Dr. LaVoi is a renowned sports psychologist and professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology. She is an expert in youth sports psychology.
1. What is your definition of “clutch”?
Based on sport psychology research, I believe “mental toughness” is a more accurate and academic term that is used in our field. There are many definitions of mental toughness but I like Jim Loehr’s: performing at the top range of pervious performance standards on command, regardless of the situation.
2. Do you believe that clutch is an ability that can be improved or something that someone either has or doesn’t? If one can improve this, how so?
Yes it is a learned skill. Some people learn it by experience, and others need to be taught specific skills that will increase the likelihood it occurs.
3. When thinking of high profile athlete’s, what aspects of their upbringing influence their prospectus of becoming a clutch player?
Many things influence mental toughness: parental influence, quality of coach, teammates, individual skills, having a role model, being taught how to do it, having the opportunity to be mentally tough in pressure situations, learning how to fail and persevere…there are many more facets, but these are some.