by Shannon Fleming
Most of us at one point or another have played or participated in a sport, whether it is volleyball, tennis, karate or pole-vaulting. Have you ever sat back and wondered why you chose that particular sport to play besides the simple fact that you love participating in it? Recent studies have shown that the complex of multiple personality traits that composes each individual may be a significant factor in which sport you prefer to play. Traits can be described as people’s characteristic behaviors and conscious motives. The broadest category of personality traits involves extraversion and introversion. People reflecting traits of extraversion tend to be excitable, outgoing, lively, sociable and impulsive. They love the lime-light, work well in groups, and tend to dislike being alone for long periods of time. People reflecting traits of introversion tend to be reserved, reclusive, thoughtful, calm, and rational. They are more interested in their own mental self, work better alone, and are controlled in social situations, preferring closer, more personal relationship. Although traits of introversion and extroversion are reflective of personality, that doesn’t mean that everyone is classified as one or the other, many people have traits associated with both extraversion and introversion (Myers, 2007).
In a study done by Urska Dobersek and Cart Bartling (2007), athletes from four different sports, three individual sports and one team sport, and non-athletes were given standard personality tests including the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire which measured emotionality and tough-mindedness and the Global 5 survey, which measured extraversion, introversion, emotional stability, orderliness, accommodations and intellect. Each subject’s personality traits were viewed in association with the sport they preferred and conclusions were drawn between personality traits and were linked to the type of sport preferred. The study showed significant differences in individuals who played team sports, like volleyball, and people who played individual sports, like tennis, track and golf. Participants on the volleyball team, a team sport, tended to display more traits associated with introversion such as being reliable and thoughtful. Learning to cooperate with other players and sharing the recognition for a win with other people tend to require being less bold and outgoing, and instead, being calmer, rational, and aware of surroundings. Participants of individual sports, where the pressure is all on you to perform reflected traits of extraversion such as being outgoing, energetic, spontaneous and to some extent egotistical. (more…)