Esports
Esports

The Clutch, Explained in less than 3 minutes

What is the definition of the Clutch and what does it have to do with esports? Matt Simpson tells you everything you need to know in this new Episode of Esports in Less than 3 Minutes. Gaming Terminology Lesson #8
The Clutch, Explained in less than 3 minutes

Transcript of Esports In Less Than 3 Minutes: The Clutch by Matt Simpson - November  2019

When I first started learning about esports I kept hearing the word Clutch, and sort of pretending I knew what it meant but actually secretly I had no idea. So this video will be not only an explanation for you as to what Clutch is, but also a chance for me to spend some time to actually learn what it means... In its simplest form, the clutch is the moment in an esports match or tournament where players are under the most intense pressure and need to have maximum focus, concentration and calm in order to succeed.

Usually the team or player in the clutch is able to succeed and help their team to victory, as supposed to choking, where they fail and the team loses. Clutch is actually not a term that started out in the world of esports. In fact, it's used in a lot of regular sports too, particularly American sports like Ice Hockey, American Football or Basketball. The term was originally used in baseball, in particular, to describe the batsman delivering the runs necessary to win a game in a high-pressure moment. For everyone outside the U.S, baseball is like rounders for adults. Despite it seeming like a bit of a colloquialism, there’s been a surprising amount of academic study into the clutch in the world of psychology, particularly from the view of baseball. In 1908 two academics called Robert Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson came up with the idea that peak performance can be described as a bell curve; the amount of pressure on someone hitting a peak point for their performance, before too much pressure dropping performance back down again. Think about it this way: Imagine you haven’t had enough sleep. You’re tired at work or school, you can’t concentrate properly and you don’t do well in your test or on your job. That night you sleep for 12 hours, feel groggy the next day from oversleeping, go to work or school and it’s the same result. Either way you’re down at the bottom of the bell curve. The sweet spot - the right amount of sleep that means you can do your best and get the best results - is somewhere in the middle. It’s the exact same principle with clutch, except replace sleep with pressure and performance with, well, performance.
You’re down 1-4 on a CS:GO map but take the victory, like Snax at ESL One New York? You’ve got only the magic pixel left and pull off the perfect combo to win in the FGC, like Daigo against Justin Wong at Evo 2004? Turning a game of DOTA 2 on its head to knock out one of the favorites and reach the final - I’m talking Digital Chaos vs EG at The International 2016? That’s the clutch.

So now we all know. Next time you’re watching your favorite esport and they talk about the clutch you can tell your mates “that comes from baseball you know”. You may get an awkward silence afterward, but that’s just them enjoying the fact they’ve learned something new...