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View Full Version : Serious question: How do you improve in the clutch?


IndyColtScout
04-11-2009, 04:56 PM
Please don't just say prep and practice. Sometimes no matter how much you prepare, you can be put into a new/unforseen situation.

Sometimes, I do well in the cluth and sometimes I don't.

I want to hear what some of you have done in sports situations to help you succeed in high pressure situations.

Any tips for me?

How do you shake yourself and get that pressure/anxiety of failure out of your head?

Somse
04-11-2009, 04:57 PM
It depends on what is causing you to fail in the clutch...

IndyColtScout
04-11-2009, 05:01 PM
I would say its a mixture of emotions in my stomach, and anxiety in my head from the fear that I will not perform.

Somse
04-11-2009, 05:05 PM
I would say its a mixture of emotions in my stomach, and anxiety in my head from the fear that I will not perform.

So, first what you don't want to hear:

Preparation, practice, experience, etc. With proper preparation, even if you are nervous, you will be able to perform because it will be second nature, like breathing.

The other part is mental. You need to adopt a mindset like this:

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Don't be afraid of failure. Don't think "what if I miss this shot". Change your mindset to "I'm going to take this shot". Don't worry about the result. Either you miss and learn from it/improve or you hit it and win.

Once you realize that you aren't perfect and failure is acceptable you should not feel as nervous and become more clutch. At least, that's what worked for me.

CashmoneyDrew
04-11-2009, 05:07 PM
I know a lot of it can come down to ego/wanting to do well. I know every time I play basketball, and my team is in a position to win, I always want the ball so I can either take the shot or make a play that helps one of my teammates make the shot. That might not be what you want to hear, I just know that's how I approach pressure situations in sports.

wicket
04-11-2009, 05:10 PM
being a clutch performer is all about believe, confidence and motivation. people often try and relativate the situation but that often results in lacklusterness. Realise it is a situation where you have something to win and nothing to lose(and make you believe that it is so even when it isnt)

JeffSamardzijaIRISH
04-11-2009, 05:11 PM
IMO, people are born with this ability. It's a killer instinct that allows someone to put away opponents in the clutch.

TACKLE
04-11-2009, 05:14 PM
Shouldn't this be in the 'Relationship Advice Thread'. http://draftcountdown.com/forum/images/icons/icon12.gif

RaiderNation
04-11-2009, 05:14 PM
Im actually pretty clutch when it comes to basketball. Ive hit(from what I can remember) 4 game winning shots.

For me, dont think about it. Act like its not the game winning shot, throw, run ect...

Thumper
04-11-2009, 05:16 PM
I have never had a problem with pressure. You can't think about it, you have to go through the motions just like you would if you were in a normal situation. Block it out. Don't think about not making it, don't think about the negatives just go out there and get it done.

Rob S
04-11-2009, 05:22 PM
Being in clutch situations is the main way to get better in the cutch. Look at LeBron.....he was so bad just a few years ago, now he is up there with Kobe (altho not at the same level). You have to do it, gain some confidence and you will start doing it more regularly. If you think you can make the play and have made it before.....there is a better likelihood of actually making said play.

IndyColtScout
04-11-2009, 05:44 PM
I have an obsessive type of personality, and think about things too much. I think that is one of if not the main problem.

I know this might sound kind of out there (or maybe from the movie Office Space), but do you think its possible to reduce stress/anxiety in high pressure situations through hypnosis?

Shahin
04-11-2009, 06:33 PM
don't think about it.

that's really the best and worst piece of advice i can give. best because that's what you really need to do to be able to perform under situations like that, and worst because i really didn't give you any methods of how to clear your mind completely like that. i'll work on it.

my bad.

CJSchneider
04-11-2009, 06:37 PM
I've never had a problem in pressure situations. If anything I turn the scenario around
- this person in front of me -
they have to make this, catch me, block me, tackle me, throw it passed me, hit the ball, whatever...
in order to win.

bearfan
04-11-2009, 07:03 PM
I play singles in tennis, so there is the entire match where you are by yourself. Just do what you do best, thats my advice. I dont know what sport you are talking about, but if you're not so good at one thing, then dont rely on it when you need to pull up big. That and play smart, stay calm.

MichaelJordanEberle (sabf)
04-11-2009, 07:04 PM
Sometimes, you're just born with it or without it.

Like even before MJ was really good, and he had James Worthy on his team, Dean Smith let a freshman Michael Jordan take the national championship deciding shot, and he made it. Other guys simply never gain clutchness, and choke their whole lives.

AJHawk50
04-11-2009, 07:12 PM
I too have had issues with clutch time, playing baseball in left field. Having a line drive fly straight out to me in a critical part of the game...as games went on for me I slowly got more comfortable and even was able to make a diving catch that boosted the morale of the team, play of the season.

