Introverts vs sports: what are the best sports for introverts?

As an introvert, you may need to spend some alone time. But what about that moment when you actually want to be around people?

I always considered sports as a great way to have fun, spend time outdoors, get rid of stress and meet new people. Yes. Meeting new people is actually something I like. Perhaps I’m not the best person to be around at first as I suck at small talk. I hate it. Most introverts do.

As an introvert… guess what you can do sports too! According to TeachPE, the sport of choice may depend on personality type. There are exceptions, of course! Introverts are usually attracted to sports, which need:

  • Concentration,
  • Precision,
  • Self-motivation,
  • Intricate skills,
  • Low arousal levels,
  • Individual performances.

So, what does the Internet suggest we could do about it?

The top 5 suggested sports for introverts are:

   1. Runningrunning

Running, or actually, distance running is perfect for those who like to think. You can completely lose yourself in your thoughts, the rhythm of your steps and clear your head. When you’re in a race the competition is against the exertion and other runners. It’s simple as that. You compete with the person in front of you, then the next… All you need is a pair of running shoes!

It doesn’t work for everyone. I hate running. There’s no clear goal for me. Competing against myself is not good enough. Whenever I tried running, I’d find a bunch of excuses. Some of my introverted friends find it just as pointless. When they have to chase a Frisbee – the whole perspective changes.


2. Cycling

It’s a great alternative to public transport. It can take you anywhere and it’s a great workout for your lungs and legs. If you’re looking for a thrill you could check out the off-road competitions. If you’re not into racing you can just enjoy a simple bike ride.

3. Fencingfencing

This sport has roots in the duels in Europe. You can choose three types of weapons in fencing:  the foil, the epée, and the saber. The sport is often called “physical chess”. If you decide to do this better prepare yourself for some serious cardio! The sport relies on speed, precision and good weapon handling. You need to be a bit of strategist: you need to wait for your opponent to leave themselves vulnerable to attack.


4. Swimming

Swimming is a great sport for a cardio workout. It strengthens the entire body. There can be swim teams, but when it comes to racing it’s you vs other swimmers. It’s a great endurance sport and who
doesn’t like to swim, right?


5. Rowing

It’s the team sports, but it lets the participants get themselves lost in a team effort. With a clear goal to beat the other team in the boat race on the quiet waters. It’s the sport that involves working towards the same goal as a finely tuned machine.

Most of these sports don’t involve playing in teams. They focus on being an individual working towards your own goals. But, guess what. You can be the most introverted introvert on the planet, but you can go out there and join a team sport! Yes. There will be people. And yes. You will have to talk to them sooner or later, but if you join the right people, trust me on that… you won’t be able to leave. It’s a promise of good memories and time spent a bit different.

Why do I consider Ultimate a sport for introverts? 

That’s perhaps because I’ve met quite a lot of introverts on my team. At first, I didn’t talk with anyone. What did I do? Observed, made awkward jokes, small talk, focused on learning the mechanics of the sport. I also didn’t want to sound like an 80-year-old while running. You know it’s bad when the beginning of the warm up makes you forget how to breathe. Turns out you can be skinny, but when you start exercising your body begs you to go back to the safety of your comfy couch! HeyAssassin’s Creed won’t complete itself, right? 

Ultimate Frisbee bec20160814_143511ame this safe haven for me. I didn’t have time to make research about it or see if it is a sport for me. In the past, I played volleyball, football and a bit of hockey. I was always a defensive player, who sometimes would burst into action. I had my own goals and that was what mattered. With Ultimate, a friend almost dragged me to a training. At first, I stayed only because I had a goal: start working out. Individual sports didn’t motivate me to do regular training. I couldn’t do it alone. I needed a trigger. My team motivated me. I didn’t want to be the worst. So, with my own goals and a bit of curiosity…I gave it a try!

Ultimate is the kind of activity that needs some of those strategic and observant skills. Even though it’s fast paced and dynamic you can focus on just catching and passing the disc to others. The advantage of some introverts is their poker face. Your opponents will watch your reactions. It gives you a great advantage making you a bit unpredictable.

The greatest advantage of this sport is that people make you feel welcome. You’re treated like a part of the team, not an outsider. Many people first hear about this sport when they enter college. Many people who start their journey with Ultimate haven’t played anything before. Some played other sports. That’s why there are varying levels of competitiveness. You don’t have to worry as more experienced players will help you out right away.

You might like a bit of competition, the dynamism of the games and strategy. Just because it involves people it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. There’re so many athletes who are introverts. It doesn’t matter if there are people around you watching the game. You can tune it all out and focus on the game. The only things that matter are you, the disc, your goal, your teammates.

How about you? Do you think it matters that you’re an introvert or an extrovert when it comes to sports?


  1. Pingback:Do Introverts Like to Play Sports? - Best Sports for Introverts - Vimprovement

  2. My heart sank as I went down that list, haha. I find the sporty part of ultimate perfectly fine as an introvert; I’ve even learned (with great effort) to initiate sideline cheers and so on. The most difficult part is all the non-sports elements in between games, or during water break at practice, where we just chat and joke. I like all my teammates and enjoy their company, but find it hard to contribute. Doesn’t help that it’s not in my native language! 🙂 But what you said about people making you feel welcome – totally agree. This is for me the most laudable and attractive part of this beautiful sport 🙂

    • I don’t know why people keep pointing out the sports where you train on your own as something for introverts. Team sports are good as well. We all just need a little push, a goal. I know what you mean with the time between the games, chats and joking. I find that hard too and now that I’ve switched the team it feels like I’m doing that all over again. I guess it takes some time, getting used to the new situation and feeling comfortable. Can’t wait for the tournaments to start again!

  3. When it comes to sports I definitely change a little bit, even if I dont know people I play with I like telling them what to do and etc. because I think I know better than them. I know it’s sound a little bit odd but it is what it is. 😉

    • It sounds a little bit bossy. It seems like you could find definitely act as a captain or trainer for a team. 😉 I’m like that when I know people, get confident or the situation demands stepping up.

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