Mental Edge: How to be clutch

Photo: Peter Ackerman

Mental Edge: How to be clutch

Boys Basketball

Mental Edge: How to be clutch


Performing under pressure … Being clutch … Making the big play … Hitting the winning shot…

This is what makes sports exciting for athletes.

When athletes are young and they are playing in their backyards, on the rinks or school yard, they dream up scenarios where their last-ditch heroic efforts turn the tide and win the game in dramatic fashion. Yet, when athletes become older, fear sets in and they become hesitant to take on that role of taking that clutch shot. Some athletes get swallowed up by the moment and falter under the competitive pressure.

What makes an athlete clutch?

What are the characteristics that separate those athletes? Athletes who want the game in their hands, and feel confident they can get the job done? Or those athletes who want to defer to others to be that person because of the fear or lack of trust in themselves to do it?

First of all, being clutch doesn’t mean always making the final shot to win the game or catching the ball in the end zone or striking out the opponent in the ninth inning. Being clutch is NOT backing down from the inevitable pressure that surrounds an athlete when the game is on the line. Being clutch is feeling the pressure and performing, regardless of the possible result. Being clutch is feeling intense, but not nervous, having the trust and the ability to focus and perform up to your full potential no matter the game situation.


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