to optimise performance, to work effectively within sport settings and organisations, and to overcome cognitive, emotional, behavioural or practical obstacles to peak performance in sport.


Many sport and exercise psychologists extend their practice to other areas of human endeavour, working with clients seeking to maximise their performance in business, the performing arts, and other domains. While performance psychology is a field in which a broad range of psychologists now practise, the specific training of sport and exercise psychologists has provided them with a strong foundation for the delivery of high quality, effective interventions to clients with diverse goals.


Some sport and exercise psychologists work with clients with clinical problems, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, weight management problems, aggression, and substance use. Others assist athletes with issues related to career transitions, and those undertaking rehabilitation from injury. Many sport and exercise psychologists in Australia work with elite athletes through the State and Territory institutes or academies of sport, while others provide services to individuals or teams at any level of sporting performance, from the professional level to amateur and those in youth sporting organisations.


Excerpt from


What do sport and exercise psychologists do?


  • Work with both teams and individuals

  • Develop performance enhancement programs

  • Use psychological assessment techniques to assist athletes and individuals

  • Provide clinical counselling services if required (e.g. depression, stress, eating disorders, etc)

  • Provide consultative and program development services for coaches, trainers, and others that work directly with athletes


Who can benefit from seeing a sport and exercise psychology?


Anyone who is wanting to improve their performance in sport, business, or in day-to-day life, or to stay healthy in their chosen activities. This may include the following:


  • Recreational, elite, and professional athletes

  • Professional, representative, and club sporting teams

  • Performing artists (e.g. dancers, musicians, actors)

  • Coaches, umpires, and referees

  • Personal trainers

  • Managers, decisions makers, and administrators

  • Employees and employers in any other occupations concerned with optimal performance

bottom of page