Why narcissists are more likely to break the rules of sport

Can player behaviour be changed?

It is obviously very difficult to change a person’s personality fundamentally, and successful sports men and women undoubtedly require drive and self-belief in order to perform at such high levels. The challenge is to devise strategies for team coaches to encourage more positive behaviour from team members who may have this character trait.

We suggest focusing on sharing responsibility across teams. Dividing the role of team captaincy, for example, would encourage players to take responsibility for their actions, and they would be setting an example for teammates follow. Such an exercise would emphasise individuals’ need to take responsibility for their actions and how it can contribute to the good of the team. We already know from previous research in sport that narcissists don’t make the best leaders over a prolonged period, and so sharing that leadership duty is probably best.