The Clutch Gene: Real or a Myth?

You may have heard people talking about the "clutch gene." Is there really such thing as a clutch gene? The short answer (and obvious answer) is no. That's if you take the question literally. There's not an actual clutch gene in people's DNA. There's no single gene that makes people clutch in pressure situations. That's not even how genetics works. For most complex behaviors, there are many genes that interact not only with each other, but also people's environment and freewill.

The debate isn't really whether or not there is an actual clutch gene. That's just a fun name to call the idea that a person is born clutch. The real question is whether or not the ability to be clutch in games is influenced by genetics? And if it is, to what extent does genes affect clutchness?

I believe "clutchness" or the ability to be play with peak performance in high pressure situations is partially genetic. This is because being clutch has a little bit to do with your personality, mainly your tendency to be anxious, nervous, and confident. Personality is partially influenced by genetics. People have a genetic predisposition toward certain personality traits. Included in these traits is neuroticism, which is the tendency to be overly anxious, nervous, fearful, and worrisome. Since being clutch requires you to be calm, composed, and confident, neroticism hurts your ability to be clutch. Therefore, people born with high neuroticism have a harder time being clutch than people born with low levels of neuroticism.

This does not mean that people born with high levels of neuroticism can't be clutch. This is because people are not slaves to their genetic makeup. Personality can change. People can use their freewill to improve themselves and they can place themselves in a better environment to improve themselves. It takes a lot of work, but athletes born with a predisposition towards neuroticism can learn to become calm, composed, and confident during pressure situations. Mental exercises such as meditation can help. So can improving your self-talk.

This also doesn't mean that people born with low levels of neuroticism are always going to be clutch. Nobody is born with the natural ability to be clutch in the most pressured situations, all the time. Everyone, even people with high levels of confidence and low levels of neuroticism, get nervous during pressure situations. This is natural. They may have an easier time calming themselves down and staying composed, confident, and focused during pressure situations, but they still have to work on it. They still benefit by practicing meditation and improving their self-talk and mental skills.

Here's the main point that I'm trying to make: everyone has the potential to be clutch, but some people have an easier time becoming clutch while other people have a harder time becoming clutch due to their genes.

So is there such thing as the "clutch gene"? Yes and no.