=Sports Psychology; Drugs in Sports

What is a sports psychologist?

A psychologist is defined as an individual who has completed graduate training in the field of psychology and is licensed by a state.

Depending on the states either a Masters or Doctoral degree is needed.

A sport psychologist needs the same requirements with expertise in the following areas.

Performance enhancement through the use of psychological skills training

Issues that are specific to the psychological well-being of athletes

Working with the organizations and systems that are present in sport settings

Social and developmental factors that influence sport participation

Even though sport psychology is recognized as a specific field of study within the Kinesiology departments it isn’t offered as one of the traditional psychology graduate programs.

Yet many single classes in sport psychology are offered.

What credentials are needed?

To practice sports psychology only a state license is required.

Although accreditation isn’t necessary, it doesn’t mean that there are no benefits to becoming a certified sport psychologist.

Accredited psychologists have the benefits of working in organizations such as AAASP also known as the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology.

These psychologists in the AAASP get the chance to work with Olympic athletes and National teams.

Association for Applied Sport Psychology
Association for Applied Sport Psychology

How do you become a sports psychologist?

Just like most other professions in life there are two important steps which are education and experience.

Working experience for sports psychology is limited.

Its recommend to look for schools that offer some formalized specific program.

If your school doesn’t offer a sports psychology major then it is recommended to get a degree in psychology and get experience how ever u can.

One the most difficult things in this field is to get within direct contact of the athletes.

There are many different ways to get experiences and meet athletes. Such as getting in contact with coaches and athletic directors.


external image coachesdev.jpg

Best experience to get out in the athletic field and work personally with athletes.

Popular Drugs abused by Athletes

  1. Steroids

  2. Peptide Hormones

  3. Amphetamines

1. Anabolic Steroids

Steroids are hormones. They are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, a natural male hormone. The hormone's promote retention of nitrogen, to help the muscle growth. It helps the male reproductive system to grow during puberty, assists with the growth of body hair, and the deepening of the voice.

History: During the 1930's scientists discovered that steroids could inhance the growth of muscle through experiments. The drug was first used to treat a condition in which the testes do not produce enough testosterone to allow the testes to function properly. Steroids were first abused by bodybuilders and weightlifters and then became popular in other sports.


Testosterone Molecule


Medical Uses include persciptions to treat anemia, osteoporosis and growth stimulation.

Taken orally, injected, or rubbed on skin (gel).

Extent of use: A survey done in 2006 revealed that 1.6% of eighth graders, 1.8% of tenth graders, and 2.7% of twelfth graders reported using steroids at least once.


Using steroids can lead to a number of serious health conditions including cancer of the liver and kidneys, high blood pressure, depression, injury to muscles, stunted growth, baldness, reduced sperm count, and serious damage to the liver among many more. They can cause infertility and brest development for men and baldness and excessive body hair growth in women. People can also contract HIV from used needles. Withdrawl symtoms can last for up to a year after the user stops taking and include depression, mood swings, reduced sex drive, and insomnia.



2. Peptide Hormone

- Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

HGH is one of the major hormones influencing growth and development in humans. Some individuals use HGH because they perceive that it is as effective as anabolic steroids with fewer side effects, and is not detectable in a drug test. Therefore, they may also choose to use HGH as a steroid substitute to prevent loss of muscle after discontinuing the use of steroids.

Doctors use the drug to help patients grow during puberty and prevent diabetes in some cases.

Health effects that occur from using HGH include high blood pressure, heart damage, premature aging, liver damage, muscle weakness, and premature death.

3. Amphetamines

Amphetamines are used by athletes as an energy enhancer taken to be able to play for long periods of time. The drug also helps to enhance modivation and concentration. Amphetamines are the most common type of stimulants used by athletes. Amphetamines are classified as "psychostimulants" and are in the same category as ecstasy.


Doctors use the drug as a way to treat ADHD. It helps those who suffer from ADHD to improve concentration and decrease irritability. It is also used to treat patients with sleeping disorders.



Physical side effects include depression, heart problems, kidney damage, and strokes. It has been known in a few cases to cause death. Tom Simpson died from over using amphetamines during the Tour De France in 1967.

Psychological side effects of the drug include hallucinations, mental disorders, and increased alertness.

Taken orally, injected, snorted, and smoked.

Extent of use:

  • An estimated 13 millions Americans use amphetamines without medical supervision.

  • Approximately 15% of 10th and 12th graders surveyed had ever used amphetamines without a prescription.

  • In a study at San Francisco General Hospital, approximately 25% of seizures were found to be caused by amphetamine use.


Amphetamines are additive and in many cases cause users to build up a tolerance requiring abusers to take an increasing amount each time. Withdrawl is difficult as is with any drug and includes physical effects including paranoia, difficulty breathing, and depression.








"Drugs in Sport". David R. Mottram. Hartnolls Ltd, Bodmin, Cornwall