How does personality affect sports performance?

Date published: Sunday 10th May 2020 7:35

Many different strands of science are used by sports organisations to maximise the performance of their respective athletes.

Psychology is amongst the subjects that has had a big impact over the past few decades, helping to shape the way athletes compete in their chosen sport.

Differences in personality is just one facet of this, with people’s individual characteristics impacting on the way they perform in a sports environment.

Read on as we take a closer look at personality and the impact it can have on sports performance.

Personality influences sports choice

No two people have exactly the same type of personality, meaning that everyone who takes part in sport is a unique individual.

Athletes generally choose a sport based on their personality type. For instance, an extrovert may be more inclined to play team sports, while introverts are likely to lean towards individual activities.

Personality is displayed by how people behave in different circumstances and reflect an individual’s most prominent characteristics.

Not everyone will react the same way when presented with a specific set of circumstances, highlighting the important role personality can play in sport.

Defining different personalities

There are two main ‘approaches’ people take when dealing with events that occur in their life – trait and situational.

Someone who has a trait approach takes the same personality they possess in everyday life and transfers that to their sporting activities.

People with strong situational approach traits may react differently when playing sport than would normally be the case.

For instance, an athlete may feel additional pressure if they think that a poor performance could prove costly to punters using 888 sport live betting markets online.

The scale of personality

There are lots of different type of personalities that sit between the two extremes of introverts and extroverts.

Introverts are generally less confident socially, a trait that generally leads them to pursue individual activities such as swimming or distance running.

By contrast, extroverts are the opposite, possessing high confidence levels and the ability to be outgoing no matter what they are faced with.

A great example of this was Eric Cantona, whose extrovert personality helped to inspire his Manchester United teammates to huge success during the 1990s.

Confidence plays a key role

Personality has a huge influence on sport, impacting the activity an athlete chooses to undertake and their performance thereafter.

A key element of how personality impacts sports performances is confidence – an athlete who believes they will succeed is more likely to do so than one who is wracked with self-doubt.

Being confident can help to boost motivation levels and make an athlete even more determined to excel at their chosen sport.

However, it is important to remember that someone who is over-confident may actually end up failing as complacency can creep into their performances.


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