Competition isn’t just for extroverts, you know.

fencing

One of the biggest misconceptions about competitive sports is that you need to be an outgoing, extroverted person to enjoy them. This probably comes from the idea that a team is often represented by its most outspoken members, and introverted people sometimes shy away from the spotlight.

That being said, athletic ability has nothing to do with being introverted or extroverted. Big team sports may appeal more to extroverts because of the chance to motivate, inspire, and work with other people, but there are plenty of other sports that appeal more to introverts who are more concerned with playing at their own personal best. I think there is a place on any team for both introverts and extroverts, but some people just prefer to express their athleticism as an individual, and there is nothing wrong with that. So here are a few sports to try, if you or your child is more introverted and looking for the perfect sport.

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Swimming. Any sport that involves a race will probably appeal to an introvert because there is less reliance on other people. Swimming is obviously a great full-body workout, and it allows each swimmer to be personally accountable for his or her own performance.

Fencing. Even though it isn’t the most popular sport here in the US, fencing is a very cerebral, personal sport. It has lots of rules and three different weapons to choose from, but it’s a great workout, especially for someone who likes to function in their own head.

Running. If you are a big thinker, running is one of the best sports to engage in, because you have nothing but time to think. Long distance running is great for introvert athletes because they are in complete control of their own performance, even when running as a team.

Rowing. Because of the fact that rowers are confined in a boat together, but can only function by working individually, it’s a great sport for introverts. The relaxing vibe of being on open water is also an appealing aspect.

Cycling. Not only does cycling give you a lot of time to think, but its one of the best workouts whether you cycle alone or with a group. The team interaction is minimal, but the amount of distance you can cover and the payoff that comes from finishing a bike race make it the perfect choice for an athletic introvert.