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MOTM Aug 2010
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This type description comes from Your Key to Sports Success (12th Edition, 2006) by Jonathan Niednagel. An updated edition is expected to be released later this year, and if you would like to know more about Jonathan Niednagel's Brain Typing system you can purchase the book from his web site, BrainTypes.com - Understanding for the new millenium.
BCAL / INFJ "Wordsmith"
potential gifted writer; imaginative, conscientious; has concern for the needs and development of others; empathetic; enjoys enriching inner life; methodical; quietly forceful; counselor; language skilled.



Though Introverted, here are truly “people persons,” ones so concerned with others that they may appear Extraverted. They have endless ideas, always considering possibilities, being happiest when these ideas are helping and bettering others.
As children, INFJs are often quiet and day dreamy, maybe even complacent. They want to understand and be understood – which helps them enjoy academic activities. They tend to be excellent students, high achievers, dependable and steady. Finding school rewarding, they quickly learn that their minds are a key to the world of learning and creativity.
INFJs are likely to be seen as mystical, so great are their vivid imaginations. They live to intuit, with visionary abilities with which few can completely relate. Their ideas are expertly expressed in writing and in verbal communication.
INFJs are usually organized and decisive, with a willingness to work long and hard. They tend to have clear goals, are skilled at working with people, and relate to others with empathetic and compassionate skill. They often feel compelled to render service to humanity. While carrying heavy inner burdens of their own, they can become overburdened with the world’s troubles. Because they can be easily hurt by others, they may retreat to a private, safer world.
So much of what is inside INFJs is hidden, not fully tapped for our appreciation. Their caring affection may not be outwardly shown, but their quiet strength is felt by others. They may not prefer to lead, but spread their ideas in a deliberate and quiet way.
The extreme end of this tendency is that INFJs have ideals and causes to fight for and may become rigid and demanding, with streaks of stubbornness. Their visions deal with human welfare. However rigid their projects begin, harmony is usually reached as the goals near.
The INFJ tends to choose occupations in counseling, clinical psychology, psychiatry, teaching, clergy, medicine, social work, architecture, and media specialties. INFJs seek harmony in every part of life. They make loving spouses and fiercely devoted parents, becoming deeply bonded to their children.
The four Introverted iNtuitive Types (INFP, INFJ, INTP, INTJ) are considered the least commonly found Types in America, comprising an estimated 2 percent each.

