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Extrovert Personality in Sport Psychology

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist and a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Extroverts Love Adrenaline

Extroverts in sport tend to be driven by adrenaline and challenges

Extroverts in sport tend to be driven by adrenaline and challenges

A Guide To Extroverts In Sport

When we think of extrovert personalities in sports we often assume that the extroverts are brash, loud and over the top, particularly in group environments.

Many people wrongly assume that general characteristics of extroverts are that they are friendly and outgoing although to categorize an extrovert in a sport psychology context we need to look a little deeper into the personality traits and situational responses which make an individual.

Personality Traits To Look For In Extroverts

  • Extroverts like fast paced activities
  • They are often inclined towards team sports and group activities
  • Situations of excitement and adrenaline
  • Extroverts prefer high levels of arousal
  • Simple skills with multiple situational variables.
  • Act as they think, not think before reacting

Do the above extrovert traits resemble your own personality?

Are You An Extrovert?

You're More Likely To See Extroverts In A Group Or Team

You're more likely to see extroverts in group or team sporting situations

You're more likely to see extroverts in group or team sporting situations

Extroverts Are Often 'Energized' By Group And Team Activities

Introverts gain their energy from being alone and performing as an individual. Extroverts on the other hand need to be in a group scenario. They often actively seek group scenarios to give themselves energy: Whether it's a busy city-centre bar or rugby pitch.

The tendency of an extrovert to seek out company means that their often seen as being more sociable people on the whole. This translate into higher levels of talk in individuals on generalised subjects, The misapprehension is that an introvert is not a sociable person however this is often not the case when the subject of conversation is all about the details or concepts.

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Extroverts are more inclined to go ahead and do something without thinking a situation through, whereas an introvert will often think through the scenario before acting.

Speed And Adrenaline- Downhill Skiing

Downhill Skiing could provide the speed and adrenaline that many extroverts crave

Downhill Skiing could provide the speed and adrenaline that many extroverts crave

Extroverts Love Speed, Adrenaline And Arousal

Extroversion within an individual's personality leads them to seek out challenges. Situations where the chances of success are close to the probability of failure. A 50/50 challenge in soccer forces a surge of adrenaline and sports related arousal in an individual.

Extroverts tend to live life 'on the edge'. Needing challenges to satisfy their need for adrenaline. Freestyle skiers are a great example of individual's who push the boundaries for bigger and bigger adrenaline kicks. To the outsider they're a thrill seeker looking for their next natural psychological high.

Downhill Mountain Biking Is for Extroverts And Thrill-Seekers- It's Also Why God Created The GoPro!

Simple, Open Motor Skills Suit The Extrovert

An extrovert doesn't like complexity of action. Their low concentration levels mean it's hard for them to remain focused over the course of long, technical training sessions.

Extroverts thrive on results and not the complexity of actions. Their talk is externally shown, not held within. Their propensity towards open motor skills mean that their reactions are deeply governed by their environment.

Extroverts Actually Use A Different Part Of The Brain

Being introverted or extroverted in sport is all in the head according to a study by the University of Iowa. Researchers found that brain activity can differ between the two personality types. (Johnson et al, 1999)

PET scans showed that extroverts show more brain activity in their anterior cingulate gyrus, temporal lobes and posterior thalamus compared to introverts. These areas of the brain are seen as associated with an individual's sensory processing. Whereas introverts exhibited more brain within the frontal lobes of the brain and anterior, or front, thalamus which are seen as associated with memory and internal processing.


Johnson. D. L., et al, (1999). Cerebral Blood Flow and Personality: A Positron Emission Tomography Study., Am J Psychiatry 1999;156:252-257.

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