According to AASP, it is the “premier association that ensures every performer has the resources to strengthen their inner edge through the advancement and application of excellence in mental performance and mental health.”
In other words, AASP helps facilitate the use of psychological principles in helping people achieve their potential. The purpose of the organization is to provide resources and learning opportunities for sports psychologists and other professionals to use in assisting their clients to improve their performance and their overall well-being.
Related: What is Sports Psychology?
History and Purpose of AASP
AASP was founded in 1985 and has grown to an international professional association with members from many different disciplines in all corners of the globe. In all, there are about 2,500 members.
AASP members work with diverse clientele. Many AASP members work with athletes of all age and ability levels, from children to professional athletes. But many other AASP members work with other types of clients, including athletic coaches, musicians, dancers, and even business professionals. In some cases, AASP members help law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics, and military personnel to enhance their on-the-job performance.
Over its history, AASP has been a gathering place for practitioners from all sorts of backgrounds. While many members have education and training in psychology, others come from a background in counseling, social work, and sports science.
The purpose of AASP is to promote the science of applied sport psychology and ensure that its members practice in an ethical manner.
Additionally, AASP strives to provide members with educational opportunities that will advance their understanding of this field. This includes the option to pursue the Certified Mental Performance Consultant credential, which validates practitioners’ knowledge and skills in helping clients achieve a higher level of personal development in their sport or other performance areas.
To be eligible for a CMPC certification, members of AASP must have a master’s degree or higher in psychology, sport science, or a related field. Additionally, you must meet certain course requirements and must complete a significant mentorship experience in which you receive supervision from an experienced practitioner. You must also achieve a satisfactory score on a certification exam.
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology focuses on how humans perform along with their holistic well-being and social functioning. AASP promotes its mission via education, research, certification courses, and service in the following ways:
- Supporting scholarship that is relevant to this field. Original research opportunities are encouraged as a means of informing evidence-based practice.
- Offering members a platform for engaging in professional networking. Information sharing amongst members is encouraged as a means of expanding scholarship opportunities and making evidence-based practice more likely.
- Promoting the expert services offered by members for people in all manner of performance fields. This includes athletes and coaches, business professionals, non-sport performers like dancers and musicians, and those in high-risk occupations like the military.
- Providing mentorship opportunities for applied sport psychology professionals throughout their professional lives.
- Setting forth professional standards for ethical practice. AASP also outlines standards for competent practice in applied sport psychology.
- Promoting awareness of the value that applied sport psychologists provide to society.
In addition to the components of the organization’s mission statement that are listed above, AASP promotes a set of values that include excellence, respect, integrity, diversity, collaboration, and service.
AASP’s website outlines what each of these values means to the organization:
- Excellence – we thrive on advancement, innovation, and strive for quality
- Respect – we strive to treat all people with dignity, open-mindedness, and esteem
- Integrity – we communicate directly with openness, transparency, and authenticity
- Diversity – we value an inclusive environment in which diverse backgrounds, assets, and perspectives are appreciated as enrichment to our professional, educational, and personal experiences
- Collaboration – we believe research informs practice and practice informs research, and we embrace the interconnectedness of human performance, well-being, and social functioning
- Service – we commit to using our knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide value to the broader community
As with any professional organization, the focus of AASP is to foster the growth of their members through scholarship, networking, continuing education, certification, and other means of supporting one another in advancing their careers.
Who Can Be a Member?
AASP membership is not limited to those who have or are pursuing a sport psychology degree.
Instead, members can also be students and professionals in the fields of kinesiology, biomechanics, sport management, sport physiology, sport nutrition, or athletic training. Additionally, psychology professionals are eligible. In this case, psychologists with specialties in counseling, social psychology, clinical psychology, or developmental psychology as applied to sport and exercise can become members.
The general goal of members is to apply their knowledge to educate other athletic and fitness professionals as well as everyday exercisers and others who perform on a regular basis about the psychological aspects of their activity or sport.
As noted earlier, one of the biggest benefits of becoming an AASP member is the certification courses that can augment and complement a sports psychology degree and make professionals more valuable in their chosen field.
The Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) certification indicates that an individual in the sports psychology field has attained the highest standards of professional practice, which is why applicants must have a master’s degree or higher, meet specific work requirements (including mentorship supervision), and pass a certification exam.
Additionally, AASP certification requires that applicants agree to adhere to the association’s ethical principles and standards and commit to ongoing education for professional development.
Common Skills for Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
- Anxiety or energy management for individuals who have too much or too little arousal, ultimately making them ineffective
- Attention and concentration control, allowing athletes to focus on certain cues to make them more effective
- Communication to help improve group cohesion and individual actions
- Goal setting to enhance motivation and focus attention on performance aspects that need the most improvement
- Visualization and mental practice to recreate an experience that will enhance a variety of skills
- Self-talk patterns to change negative actions
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology provides a variety of resources that members can use to further their careers and build on the skills above. Additional education may be obtained through webinars, an annual conference, publications and more.