INFJ Sports Profile

Intelligent, Hard working Athletes
Studious by nature, INFJs reflect deeply and creatively in sports. They use their heads with a grasp of the “big picture.” Methodically and painstakingly, they work to improve their skills.
INFJs are Introverted, left brain dominant NFs. Though not commonly found in professional sports, they are capable of athletic success. Like other NFs, they are able to develop body harmony, but must begin athletics at an early age if they hope to do the best for their Type. If they do not start young, INFJs can be awkward in their motor skills.
Very few INFJs have been successful in professional sports. The ones that seem to make it are found in pro basketball, and they are tall. Not relying on smooth body coordination or a shooting touch, they primarily have made it through hustle and attitude. Chris Dudley and Jim McIlvane are two recent NBA INFJs.
Smaller INFJs who have devoted their lives to athletic endeavors can become successful in their chosen sports. The higher in competition they go, however, the more difficult it will be to excel against the competition. Yet INFJs are fortunate to have great minds for numerous vocations in the event their pro sports dreams don’t pan out.
Though INFJs and INFPs are exceptionally close in their typological letters, they are far removed in their athletic movements. The right-brained INFPs are born with more fluid athletic skills. Consider INFP Shawn Bradley, the 7’6” NBA basketball player. His father said:
He was always coordinated despite being tall. When he was 4 years old, we gave him a bike and he was riding it around after about an hour.
In junior high, Bradley played football – quarterback and receiver. In high school he played baseball – a .400 hitter – and golf. These were in addition to basketball!
The L.A. Times said:
He was blessed with enough coordination for his favorite sports hobby to be water skiing.
Not all INFPs are as gifted as Shawn Bradley. If, like Shawn, they began sports at an early age, however, they would perform similarly. Neither would all INFJs have as much difficulty in developing their skills as would tall INFJs. (Exceptionally tall persons reveal the Brain Type differences in motor skills most noticeably.) I have played sports against INFJs who had excellent motor coordination. They started sports at an early age.
No person of any Brain Type should ever give up on his or her athletic dreams. Yet it is good to know beforehand the potential difficulties that one’s inborn design will experience along the way. This ensures a wise approach to the decision of going forward or not, as you realistically face the obstacles. This illustration can also teach differences in Types, and how some must work harder and smarter to achieve success.
The NBA’s Chris Dudley is another tall INFJ. Through hard work, good defense and INFJ intelligence (a Yale graduate), Dudley has also achieved basketball success. Unfortunately, he’s been recognized as the NBA’s worst free throw shooter. He once missed 17 in a row in an NBA game. Near the end of the 1992 NBA season, shooting a horrific 32% from the line, Dudley answered some of his critics. To insure victory at the end of the game, opposing coach Don Nelson had his Golden State Warriors foul Chris intentionally. Dudley responded by making all eight of his free throws!
Chris talked about his charity stripe tosses:
Chris Dudley said:
I can make them in practice, but when I get into a game I start thinking about making the perfect shot. I have too many things on my mind and can’t relax.
INFJs, like all 8 dominant left-hemisphere Brain Types, will tend to get more mechanical in their motor movements under pressure. Reading the mental section in this book should help them to learn to relax more. As a note of encouragement to all INFJs, Chris Dudley’s shot has gotten progressively better over the years. Since he didn’t develop his motor movements in youth the way most athletes do, body synchronization has not come easily – especially considering his nearly 7-foot frame.
I played a pickup basketball game recently and was completely outplayed by an INFJ my size (6’3”). His shot was sound and deadly and his defense was exceptional. If INFJs start young enough and work hard at their sport, they can be very good athletes.

Conclusion
I desire to research INFJs more in the future. Because they do not have the high sports profile of many other Types, I have more to learn regarding their abilities in the various sports.

Type Tips
INFJs should begin developing motor skills as soon as possible. They should play the sports most fun for them to insure a continuation and commitment to exercise.
Learning to control their emotions and anxiety in competition is essential for success.
As Introverts, INFJs often lack the sports energy of the Extraverted Types. In the more active sports, it is important that INFJs place an emphasis on energetic play.

PROBABLE INFJs IN SPORTS: Basketball: Chris Dudley, Jim McIlvane
PROBABLE WELL KNOWN INFJs: Lamar Hunt

Popular Career Choices
Psychology, counseling, therapy, ministry, religious educator, scientific research, medicine, journalism, writing and editing, teacher
 

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I wonder how many of us are even going to take the time to read this.

I mean, I appreciate it and all (really), but I just wonder.

Because we're not exactly known for our coordination skills. hahaha

I consider myself to be "gracefully clumsy." My balance is amazing, but I knock everything over, trip over my feet, and run into walls.

Here's another Fiona Apple quote: "I seem to you to seek a new disaster every day!" hahahaha
My husband says that fits me well.
 

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You want a good laugh? Watch me play tennis. I'd often swing the racket only to have the ball wizz past seconds later :laughing:

The only medals I've ever got in school was for long distance running. I love running. It allows me to work out my thoughts and feelings while I exercise.
 

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You want a good laugh? Watch me play tennis. I'd often swing the racket only to have the ball wizz past seconds later :laughing:

The only medals I've ever got in school was for long distance running. I love running. It allows me to work out my thoughts and feelings while I exercise.
hahahaha
I do the same thing when I play tennis! :) It's a good workout though since I play in the free courts and have to chase the balls myself!

I was good with the running too, but only sprinting. I was never in good enough shape to run long distance.
 

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What the crap? I'm coordinated. I was a gymnastics coach in college and could do front/backflips.

I can't believe the person who wrote that article actually mentioned Shawn Bradley. Did they really have to select the worst athletes to represent our group? How embarrassing.
 

