Personality In Sport And Performance

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Personality in Sport and Performance

Personality in Sport and Performance


Personality is a psychological construct, to which we refer to a dynamic set of characteristics of a person. Never the whole of physical or genetic characteristics that determine an individual is its internal organization that makes us act differently to one, or more circumstances. Personality is a set of characteristics that defines a person's way of behaving.


There is little consensus in the area of personality from the psychologist's point of view. Even definitions, of personality vary according to theoretical viewpoints--that is apparently the way it has to be. This makes for complicated understanding. With all the confusion, what should one accept? At the risk of providing a very superficial underpinning of personality concepts, let me suggest some reasonable positions that any personality theory ought to encompass.

The theory ought to account for a degree of consistency (a genetic component) exhibited across like situations, but it also must leave room for the behavioral fluctuations (an environmental component). This view of man described very well by Kluckhohn and Murray:

Every man is in some respects

--like all other men

--like some other men

--like no other man.

Personality is more than we see on the surface and so obvious responses are not always good indicators of the basic personality structure.

The concept of individual differences must be heeded. Not all individuals will perceive a so-called "similar" situation in the same manner. Therefore, it is to be expected that there will be inter-individual variability of behavior even in these: "similar" situations.

These aforementioned points have certainly not exhausted all the premises which a "good" personality theory ought to encompass, but they mentioned in order to provide a standard against which to compare some of our sport personality assessment practices. What has been the approach that sport personologists have utilized? Nearly all the work oriented around the factor theory which are embodies traits as a basic belief. According to this perspective behavior expected to be quite consistent and predictable and the situation in which the behavior, exhibited is not all that important. This translates to mean that questions could be asked to non-sport situations and the responses could be generalized to miscellaneous sport situations. In reality then, the widespread use of Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire has meant that this prior premise of the consistency of behavior across situations accepted.

Let us consider the trait approach to personality assessment for a moment. Research by Endler, Hunt, and Rosenstein, in the last decade; have certainly raised an issue about the validity of explaining behavior using this tactic. When one attempts to understand, explain, or predict the behavior of another, what pieces of information needed? Is know that a person scores high on the scale of aggression enough to conclude that aggressive behavior it expected? Are there no situations where aggressive behavior would be moderated or eradicated? Typically, personality traits account for less than 10 percent or behavioral variance in any given situation. That means that 90 percent remains unaccounted for. Such findings undoubtedly breed little confidence ...
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