Personality, Training & Leadership: Personality

I’ve just realised that I spent a long time tearing my hair out on the dissertation for my masters, and haven’t ever talked about it on the Mighty Pucks. The title was examining the interactive effects of athlete personality and coach transformational leadership upon athlete training behaviours which is not only a horror to write, I had to spit that out during a speech too!  It was important to research this – not just to finish my degree – because each area has been researched but nobody has really connected the dots.


There are many, many, many personality theories out there and probably so much research on personality in different applications that you’d need many years to read through it all. What we’re focused on is sport. Around 20-45% of variance in an individual’s performance is due to their personality. Perhaps the most well known theory of personality is the Big Five.

Openness – intellectual curiosity, imaginative, appreciative of a wide variety of experiences

Conscientiousness – self-discipline, dependability, planning

Extraversion – outgoing, assertive, sociable, sensation-seeking

Agreeableness – well-tempered, warm, compassionate

Neuroticism – emotional stability

I’ve knocked this together to give examples of athletes (and Torts) who I believe exemplify these attributes.


Generally, extraverts tend to excel more in competitions than training. A training environment is simply not exciting enough to provide the necessary stimulation that a competition does. Further, extraverts tend to gravitate towards team sports because there is a higher level of social contract thus more opportunities for distraction. Likewise, it’s predicated that athletes who score highly on openness, are also more easily distracted because they’re more curious.


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