The Machiavellian Athlete

“Modern psychiatrist now use Machiavellian to describe people who are brilliantly and dangerously self-centered” this is described by Rebecca Coffey of Psychology Today. Which means people are selfish, driven, devious, and would do anything to get what they want. The term Machiavellian comes from Niccolo Machiavelli and his dissertation called The Prince. The Prince tackles selfishness, manipulation, cruelty, and being tricky in the expression of power. Today business leaders, politicians, and now coaches agree that Machiavellian traits are central to success.

To be competitive it means to be fearless, strong, and motivated to win. People who are competitive would do anything in their power to win and nothing can get in their way. In my opinion, being competitive is essential to being a successful athlete. Without competitiveness either in an athlete or in the work force it would be difficult to get to the top as in being where you want to be in your career.


Competitiveness and Machiavellianism relate to each other in many ways. When you are competitive you will do anything to get what you want or where you want to be. To be Machiavellian it encompasses the same trait, you go after what you want and do not let anything get in your way. Another way they compare is that both of them share a trait of being tricky and devious. People who are Machiavellian are devious about getting what they want. People who are competitive are devious; in the way they are willing to cheat to get what they want. In competitiveness and Machiavellianism people are fearless, they are willing to take chances to make it to the top.

Competitiveness and Machiavellianism relates to sports because athletes have both the traits. Athletes are fearless, selfish, and tricky, which are all traits of both characteristics. To be an athlete here at Michigan is tough. To be a star and to be on top is hard, because every athlete is as good as you are. The athletes who are on top or the star of the team are the person who is more competitive and even possibly Machiavellian. They are tricky and try to manipulate other athletes to get them to believe they are better than you are. Also, in a way, in games, they have the ability to be a dirty player. Athletics is not just about your skill in games, it is also about the mental aspect of the game. The competitiveness and Machiavellianism traits are all apart of your mental game in sports.

All in all, I think that being Machiavellian and being competitive are very similar. You see these characteristics politically and athletically. In my opinion, when we discussed Machiavellianism in my political science class, I did not think it would relate that much to sports. Although after doing some research, I realized that being competitive in sports can be Machiavellian.

One thought on “The Machiavellian Athlete

  1. I agree with Hector here, as a student athlete here at the University of Michigan its does take more than just talent to become a great player. You need to be cunning, smart, and know when to strike at the right time. Though I didn’t know about Machiavellian principles until at tenting the university, now that I take a step back and look at some of the core values of what it means to be Machiavellian and what it means to be an athlete, they both are more similar than different. Over all I think Hector was very right in his analysis of the text and how it pertains to the world of sports. If you take Machiavellian’s prince and read it from an athletes point of view, it could be a great manual for success.


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