Can’t get into this now…as I’m working on my funky wiindigookaanzhimowin moves for a secret Wendigo Ceremony I’m attending this afternoon.
Is clutch performance a nice narrative to help newspapers sell, and blogs generate hits with heated debate? If you asked New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan clutch performance not only exists, but can be articulated tangibly.
Sullivan joined me on Sunday night’s podcast to discuss his book “Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t.” In the book he describes clutch performers as possessing more than luck, but “having the ability to do what you can do normally under immense pressure.” There are five traits of a clutch performer: focus, discipline, adaptability, the ability to be fully in the present, and being driven–not thwarted–by fear and desire. Clutch doesn’t just mean hitting the game winning home run, but it could be a hit and run single that puts runners at the corners with none out in the first inning. That event could lead to the starting pitcher unraveling and blowing the game open early. He describes clutch performers as grinders. Individuals that don’t think of the glory that they will get, but rather are just focused on that one task and one moment. Perhaps that is why some of the most unlikely individuals become heroes when the stakes are highest during a short postseason series.
On the flip side a “choker” is unable to accept responsibility and has a tendency to over think and be overconfident in those key situations. We have seen many individuals fall into this category throughout the history of sports, especially in this town.
It appears that Sullivan has taken this very intangible concept and made it tangible outside of the pure numbers of hitting with runners in scoring position, and “late & close.” Perhaps, we finally have tangibly described clutch performance in a way that even the nonbelievers can understand.