Anxiety may affect sports performance positively or negatively. A 1995 study by Terry and Slade, Discriminant effectiveness of psychological state measures in predicting performance outcome in karate competition, found that anxiety is a multi-dimensional construct that includes both un-perceived and perceived components. Perceived anxiety has an inverse relationship with performance such that an increase in irrational thoughts related to anxiety will decrease performance whereas un-perceived anxiety has an inverted U relationship with performance such that an optimal level of anxiety improves performance whereas too much anxiety will decrease performance.
A 1996 study by Taylor, Intensity regulation and athletic performance, emphasizes the importance of conceptualizing anxiety as intensity, because competitors may misunderstand the terms anxiety, nervousness, or arousal. Each athlete needs to develop the ability to find and maintain their prime intensity level that is most optimal to performance. Research has found that not only can level of anxiety predict outcome of competition, but that martial arts training appears to decrease overall anxiety.
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