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Starting a Sport Psych Class

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Starting a Sport Psychology Class at your High School

Step 1

Learn the procedure for starting a new class in your particular school. In some schools you are required to get approval from your Department Head, then from the school’s Administration, and then from the School Board. In others, you may directly approach the Administration for approval. It is important that you know the proper channel before you begin the process. To learn the process, ask your department head, counseling department, or school administration.

Step 2

Before you approach the designated authority, I highly recommend that you gather some data pertaining to student interest. This could be accomplished through a school-wide survey to the general student population, athletes on school sponsored teams, and/or coaches.

In addition to quantitative numbers (i.e. “X number of students want to take this class”), it is also a good idea to include some qualitative data. This could be in the form of statements of interest obtained through interviews. Having these data will help make your case to the appropriate decision-maker that this new course should be offered.

When I started my sport psychology class in my high school, the administration allowed me to include the course in the school’s preliminary registration booklet for the following school year to measure their interest level. If enough students preliminarily registered for the class, then the administration would be willing to consider its adoption. The week leading up to the preliminary registration I advertised the new class with posters on the wall, morning announcements, flyers inserted into the registration booklets, and “talking it up” to all of my current students.

Step 3

Write a proposal with which to approach the decision-making authority. What to include in the proposal:
• A description of the proposed class
o What Sport Psychology is
o What will be taught in the class
o Which students will be able to take the class (i.e. only certain grades, etc.)
• How it will benefit the school and/or community
• Interest data from your survey and interviews

Click HERE for a sample proposal

Step 4

Armed with your written proposal and data, it is time to approach your decision-making authority (i.e. the Department Head, Administration, School Board, etc.) for approval. This process will be unique to your school, which is why you needed to first learn what the process is.

Step 5

Once it is approved, your next task is to market the class to the student population. This can be accomplished through the use of posters on the wall (sample included), flyers in their registration booklets, announcements through the P.A. system, and personal contact with the school’s teams and coaches.

One way to get other coaches behind your program is to ask them for ideas about what to include in the curriculum. Every year, I remind the school’s coaches that I will have many of their athletes in class. If their team is struggling with something, they can let me know and I will work it into the class. Even if you (the sport psych teacher) will say the same things to the students that their coaches have been saying, sometimes it is more effective when it comes from another source . . . like you. If the coaches feel good about what your class can offer their team, then they will be more likely to promote the course to their athletes.

Click HERE for a sample poster

Step 6

After the students register and you have confirmed that the class will indeed be carried the following school year, it is time to prepare for the actual teaching! The Curriculum Guide can help you with pacing and assessment. And don’t forget about this website with the rest of the day-to-day stuff: www.SportPsychSchool.com

This site contains printable in-class activities, overhead transparencies, and worksheets as well as online activities and links to other relevant sites. You can also become a member of the Teacher’s Forum to get and share ideas with the rest of us.

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© 2008 by David L. Rockwood
Last updated April 2008