Living Your Calling: Grace Alumnus Pursues Sport and Performance Psychology
Do you have a passion for sports but no desire to play professionally yourself? Do you believe that athletes can suffer from burnout or breakdowns if they do not receive psychological guidance? Are you torn between studying psychology and pursuing athletic administration?
What if we told you there was a way to combine both at sports psychology colleges?
Grace alumnus Jon Schram is proof that you can pursue both with a degree in sports psychology.
What is Sport and Performance Psychology?
Sport and performance psychology helps athletes achieve their goals by overcoming obstacles that prevent them from reaching their potential.
When competitive athletes feel that they are not performing at their best, sports psychologists support the athletes to help them perform at the level they aim for. “Sports psychology aids in drawing the best out of the individual,” Schram says.
Although the average psychologist would be able to apply their expertise to the sports world, a sports psychologist is better trained to assist athletes on the field. A traditional psychologist would have a good understanding of the “macro problem,” Schram says, but sports and performance psychologists “are 100% involved in the competitive atmosphere.”
Choosing Sports Psychology Colleges
Despite his current career path, Schram was not always set to pursue sports psychology at Grace.
While playing golf at Ball State University, Schram began to rely on sport and performance psychology as a way to help him deal with his apprehension and fear that began to build up surrounding his playing. As the pressure to perform got to his head more and more, he began to lose his passion for the sport he once loved.
Schram knew that he needed a change.
Around the time that he was considering transferring from Ball State, Grace launched a sports psychology program. “Sports psychology has always been a central interest of mine throughout my playing career,” he says. He also had a lot of respect for the School of Behavioral Sciences and for Grace professor Dr. Joe Graham.
Schram is now pursuing a Ph.D. in general psychology with an emphasis in performance psychology. He feels strongly that his time at Grace helped him prepare for his career where he helps bridge the gap between the mental and physical realms of sport on a regular basis.
Schram works at Golf Collective, a golf academy in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he supports golfers ranging from high schoolers to professionals. He says, “A lot of what I learned in the classrooms at Grace is being used to help the students at this academy.”
Called for a Purpose
Beyond what is learned in the classroom, Schram knows that education that takes place more organically through Grace’s campus life is just as important for a student’s growth.
“The education and experience of Grace go far beyond what is learned in the classroom,” Schram says, adding that at Grace, students will learn how to communicate with people who are different from them, form lifelong friendships, and be encouraged to live out their God-given calling.
“As Christians, we are called for a purpose, and sports psychologists can help athletes live out their calling to the best of their abilities,” says Schram. “We’ve all been given gifts and skills, and we’re called to make the most of what we’re given.”
Are you interested in pursuing sport and performance psychology at sports psychology colleges? Apply today to join our sports psychology program and learn how you can use your gifts to help others embrace their calling.