The Psychology of Clutch Performance: A Systematic Review

Schweickle, Matthew and Swann, Christian and Jackman, Patricia and Vella, Stewart (2019) The Psychology of Clutch Performance: A Systematic Review. In: British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference, 3rd December 2019.

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Abstract

Purpose: To systematically review, synthesise, and evaluate existing research on clutch performance. Primary objectives included reviewing how clutch performance has been defined and measured, assessing the quality of the available evidence, and discussing findings regarding the occurrence of clutch performances.

Background: Clutch performance is commonly understood as increased performance under pressure, typically in the context of sport. There has been a considerable rise in both the quantity and diversity of research examining clutch performance in the last decade. However, definitions of clutch performance have been criticised as being inadequate, whilst fundamental questions surround whether clutch performance even exists as an observable phenomenon in sport.

Methods: This review was guided by the PRISMA guidelines. A systematic search of the literature across 10 databases was completed. Papers were included if they were a peer-reviewed journal article in English language, reported original empirical evidence, published prior to May 2019, and investigated clutch performance in the field of sport, exercise, or physical activity. In total, 31 empirical studies met the inclusion criteria. A narrative synthesis of qualitative and quantitative studies was conducted.

Conclusions: There is considerable heterogeneity in how clutch performance has been defined, conceptualised, and measured, limiting the ability to draw valid conclusions surrounding the existence, or occurrence, of clutch performance. This review highlights the need to establish consensus surrounding definitions of clutch performance. Specifically, this review outlines the need to explore the aspects of performance that are necessary for clutch performance, in addition to investigating what situations athletes evaluate as constituting pressure.

Keywords:clutch performance, positive psychology
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:39129
Deposited On:09 Dec 2019 09:33

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