AASP oversees the development of a variety of publications that offer members insights into the practice of sport psychology, exercise psychology, and research in these fields. These publications, listed below, are designed for members of all levels of experience, from sport psychology students to veteran sports psychologists and every level of experience in between.
As a member of AASP, you can access to the following publications:
- Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, which serves to expand theory and research in applied sport psychology and exercise psychology. It is a refereed journal and includes submissions on correlational studies, position papers, experimental studies, theoretical developments, and more.
- Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, which is aimed at practitioners of sport psychology and provides actionable information that is relevant to the work they do with clients. This journal’s purpose is to help practitioners develop a better understanding of their clients, how to assess them, and how to intervene in a manner that promotes a higher level of functioning.
- Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, which is a peer-reviewed, online journal that is published by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology along with Human Kinetics. The journal includes a searchable library that gives AASP members a wealth of case studies that examine the application of various approaches and methods in the field of sport and exercise psychology.
- Journal for Advancing Sport Psychology in Research, which is an online, open journal that is published two times each year. The goal of this journal is to expand the application of sport, exercise, and performance psychology by offering students and practitioners opportunities to engage in scholarship and research with their peers.
- AASP Newsletter (6 issues per year), which includes articles on a variety of subjects in sport psychology, exercise psychology, performance psychology, and more. Newsletters might include book reviews, information about upcoming events, CMPC certification information, grant opportunities, details about current research, and reports from students, among others.
- Position Statements are included in AASP membership as well. Currently, AASP has three position papers available:
In addition to the AASP member publications listed above, members and non-members have access to the following:
- Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (available via subscription)
- Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology, which is periodically updated and edited to include the latest information about graduate and doctoral programs in applied sport psychology from around the world. The directory includes program descriptions, types of degrees offered, internship and externship opportunities, details regarding online and distance learning, information about materials to prepare for the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) Certification, and information about career opportunities as well.
- Journal of Sport Psychology in Action
- AASP Position Statements
AASP Annual Conference
Each year, AASP sponsors a professional conference for its members that provides ample opportunities for learning and growing as a professional, networking, presenting research, and more.
AASP conferences often include keynote speakers that share their expertise in the sport psychology field. Likewise, conferences feature workshops, some of which are eligible for continuing education credits and APA credit as well.
Attendees can enjoy a variety of exhibits by companies in the sport psychology space as well as a career fair and graduate program for students.
Members of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology also have access to webinars and virtual conferences for expanding their knowledge and skills in their profession.
Various webinars (which are 75 minutes long) and virtual conferences (which are three hours long) are available on topics that range from challenges faced by transgender athletes to sleep and performance studies to tools for professionals in sport psychology.
Some of these webinars and virtual conferences might qualify for continuing education credits, which gives members an additional means of staying up-to-date with their education requirements.
Other AASP Resources
The Association for Applied Sport Psychology also offers a host of other resources for members and non-members alike.
The Association maintains a blog for athletes, coaches, and parents on important topics in sport psychology. This includes posts on:
- Coaching and Organizational Strategies to Support the Adaptation of International Athletes
- Strategies to Support the Adaptation of International Athletes
- Mindfulness as a Means of Coping with COVID-19-Related Stress and Uncertainty in Athletes
- Facilitating Sport Injury Related Growth (SIRG)
In addition to having access to the blog for learning purposes, AASP members can also author blog posts and submit them for publication.
For students, AASP has a Graduate Training area that provides tips for researching graduate programs and applying to programs that are a good fit. There are also details about regional AASP conferences and the annual AASP conference.
Additionally, students can visit the AASP student center to get even more information about sport psychology programs, AASP benefits of membership, and get details on becoming an AASP student delegate, joining an AASP committee, or joining an AASP special interest group.
AASP members additionally have access to information about a wide range of grants that can help further their scholarship and practice in the field of sport psychology. These grants include:
- Research grants, which range from $250-$5,000
- Collaborative research grants that support existing collaborative research or future research
- Community outreach grants, which provide funds (between $250-$5,000) for initiatives that support activities in the community
- Oglesby-Snyder Grant for Equity and Cultural Diversity, which provides funding of up to $7,500 per year to “stimulate and enhance efforts to apply sport psychology research to both advance a richer knowledge base and articulate a strong rationale for advocacy assuring that the values and benefits of sport are available to all on an equitable basis.”
- Gualberto Cremades International Research Grant, which recognizes international students who serve as principal investigators on a research project in the sport or exercise psychology space that has an international perspective and a cross-cultural perspective.
- Seed grants, which are used for community outreach projects and research projects spearheaded by students and early career professionals.
- Regional conference grants, which provide funds for members to attend conferences in their area.
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