Abstract Research on motivational climates consistently demonstrates that mastery-focused climates are associated with positive outcomes and ego-involving performance climates lead to maladaptive outcomes. However, the role of personality within such a framework has been largely ignored. To redress this imbalance, we examined the potential role of narcissism in moderating the effects of different motivational climates on leader-inspired extra effort in training. Training is where rugby players spend most of their rugby time and we were keen to examine the combination of personality and climate that might maximise the yield of such training environments. Female rugby players (n = 126) from 15 clubs completed measures of narcissism, motivational climate and effort. Moderated regression analyses revealed that narcissism moderated the relationship between motivational climate and effort. Increases in either performance or mastery climates were associated with increases in effort for narcissists; no such relationship was revealed for low narcissists. The findings demonstrate the importance of considering personality within rugby training environments, as it is clear that not every player will respond the same way to specific training conditions. Coaches who understand this and are able to tailor individualised motivational climates will likely gain the greatest benefits from their different players.