Skip to main content

A new study suggests anger management is not what boxers like Mike Tyson need to win.

TEDDY BLACKBURN

They snarl at each other, flail their fists and circle their intended prey.

And when the boxing ring showdown begins, it's no wonder the gloved ones pack such an intense punch.

Getting all fired up on anger before a match could ramp up an athlete's performance, a new British study has found.

Story continues below advertisement

The research from the University of Bangor aimed to test how emotions affect an athlete's play. Their findings, published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, showed that revved-up anger was the most potent emotion for adding zeal to a kick or a punch, says lead study author Tim Woodman, a professor in the university's School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences.

"We found that effort and performance both increased when we induced a sense of hope of success or anger in our participants," he said in a press release.

Participants recreated a whole set of emotions, from happiness to hope to anger, before performing their sport. The angry athletes improved their performance by up to 25 per cent, but that only happened when they were punching or kicking.

However, trained boxers are discouraged from getting emotional before a match, says Robert Crête, executive director of the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association. They're supposed to keep a clear focus on their strategy instead.

"It would work for the average day-to-day person who wants to hit the bag and get rid of his frustration," he says. "However, athletes are in a different league." Extroverted study participants were also better at expressing their anger, Dr. Woodman noted, because they may find it easier to show emotion in public.

That ring true for you, Mike Tyson?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.