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What the crap? I'm coordinated. I was a gymnastics coach in college and could do front/backflips.
I think we're good when we're in practice. But most of us aren't in practice. :)

I used to play volleyball, and I was quite good when I was in practice. Once I started to lose practice I started to get bad at it again though. I lost practice my senior year because we got a new coach and one of the other (not nice) girls lied to her and told her I sucked (was supposed to be a starter that year), and she didn't even give me a chance. I was serving balls to the rest of the team the entire year. :p I got really great at serving! haha
 

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Well, that's true. I tried to do a frontflip last month and it freaked me out. It's been at least eight years since I've done anything like that.
 

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Shawn Bradley is described there as INFP, not INFJ - they were using him for comparative purposes. Thankfully, INFPs can find solace in the fact that Julius Erving is also their type in this system. :laughing:

Anyway, I started basketball fairly early (age eight) and I'm pretty coordinated in that sport. I played rec league basketball for several years as a kid and did quite well. I still play basketball in my mid-twenties and often find myself playing in games with guys even though I'm a short white girl, lol.

Weightlifting and some cardio are my other athletic interests. I was also a good server in volleyball and a good pitcher in softball, but it's been years since I played those sports, so who knows if that would be true now. I'm pretty average at bowling. I suck at golf. I haven't played football since I was a kid, but I wasn't that good (it's not a big sport among chicks anyway, lol). I was okay at soccer. I've never really played tennis. I'm unable to skate, swim, or ride a bicycle, which eliminates a bunch of sports. I'm not really flexible enough for gymnastics.
 

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I am completely incapable of any sport that involves hitting a ball with a stick or other object that is not a part of me - i.e. baseball, tennis, etc. With practice I can do okay with other sports as long as they do not involve unwanted physical contact with other individuals or being stared down by aggressive players. I am good at pool with practice though...
 

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I took up boxing at age 15, and I did have some coordination issues. Here's the thing though, I required a completely different approach than most people. My boxing coach tried to make us learn how to do it by letting us throw the punches and correcting our mistakes when he noticed them, but that didn't work for me. I had to watch videos of boxers throwing the punches, analyze their movements and understand the physics behind the blows. As soon as I understand exactly how something works, my body follows my understanding. I basically need to study the theory behind the movements. Learning how to drive was a similar experience for me.

Maybe I'm just an oddball though. :tongue:
 

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SLN, learning by theory is nearly always the best route for me to go as well. :happy: For instance, I had little physical training in basketball prior to taking up the sport at age 8, but by then I'd already watched so many games that I had a nice concept in my head of how to play the game. Very little had to be demonstrated to me via repetition.
 
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Right-o. Not an oddball then.

...or maybe we both are? :crying:
 
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Interesting article. I started playing Tee ball at age 5 and then moved into tennis at age 6. Practiced everyday for a lot of years.. got pretty good, beat some real good players and did some high tournaments. I'm a tall INFJ too.

What I thought was really interesting was that he said "Infjs have to learn to relax" which totally makes sense because that is one of the main struggles I had with tennis and piano.. relaxing everything.

When he said that INFJs get more mechanical under pressure, I'm not sure if he meant that in a good or bad way. All I know is that my highschool and college coach for the team said I was one of their best players for tolerating mass amounts of pressure... I'm fairly certain it has something to do with the Intuition side.
 

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I find INFJ's to be better than me at some sports, probably because they're way more careful than I and think things through. I have a tendency to hurl my body into whatever I'm doing like a runaway train. I once taught my INFJ friend how to play raquetball. He soon destroyed me.
 

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I think my lack of coordination is due to the fact that I'm highly unobservant in relation to the physical world. I can't tell you what color shirt I'm wearing without looking down to check, and I have a tendency to walk into furniture, doors, and even walls because as I'm walking around, I'm so much in my own mind that I completely disregard common obstacles in my path. :blushed:

However, I began playing soccer at seven and took to it very naturally. I found that my intuition was a tremendous boon in that I could predict plays unfolding and disrupt them. Also, I was able to read my teammates and my opponents, which allowed me to set up plays successfully. I was a good athlete until I began developing an autoimmune disorder around age sixteen.

Oh, in case anyone's curious, at 5'2" I'm a little below the average height for women in the US. No tall female INFJ here!
 

