Psychology Careers: National Football League Coach

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When I took Intro Psych in my first semester of college, I knew I wanted to be a psychology major. But I didn’t have any plans beyond that. Early in the course, my professor said that not all psychologists are therapists. That made me very happy – and that’s how I knew I didn’t want to be a therapist. What did I want to be? I still didn’t know, but knowing what I didn’t want to be helped narrow down the career choices.

Would I have chosen being an NFL linebacker coach had I known that was an option? Maybe.

Jen Welter (MS in sport psychology and PhD in psychology from Capella University) spent the summer of 2015 coaching the inside linebackers of the NFL Arizona Cardinals. She also comes with player credentials having spent 13 years in professional women’s league football.

Think, pair, share. Near the end the Intro Psych course (or whatever course you think appropriate, capstone perhaps) while reflecting back on what they have learned about psychology, ask students to jot down what knowledge or skills someone with a psychology background could bring to a coaching job. Students then share with one or two students near them. Finally, ask students to share the list of knowledge and skills they generated with the class.

About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.