Performing under pressure

Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport

Christian Swann, Lee Crust, Patricia Jackman, Stewart Vella, Mark Allen, Richard KEEGAN

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    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 the existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2272-2280
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
    Volume35
    Issue number23
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Fingerprint

    Athletic Performance
    Athletes
    Psychology
    Pressure
    Sports
    Research
    Interviews

    Cite this

    Swann, Christian ; Crust, Lee ; Jackman, Patricia ; Vella, Stewart ; Allen, Mark ; KEEGAN, Richard. / Performing under pressure : Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport. In: Journal of Sports Sciences. 2017 ; Vol. 35, No. 23. pp. 2272-2280.
    @article{d55a17d6b041492ca7e0dd635a9d26a3,
    title = "Performing under pressure: Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport",
    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 the existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.",
    keywords = "Choking, conscious control, expertise, optimal experience, peak performance",
    author = "Christian Swann and Lee Crust and Patricia Jackman and Stewart Vella and Mark Allen and Richard KEEGAN",
    year = "2017",
    doi = "10.1080/02640414.2016.1265661",
    language = "English",
    volume = "35",
    pages = "2272--2280",
    journal = "Journal of Sports Science",
    issn = "0264-0414",
    publisher = "Routledge",
    number = "23",

    }

    Performing under pressure : Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport. / Swann, Christian; Crust, Lee; Jackman, Patricia; Vella, Stewart; Allen, Mark; KEEGAN, Richard.

    In: Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 35, No. 23, 2017, p. 2272-2280.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Performing under pressure

    T2 - Exploring the psychological state underlying clutch performance in sport

    AU - Swann, Christian

    AU - Crust, Lee

    AU - Jackman, Patricia

    AU - Vella, Stewart

    AU - Allen, Mark

    AU - KEEGAN, Richard

    PY - 2017

    Y1 - 2017

    N2 - 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 the existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.

    AB - 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 the existing literature on optimal psychological states in sport.

    KW - Choking

    KW - conscious control

    KW - expertise

    KW - optimal experience

    KW - peak performance

    U2 - 10.1080/02640414.2016.1265661

    DO - 10.1080/02640414.2016.1265661

    M3 - Article

    VL - 35

    SP - 2272

    EP - 2280

    JO - Journal of Sports Science

    JF - Journal of Sports Science

    SN - 0264-0414

    IS - 23

    ER -