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I had to watch videos of boxers throwing the punches, analyze their movements and understand the physics behind the blows. As soon as I understand exactly how something works, my body follows my understanding.
This is exactly how I learn jam skating moves. I watch videos and break down the moves step by step. I visualize what parts of my body need to work together to make a move happen. For more complicated moves I will sometimes walk it through without skates until I have memorized what I will be doing. Then I put on the skates and work on the form. It's a very mechanical approach at first.

Later after I've completed a move several times like anybody else it gets moved into long-term memory, integrated into muscle memory. From that point on it is a matter of refinement. It all begins with visualizing those moves and understanding them. I begin that way with the idea and then I end in action.
 

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Studious by nature, INFJs reflect deeply and creatively in sports. They use their heads with a grasp of the “big picture.” Methodically and painstakingly, they work to improve their skills.
This is how I have to learn a sport, visualize and analyze first - then act. Refinement comes after a very long process of analysis, repetition and more analysis until the moves are perfected in muscle memory.

Other types may take less time to achieve their goal with the phrase "Practice makes perfect"

We take longer but are accurate. I say "Perfect practice makes perfect"

INFJs are Introverted, left brain dominant NFs. Though not commonly found in professional sports, they are capable of athletic success. Like other NFs, they are able to develop body harmony, but must begin athletics at an early age if they hope to do the best for their Type. If they do not start young, INFJs can be awkward in their motor skills.
With inferior Se it's surprising to me that we can tie our shoes before age 35. But seriously early exposure helps and I found that my athletic ability just exploded as I entered my late 30s and early 40s.

INFJs, like all 8 dominant left-hemisphere Brain Types, will tend to get more mechanical in their motor movements under pressure.
This killed me in jam skating competition back in April. Moves that normally I would just be doing very fluidly with a direct embrace of Se suddenly become very stiff. With shooting getting very mechanical when you are trying to just breath and squeeze a trigger isn't too bad. But if you sieze up and get mechanical on roller skates you're going to not only lose, you'll wind up with your butt on the floor.

As far as a pro career goes... very few people make a full time living at any of the sports I enjoy. And even if they did for me sport is something reserved for a Pure experience. It is a time when I am exercising my body and enjoying my awareness of it. No need to screw that up by adding even more burden to it.
 

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Interesting thoughts, I totally agree. I remember a few years ago in college (im 24), someone asked me if I played a lot of sports in high school because I seemed "athletic".

The only sport I played was golf. But I did watch a TON of many types of sports and I always paid attention to how they did stuff. So before doing something I really think about what it should look like and try to emulate that.

I'm no special athlete, but I like to think that I am a little above average athletically.
 

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I think I accidentally nuked part of my comments. Something I was mentioning was that I think the introverted intuitives as a group, and INFJs in particular tend to lean towards unconventional sports. I am drawn to sports where you are competing more against yourself than directly against others. Like so many other areas of life I think this tends to put us in the woodwork, hidden in more obscure places. Also I lean more towards sports that require the development of very specialized skills that involve patience and concentration. So instead of football and basketball - maybe you find INFJ more in sports requiring such refinement. Some sports I've participated in which fit the bill;

Competitive shooting
Archery
Cross-country skiing
Rock climbing
Water skiing
Hiking, mountaineering
Hot air ballooning (back in the 80s I did this for about 4 years)
Jam skating

Shooting and archery probably typify the Ni-*-Ti-Se combination for INFJ the most. I did very well at those because it was all a matter of concentration, controlling breathing, relying on a relationship between the mind and the muscles - and the space-time between the shooter and the target is just this world you inhabit on your own. You can whip the socks off the other competitors just by locking yourself in your own world and competing against yourself while never looking at their scores. Victory comes as a surprise. A complete and wonderful surprise because you never know how close you are until the end. I loved those sports.

I would say the non-competitive activities like hiking and hot air ballooning include Fe because there is an emotional component. Fe-Se are invoked strongly in jam skating since there is creativity and artistry combined with the athletic skill.
 

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the part about appearing awkward during motor skills is soooooo true......my friends always make fun of me while were playing any kind of sport....I didn't really like sports as a kid....I liked books and video games lol.
 
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