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Lets talk 'Clutch'

Now as the season winds down, I've had a chance to visit with 3 experts on ` clutch.' For 13 years I coached high school women's select soccer at the B, A and Premier levels. All 3 of my daughters played at the highest select levels as well as ODP and college. So I went to each one, now that they're `retired' (my youngest played for the University of Miami, Fla.'s traveling club team last year, but has transferred to OSU don't know what her plans are this year. Probably too late to do that this season.) I asked them `Is there such a thing as `clutch' and are some players more `clutch' than others?

E. 27, Married, 9 yr. Old son, #2 on the way - still plays indoor - Played at the highest level premier soccer,4 year varsity starter HS soccer,  and select level trainer and coach for several years. Graduated with degree in Organizational Management w/ 3.8 accum from UC. Position Played: Striker and was an exceptional goal scorer at all levels of play. Her comments:
"Didn't any of these boys (she thinks that RRs are all men) play ball? If you've played at any decent level of competition you wouldn't waste your time talking about this. You would know that a select few players have the ability in pressure situations to take over a game and make the difference between winning and losing. Some players can do this more often than others that are why they are clutch players`. As a coach, I know which girls I can count on to come through when we need them. Some people just have an extra gear and they know where to find it. I know because I did.

A. 24, presently applying to medical schools. Played at the highest level premier soccer. HS and also Division II College soccer. She graduated from Bard College and Antioch College w/degrees in biological sciences and organic chemistry. 3.9 accum. Played stopper and took it very personally if anyone scored against her. Her comments:

`As a scientist, I live in the world of rational, quantifiable and organized thought. Having said that, I still cannot define specifically what electricity is. Electricity is only electricity when it is in process.And similar to electricity, the ability to quantify clutch action requires acceptance of an event that is in process rather than being a tangible product. Like my sister says if you've played at a high enough level of competition, consistently, you wouldn't waste your time talking about something that is only understandable as an experience. Playing soccer is not stringing along isolated events to create a game but rather a cumulative living process of the game unfolding within and without you. Maybe baseball is different. I very much doubt it.

M. 19, sophomore at Ohio sate - Played at the highest level of premier soccer, ODP, 4yr. Varsity HS soccer, University of Miami, Coral Galbes, Div. I college traveling club team. Studying biological and medical engineering. 4.00 acum, Plays center mid in soccer. ` I've played competitive athletics from the time that I was 7. Many players make clutch plays at any given important moment in any game. However that doesn't make them `clutch'. Great players accomplish clutch feats way more often than average players. You can look it up if you don't believe me. Why are Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, and Chad Johnson great players? Because they utilize their talent to its fullest again and again, especially in crunch times.  I don't know much about baseball; my favorite player was Pokey Reese! However, I agree w/ my sisters. I know from experience that there are players who have the ability to rise to the occasion and played a very high level under pressure. These are the players who I would describe as "clutch." My sisters were chosen as Team Captains at every level because they were leaders. Among the qualifications for athletic leadership is that ability to crank it up and make stuff happen when it needs to happen and to do it time after time after time.

So for what it is worth, my girls tell it from the stand point of the player. As  a longtime coach, I agree with them. (BTW my youngest was and is still being chosen as a  captain based on her leadership style. She was too shy to bring it up, but I'm not.) I know some of you logicians will disagree with what we are saying. But as M. says "You can look it up"! Michael is Michael becasue he was so Clutch that even the Big O says MJ is the greatest clutch basketball player in the history of the game. The Big O is incapable of lying!

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