The King of Clutch

Derek Jeter has the kind of credentials that legends are made of: Rookie of the Year in ’96, a lifetime .314 batting average, 11 All-Star Games, Yankees team captain since ’03, and most important, owner of a World Series ring for all five fingers of his throwing hand. This season, barring injury, the shortstop will join the 3,000-hit club, guaranteeing a first-ballot trip to the Hall of Fame when his career ends.

Which he doesn’t intend to let happen anytime soon. This off-season, he signed a new three-year contract with the Yankees that will take him through his age-39 season. But beyond his achievements—and beyond his playing days—Jeter has deep and serious entrepreneurial aspirations.

He’s already opened three 24Hour Fitness Derek Jeter Signature Clubs in New York City—and as the owner, not just the endorser, he tells me, “I pick the colors, the logos, the floors, everything.” Even further down the line, he has bigger plans: He wants to own a pro sports team. “I’d love to call the shots, put a team together. That would be fun. That’s the definite plan.”

It takes guts and brains in equal measure to be a successful owner of any operation, as well as an ability to perform under pressure. That’s where Jeter may have an advantage. With more postseason hits than any player in history, Jeter has a useful tactic he was lucky enough to learn at a very young age.

“I remember going from rookie ball to A, to Double-A, to Triple-A; at every level it seemed like the game was faster,” he told Men’s Health. “The bigger the situation, the more the game speeds up. That’s all mental. It messes people up. You think, I gotta do this, I gotta do that. When in reality, all you gotta do is the same thing you’ve always been doing. Slow it down. Realize you’ve been in this situation before. You’ve been successful in this situation before. Be calm. The more you can do that, the more pressure you take off yourself, the easier it is to perform.”

Think about that the next time you need to own the big moment.

Derek Jeter is one of several elite athletes who have partnered with 24 Fitness to create Signature Clubs across the country. Read how 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov leverages such powerful partnerships in the Sept 2011 issue.


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