Personality Types – What are they?

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Personality types – What are they?

In this post, we discuss personality types and answer the following questions:

  • Personality Types – what are they?
  • What is an Extrovert?
  • What is an Introvert?
  • What is Type A and Type B Personality
  • How can personality types be useful to sports coaches and athletes?
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Personality Types – What are they?

According to the American Psychological Association, personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.

In sports psychology, Albert Bandura is seen as one of the most important contributors to personality and social theories.

Bandura suggests “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is huge variability in how you perform.”

Each athlete has their personality. Understanding different personality types can benefit coaches and athletes as this can contribute to how an athlete feels and behaves.

One of the main methods used in sports psychology to model personality is through determining individuals Personality Traits. This theory was developed by Eysenck in 1952 as he suggested behaviour is based on Introversion/Extroversion and Neuroticism/stability. 

What is an Extrovert?

An Extrovert is often seen as somebody who is extremely sociable, likes excitement and new opportunities. Extroverts are seen to become easily bored and Eysenck argues extroverts can be optimistic and impulsive (Eysenck, 1967). Eysenck (1962) also suggests that Extroverts will often take more risks.

What is an Introvert?

On Eysenck’s continuum, Introverts are seen as the opposite of an extrovert. Eysenck suggested that introverts can be seen as quiet and reserved. Introverts are also more likely to be pessimistic and more reliable. 

Researchers summarised the difference between the two traits on their preferences for simulating environments. Extroverts are more likely to want more stimulating environments whereas introverts prefer non-stimulating environment.

Ted Talks do a simple questionnaire to find out whether you are an introvert or extrovert. You can visit their questionnaire here:

You may also be interested in our article on what is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In this article, we discuss the different types of motivation and how an individuals personality can influence their motivation. 

What is Type A and Type B Personality

The researchers Friedman and Rosenman were first seen to be one of the founders of Type A and Type B personality traits. Following their study, researchers today continue to debate the differences between the two personality types.

What is Type A Personality?

Friedman and Rosenman (1996) argue that Type A individuals are seen as more outgoing, ambitious, anxious and can be seen as becoming more stressed than Type B personalities.

What is a Type B Personality?

A Type B personality is seen as the opposite of a Type A Personality ((Fretwell, Lewis and Hannah, 2013).

The traits of a Type B personality can be seen as an individual who will work more steady instead of rushing to get tasks complete. Type B behaviours are seen to be less likely to be affected by stress and are seen to be more tolerant (Rosenman & Friedman, 1970).

How can personality types be useful for sports coaches and athletes?

Each athlete has their unique personality. If coaches and athletes are able to understand their personality type, they may be able to take advantage of this.

For example, if a 100m runner was a type A athlete, being aware of their stress levels may help them to avoid them becoming over-aroused. Our articles on the drive theory and catastrophe theory discuss the link between performance and arousal. Athletes will respond and deal with stress differently. Therefore, several sports psychologists now use personality types to help athletes to raise self-awareness hoping for performance improvement.

Many large corporate businesses now also use the Myer-Briggs types indicator so their workforce can understand their personality traits.


In this post we have briefly discussed:

  • What personality is
  • Eysenck’s model of personality types
  • What are Type A and Type B personalities. 
  • Why sports coaches and athletes need to understand personality types

Want more?

You may want to visit our article on the drive theory and Catastrophe theory. In these posts, we discuss how arousal levels improve or decrease performance. The American Psychological Association will also be able to provide you with further information on personality types. 

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New to sports coaching? Then you may want to check out our guide to sports coaching. Here you will be able to learn techniques and strategies that will excel your coaching career. Topics include Stages of LearningMethods of Training and Leadership Styles.

You may also be interested in the following articles:


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Eysenck, H. J. (1952). The scientific study of personality.

Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The biological basis of personality (Vol. 689). Transaction publishers.

Fretwell, Cherie E; Lewis, Carmen C; Hannay, Maureen (2013). “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, A/B Personality Types, and Locus of Control: Where Do They Intersect?” (PDF). American Journal of Management. 13 (3): 57–66. 

Kussner,N. B. (1991). Eysenck’s Theory of Personality and the Role of Background Music in Cognitive Task Performance: A Mini-Review of Conflicting Findings and a New Perspective. American Journal of Public Health, 102(11): 2018–2025.

Rosenman R, Friedman M, Straus Ret. (1970).Coronary heart disease in the Western Collaborative Group Study: a follow-up experience of 4.5 years. J Chronic Dis. (3):173–190 

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