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Performing under pressure: Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • Clutch performance is improved performance under pressure. However little research has examined the psychological state experienced by athletes in these situations. Therefore, this study qualitatively examined the subjective experience underlying clutch performance across a range of sports (e.g., team, individual) and standards (Olympic to recreational athletes). Sixteen athletes (Mage = 27.08 years; SD = 6.48) took part in in-depth, semi-structured interviews primarily after an exceptional performance (M = 4.38 days later; SD = 3.14). Data were analysed inductively and thematically. Clutch states involved 12 characteristics, including heightened and deliberate concentration, intense effort, and heightened awareness, which distinguished the experience of clutch from other optimal psychological states such as flow. Other characteristics, such as perceptions of control, were also reported and supported previous experimental research on clutch. These findings present in-depth qualitative insights into the psychological state underlying clutch performance, and are discussed in relation to existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.

Authors


  •   Swann, Christian F. (external author)
  •   Crust, Lee (external author)
  •   Jackman, Patricia C. (external author)
  •   Vella, Stewart A.
  •   Allen, Mark S.
  •   Keegan, Richard J. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Swann, C., Crust, L., Jackman, P., Vella, S. A., Allen, M. S. & Keegan, R. (2017). Performing under pressure: Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35 (23), 2272-2280.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85006265310

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3914&context=sspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2911

Number Of Pages


  • 8

Start Page


  • 2272

End Page


  • 2280

Volume


  • 35

Issue


  • 23

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Clutch performance is improved performance under pressure. However little research has examined the psychological state experienced by athletes in these situations. Therefore, this study qualitatively examined the subjective experience underlying clutch performance across a range of sports (e.g., team, individual) and standards (Olympic to recreational athletes). Sixteen athletes (Mage = 27.08 years; SD = 6.48) took part in in-depth, semi-structured interviews primarily after an exceptional performance (M = 4.38 days later; SD = 3.14). Data were analysed inductively and thematically. Clutch states involved 12 characteristics, including heightened and deliberate concentration, intense effort, and heightened awareness, which distinguished the experience of clutch from other optimal psychological states such as flow. Other characteristics, such as perceptions of control, were also reported and supported previous experimental research on clutch. These findings present in-depth qualitative insights into the psychological state underlying clutch performance, and are discussed in relation to existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.

Authors


  •   Swann, Christian F. (external author)
  •   Crust, Lee (external author)
  •   Jackman, Patricia C. (external author)
  •   Vella, Stewart A.
  •   Allen, Mark S.
  •   Keegan, Richard J. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Swann, C., Crust, L., Jackman, P., Vella, S. A., Allen, M. S. & Keegan, R. (2017). Performing under pressure: Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35 (23), 2272-2280.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85006265310

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3914&context=sspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2911

Number Of Pages


  • 8

Start Page


  • 2272

End Page


  • 2280

Volume


  • 35

Issue


  • 23

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom