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APPLIED Sport Psychology vs. Clinical Sport Psychology

If you've spent much time at all on our website or any of our Social Media pages, you'll quickly learn that we often preach how we are different from some other options when it comes to Sport Psychology or Mental Coaching. We don't say this to detract from what other practices are doing.


We say this because it's the truth and we want to educate athletes, coaches, and parents about the different options they have at their disposal.


There are TWO major 'camps' when it comes to Sport Psychology...


  1. Applied Sport Psychology

  2. Clinical Sport Psychology


As we have often promoted, we fall under the umbrella of Applied Sport Psychology... But what does that mean, and how is it different from Clinical?


First and Foremost...


We are NOT Doctors. We are NOT Therapists. We are NOT Counselors.


This means:

We cannot diagnose you with a mental illness.

We do not work with traditional mental health disorders.

We are not licensed as mental health professionals.


This also means:

We work with YOU to make YOU a better performer at your sport.

We provide you with Mental Skills to help you play better and more consistently.

We are here to help you become the best version of yourself.


Applied Sport Psychologists are here to provide athletes, performers, and coaches with skills and tools that they can use to help them prepare and perform better during practice and competition. We are a supplement to your already present coaching, training, and preparation.


We meet you where you are, and build on that foundation to help make you the best athlete, performer, and person you can be. We strictly follow a 'Build-It' model to grow you and improve you from where you are currently.


Clinical Sport Psychology falls under a separate umbrella that is much more similar to traditional Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. These clinicians are licensed to work with traditional DSM-V mental health disorders and help people (including athletes) that are struggling with something much bigger than struggling at their sport.


While we express that these are '2 separate camps' , we also still work together...


For example, if an athlete comes to us and we are working together to improve their sport performance and we learn that there is a more severe mental illness present that is out of our scope of expertise, we will refer this athlete out to a Clinical Psychologist who is better equipped to help them improve overall.


Clinical Sport Psychologists still have the ability to help athletes improve at their sport through Mental Skills Training, but they are also trained and licensed to help with much more severe mental health issues than Applied Sport Psychologists are.


Both camps of Sport Psychology have very important roles in the preparation and performance of competitive sport. But it is important to understand the differences between the two options so you, as an athlete, can make a proper and informed decision about what route is best for you in your path toward athletic excellence.


At the end of the day, our goal here at Strecker Sport Psychology is to help every athlete learn the Mental Skills that will help them perform their best, achieve their goals, and become the best version of themselves.


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