DISC Profiling for Sport

In life there are so many factors that help create results and gain success. Some factors are based on physical ability and some are based on efforts.  The efforts require ability but even more so, they require a thought, a decision and then an action.  This all comes from within – as a decision is made we often weigh up the pros and cons – sometimes we just jump straight in – other times we might walk away.  Our education, our life experiences, our environment, and our behavior guides us through every decision we make.  When we talk about DISC profiling in work and sport it about how well the ‘people side’ is managed that differentiates the mediocre from the truly great.

DISC profiling builds the self-awareness you need as a Coach, an athlete or sports professional, to take your performance to the next level. To get ahead and stay ahead. Use it to develop your emotional intelligence and understand how to consistently achieve your best results as an individual and with others. Athlete Profiling DISC profiles use proven techniques based on decades of behavioral research and are created and used specifically for sport.

For the most successful people in sport there is a distinguishing factor that separates them from their peers.  That is their constant pursuit for the competitive edge, in themselves and those they work with. They value the importance of communication, how well people work together and consistent personal and professional development. For the athlete it is having a clear and rounded view on their performance – for coaches it encompasses not only their own performance but the athlete also. Let’s not forget our managers and trainers – their awareness is vitally important for the whole team. They focus in this area as they know it results in the best outcomes and ultimately winning. While often dismissed by others as the ‘soft side’, getting it right on the ‘people side’ results in the highest performances being achieved.


Top coaches constantly pursue the competitive edge.
Consistently produce your best when it matters the most.
Improve communication, working relationships and ultimately results.

What is DISC?

DISC’s primary purpose is developing self-awareness and providing a framework to understand, then build effective relationships with others. 

Why is this important? Because in sport, what differentiates the best is never just physical or technical ability. Instead, it is who has the best mental, emotional and relationship skills. (The 2008 Olympic Study showed the top factors contributing to medal and PB performances, were a strong Coach-athlete relationship, and a high level of athlete self-awareness.)

As Joe Gibbs said: “You don’t win with X’s and O’s. What you win with is people.” DISC Profiling is the fastest and most effective way to develop the ‘people side’ of sport. DISC Profiling provides practical strategies to improve performance through:

  • Developing self-awareness
  • Effective communication
  • More productive relationships
  • Tailoring coaching
  • Identifying how each person contributes their best.
  • Its applications range from improving team effectiveness and interpersonal relationships, to leadership development, to recruitment and professional development plans.

5 things you need to know about DISC in Sport

  1. DISC focuses on behavior which is how someone prefers to act and what they do, rather than personality traits. Behavior is flexible, personality is not. We never ask an athlete to change their personality, but Coaches constantly ask athletes to adjust their technique or what they do.
  2. At its core, DISC is a simple four-quadrant model. This is critical in sport as it allows Coaches and athletes to quickly understand, remember and use. Yet, you can also delve much deeper into its theory and application to truly master this area of expertise. (Personality tests are psychometric assessments. They are more complex and require extensive training to administer and work with. Also most are only developed for business, not sport.)
  3. There is no right or wrong, best or worst DISC Profile. We have profiled many of the world’s best and see no pattern for who is more or less successful based on their DISC style.
  4. Your aim is never to ‘improve’ your DISC Profile. Instead, the focus is on developing self-awareness, knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, and ultimately knowing what behaviors will produce the best results as an individual and when working in a team. This is the key to high performance and leadership.
  5. DISC was first developed in the 1920’s and because it was never copyrighted, it has been continually developed, extended and improved on since. As a result, DISC is the most valid and reliable tool available


DISC measures a persons degree of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious behavior. Everyone has their unique level of each in the context of their role in sport. (Other profiling tools say you are this or that. DISC measures as a scale which is more accurate and useful; and allows rapid comparisons to be made.)

The four-quadrant model explains the behavior of people with high degrees of D, I, S and C. For example, someone with a high level of Dominance is direct and faster-paced (x-axis); guarded and goal focused (y-axis). In contrast, someone who has a high level of Steadiness is indirect and slower-paced (x-axis); open and relationship oriented (y-axis).

Conflict can occur with people of different DISC styles due to their conflicting priorities (the y-axis, task/goal vs relationship/people focus) and/or their pace (x-axis, slower vs faster).