To engage your reader, it's important to always show, not tell, the traits of your characters.
The athletic character trait generally refers to a person's physical ability and interest in sports or other physical activities. An athletic individual is typically strong, agile, and coordinated, and enjoys participating in physical challenges and competitions. This trait can also include a competitive nature, a desire to improve and push oneself physically, and a dedication to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
Possible Causes of Being Athletic
You might want to weave these into your character's backstory to build a more believable character:
Early exposure to sports or physical activity
Enjoyment of the physical and mental challenge of sports
Competitive nature and desire to win
Social benefits of being part of a sports team or community
Genetic predisposition to athleticism
Personal values that prioritize physical fitness and well-being
Positive role models who were athletes or emphasized physical fitness
Desire for health and fitness benefits associated with athleticism
Attitudes Associated With Being Athletic
You may be able to show being athletic through their attitudes:
Thoughts and Struggles Associated With Being Athletic
Here are some ideas for things your athletic character may think or struggle with:
Experiencing the highs of victory and the lows of defeat and learning to cope with both
Balancing their passion for their sport with other areas of their life, such as relationships or career goals
Dealing with the fear of failure and disappointment, both for themselves and for those who look up to them
Striving to be a positive role model and inspiration to others, while also feeling the weight of that responsibility
Facing criticism or negative opinions from others who don't understand or value their athletic pursuits
Constantly pushing themselves to be the best and feeling the pressure to maintain their physical abilities
Struggling with injuries and setbacks that threaten their athletic career and identity
Struggling with the temptation of performance-enhancing drugs or other shortcuts to success
Emotions Associated With Being Athletic
Here are some ideas for emotions your athletic character may experience:
Facial Expressions Linked to Being Athletic
Here are some facial expressions your athletic character may exhibit:
A determined and competitive expression during a game or race
A relaxed and controlled smile
A sweaty and flushed face after a vigorous workout
A confident and determined facial expression
A focused and intense gaze
A slightly furrowed brow indicating concentration
A relaxed and content expression after a successful performance
Body Language Related to Being Athletic
Here is some body language your athletic character may exhibit:
Moving with agility and coordination
Leaning forward to show engagement and enthusiasm
Using expansive arm gestures to emphasize points
Walking with a confident stride
Maintaining eye contact while speaking
Displaying strong and controlled movements
Maintaining a relaxed and open facial expression
Using hand gestures to communicate energy and excitement
Standing tall with an upright posture
Behaviors Associated With Being Athletic
Here are some behaviors your athletic character may exhibit:
Lifting weights or doing strength-training exercises
Running, jogging, or sprinting
Participating in fitness challenges or competitions
Monitoring and tracking progress through fitness apps or wearable technology
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, including getting enough sleep and staying hydrated
Practicing yoga, Pilates, or other mind-body exercises
Stretching or doing flexibility exercises
Participating in team or individual sports, such as soccer, basketball, tennis, or swimming
Engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or skiing
Growth and Evolution of Athletic Characters
Here are some ways that your athletic character may grow and evolve over time:
Overcome a physical setback: The character could face an injury or other physical setback that forces them to adapt and find new ways to compete.
Develop leadership skills: The character could take on a leadership role, either as captain of a team or by mentoring younger athletes.
Learn to work with others: If the character is used to being a solo athlete, they could learn to work better with others on a team or in a group setting.
Learn to lose gracefully: Winning isn't everything, and the character could learn to accept defeat with grace and use it as motivation to improve.
Develop mental toughness: Athleticism can be as much a mental game as a physical one, and the character could work on developing their mental toughness and resilience.
Find a new passion: The character could discover a new sport or activity that they become passionate about and explore.
Athletic Character Stereotypes to Avoid
Try to avoid writing stereotypical athletic characters like these examples:
Avoid making your athletic character excessively muscular or physically perfect, as this can come across as unrealistic and not relatable.
Avoid making your athletic character too arrogant or boastful about their abilities.
Avoid making your athletic character a one-dimensional jock who is only interested in sports and nothing else.
Avoid portraying your athletic character as aggressive or overly competitive to the point of being unsportsmanlike.
Negatives of Being Athletic
Here are some potential negatives of being athletic. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.
Pressure to perform well and meet expectations from coaches, teammates, and fans
Higher risk of injury
Difficulty balancing athletics with other responsibilities, such as work or school
Pressure to constantly maintain physical fitness
Time-consuming training schedules
Limited social life due to intensive training and competitions
Positives of Being Athletic
Here are some potential positives of being athletic. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.
Better sleep quality and patterns
Improved coordination, balance, and agility
Improved time-management skills and productivity
Increased self-esteem and confidence
Improved physical health and fitness
Opportunities to meet new people and make friends
Increased stamina and energy levels
Increased discipline, dedication, and commitment
Enhanced mental well-being and reduced stress
Verbal Expressions of Athletic Characters
Here are some potential expressions used by athletic characters:
"I'm ready for anything!"
"Push through the pain!"
"Bring it on!"
"I am strong and capable!"
"Never give up!"
"I can do this!"
"I won't back down!"
"I'll give it my all!"
Relationships of Athletic Characters
Here are some ways that being athletic could affect your character's relationships:
They may be self-disciplined and goal oriented, which can be inspiring to others but also lead to them being perceived as intense or overly focused.
They may enjoy bonding with others over physical activities and sports.
They may value physical fitness and health, which can influence their relationships in terms of shared interests and lifestyle choices.
They may have high energy levels and enjoy spending time outdoors or engaging in physical activities, which can sometimes make them impatient with more sedentary individuals.
They may have a tendency to push themselves and others to their limits, which can sometimes lead to burnout or injury if not managed properly.
They may have a strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie, which can make them excellent collaborators in group settings.
They may have a competitive nature that extends to their relationships, but they usually have a good sportsmanship attitude.
Examples of Characters Who Are Athletic
Rocky Balboa (Rocky series by Sylvester Stallone)
Santiago (The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway)
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins)
Lennie Small (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck)
Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan)
Brian Robeson (Hatchet by Gary Paulsen)
Rudy Ruettiger (Rudy: My Story by Rudy Ruettiger)
Harry Potter (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Writing Exercises for Writing Athletic Characters
Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write athletic characters:
Write a scene in which your character competes in a sports game or athletic competition.
Create a scene in which your character uses their physical abilities to save someone else.
Describe a moment when your character has to make a difficult decision between their athletic pursuits and other important priorities.
Write a scene in which your character is forced to confront their own limitations or weaknesses in their physical abilities.
Create a scene in which your character uses their athletic skills to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle.
Describe a character's daily workout routine.
Write a scene in which your character is injured and has to deal with the consequences of not being able to be as active as they usually are.
Show your character teaching someone else a new sport or exercise.
Create a scene in which your character overcomes a physical challenge, such as climbing a mountain or running a marathon.