IndyColtScout
04-11-2009, 07:13 PM
I play singles in tennis, so there is the entire match where you are by yourself. Just do what you do best, thats my advice. I dont know what sport you are talking about, but if you're not so good at one thing, then dont rely on it when you need to pull up big. That and play smart, stay calm.

Baseball, Golf, Bowling

IndyColtScout
04-11-2009, 07:15 PM
I too have had issues with clutch time, playing baseball in left field. Having a line drive fly straight out to me in a critical part of the game...as games went on for me I slowly got more comfortable and even was able to make a diving catch that boosted the morale of the team, play of the season.

It's so frustrating with baseball sometimes. You play a better team, you beat them all game long comfortably, then the last few innings the most basic things become hard. Making throws from 3rd to 1st, fielding a tough ground ball, even when talking about other sports like golf it becomes harder to sink an easy put or with bowling becomes harder to strike or pickup a routine spare. It's really frustrating.

Job
04-11-2009, 07:29 PM
Something I learnt from hockey experience in important games is : don't try to do too much, and don't go against your style. When I played hockey, whenever I felt I needed to impress or was in an important situation, I started giving more of an "all-out" effort, meaning I started skating as fast as I could, trying to give as many body checks as I could and what not. (I was usually more of a dangler/playmaker) Result : I couldn't see as well what was happening around and was losing awareness, missing chances I normally wouldn't miss. The day I understood that, everything went better in clutch situations.

Malaka
04-11-2009, 07:44 PM
It just comes to me honestly I don't think about it.

In football I make clutch catches, plays etc., but in other sports like baseball not so much. That to me makes me think it has to come naturally, and you just can't think about it.

In football, I once made a game winning like 20 yard catch for a TD, and I also once had an INT in the endzone on the last possession of the game, and I also batted a ball down in with 2 minutes left on a 4th down. In football these things come very naturally to me. I don't think, it is all instinct and it just happens, when I made that INT, I just so the ball jumped, when I opened my eyes I was on the ground with it cradled in my arms, same with the batted ball.

However in baseball, I don't want to brag but, I was the best player on the team, but I was so unclutch it wasn't even funny. I had the most HRs, most steals, etc. but in crunch time, I remember this one game i had a runner on first and 3rd 2 outs down 1 run, and I strike out. Another time, I was playing shortstop and me and the 2nd baseman miscommunicated and ended up giving up an infield pop up as a hit and that started a rally against my team. I remember trying to steal 2nd and being thrown out, when we were down 2 in the bottom of the 9th, I remember pulling a Bill Buckner in the outfield, giving up 2 runs to the opposing team. In my 4 years of baseball, I was really not clutch although I was a good player, and I won't ******** you there.

Basketball, I was always the defensive player of the year, I never was a high scorer, every team I ever played for I always ended up winning the defensive award. But when it was my time to shoot in Basketball I didn't think I just did it, and I have had some clutch shots in basketball, I remember a game tying buzzer beater, and also a game winner with 15 seconds left.

The reason I am telling you my whole sports life story, is that, when you think too much thats when you don't do well. Baseball was my favorite sport, so I wanted to be the best, which caused me to think to much and that made fold under pressure. In football it was all instinct, and basketball I just didn't even think about it. If you can let go of your fears, you can be a clutch performer.

Sniper
04-11-2009, 07:46 PM
The biggest thing is not putting extra pressure on yourself by constantly thinking "Oh ****, there's two (or whatever) minutes left," or "Oh ****, we're in OT and how sweet would it be to score the winner?". Treat it like any other time. Don't think about it. I've had my share of successes and failures in the clutch. Most of the time that I failed was when I thought about it. Just play.

PACKmanN
04-11-2009, 07:47 PM
Please don't just say prep and practice. Sometimes no matter how much you prepare, you can be put into a new/unforseen situation.

Sometimes, I do well in the cluth and sometimes I don't.

I want to hear what some of you have done in sports situations to help you succeed in high pressure situations.

Any tips for me?

How do you shake yourself and get that pressure/anxiety of failure out of your head?
knowing that my opponent feels the same so if I don't "wake up" I will cost my team a game.

princefielder28
04-11-2009, 07:53 PM
I believe it's all about believing you can get the job done

sometimes you fail but continue to believe

Mr. Hero
04-11-2009, 08:54 PM
rub one out in the clubhouse.

LonghornsLegend
04-11-2009, 09:10 PM
Honestly if your freaking out over it and situations like these, your probably not the guy to be taking the last shot...And that's not a knock on you, but only one guy can take the last shot, maybe your the guy who sets up the guy who makes the GW shot, you have to know your role and play it.


Maybe your the guy who should be making the clean pick to free a guy up, or the key assist to get him in a good position, if that's not your forte to be making GW shots or whatever in the clutch don't force it...It's really mostly a mental thing, you need to have the mentality that if your going to be "the guy" then visualize what you want to happen and play it over in your head, confidence is big in the clutch.


After awhile MJ was so confident at the end of games, being unsure of yourself won't help.

MetSox17
04-11-2009, 09:13 PM
If by now you haven't realized if you're able to be clutch or not, you're probably screwed. You can be a very good performer, all game long, but like it has been mentioned before, most of the time it's an instinct and want to succeed that you're just born with.

It's all natural. The second you try thinking of ways to make it any different, you will fail.

CJSchneider
04-11-2009, 10:12 PM
Call Bill Buckner; I hear he has some tips.

yourfavestoner
04-12-2009, 02:08 AM
It is 100% in your head. If you know in your head that you are going to make the game winning play, you will.

kalbears13
04-12-2009, 03:08 AM
Don't be afraid of failure. Don't think "what if I miss this shot". Change your mindset to "I'm going to take this shot". Don't worry about the result. Either you miss and learn from it/improve or you hit it and win.

Omar Vizquel has a .985 fielding percentage. I read his book and he said that when fielding a ball he wouldn't think "I better not make an error." he would think "I'm going to make this play". You can't doubt yourself. Because when you do succeed you feel it's lucky. I'm pretty much repeating what everyone has said though.

Oh, and another thing. I was a pitcher in high school and I never had the overpowering fastball or the huge breaking ball or had great accuracy (I guess I did everything pretty well though). Sophomore year my JV pitching coach told me a lot of things but I only really remember one of them, and it went along the lines of this:

"When you step onto the rubber you have to have the mentality that you're going to strikeout everybody. You have to think you're the ****. No matter who gets into the box you have to know you're going to strike him out. You've got to have that bulldog mentality."

So whenever I stepped onto the rubber from then on I would challenge every batter. That year I had like a 2.7ish ERA. Junior year I hurt my shoulder and had like a 3.3 ERA.

Senior year my coach thought I sucked and wouldn't put me in. One game I had to come out of the bullpen to face the best team in the league's 3-4-5 hitters with 0 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd and we were winning 1-0 in the 6th. My pitching coach made the switch because my head coach wouldn't do it because he didn't want to put me in. He made a big scene and everything. I came in and challenged their 3 best hitters and retired all three without giving up a run. I finished the year with a 3-0 record and a 2.14 ERA.

No one ever thought I was good but I was confident I was as good as anyone else. I ended up writing a lot more than I was intending on.

someone447
04-12-2009, 08:33 AM
Please don't just say prep and practice. Sometimes no matter how much you prepare, you can be put into a new/unforseen situation.

Sometimes, I do well in the cluth and sometimes I don't.

I want to hear what some of you have done in sports situations to help you succeed in high pressure situations.

Any tips for me?

How do you shake yourself and get that pressure/anxiety of failure out of your head?

I just assume I'm the best person out there. This isn't exactly the clutch, but it has to do with the same thing. My sophomore year of high school, I got moved up to varsity because the starting QB got hurt. I was moved up the tuesday before the game. So I had 3 days of practice on varsity. The QB who started the game got hurt, so I had to go in. I wasn't the slightest bit nervous, even though there were 12-15k people at the game(it was against our rivals.) I wasn't nervous because I didn't give a damn what anyone but my teammates thought of how I did. The pressure on me didn't change whether I was playing peewee football or d1 football. My teammates and I were the only ones who mattered, I couldn't let anyone else down and I couldn't win the game for anyone else.

So my advice? **** the fans, just worry about you.

Something that I think Chuck Noll said has really stuck with me, "Being nervous is the sign of the unprepared."

PalmerToCJ
04-12-2009, 11:04 AM
It's all psychology. Some of it is just in you, some of it you can create. Confidence is the biggest thing. If you are confident in you ability to get the job done, you won't let nerves affect you.

I drag race and when I get in the finals, I need that right mix of fear of losing but at the same time the confidence that I won't to keep me on top of my game. Really helps me to lock down and focus.

Addict
04-12-2009, 11:09 AM
Improve clutch? Easy. Go into the hyperbolic time chamber!

awfullyquiet
04-12-2009, 12:23 PM
pre-game visualization.

and practice in similar situations. honestly, being emotional is the worst for any particular situation, being calculating and methodical is much more viable.

i know, i ride a bike, critical moments where you have to chase down a breakway thats rapidly escaping or in the final 1000m where you're basically in a lead-out dogfight to determine who wins... it's all about having a plan and reacting naturally, what helps is practice in such situations... why do you think football teams practice 2 minute drills... being able to pull a david tyree every time is highly unlikely... but having good hands and concentration will help you go far.

knowing your limitations is the best advice, any good coach will know these too.