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[CQ-Contest] The Psychology of Extraordinary Contesting Efforts

Subject: [CQ-Contest] The Psychology of Extraordinary Contesting Efforts
From: hwardsil@WOLFENET.com (Ward Silver)
Date: Tue Jun 3 11:46:24 1997
On Mon, 2 Jun 1997, Larry Reader wrote:

>   -  Does the history and track record of a station stimulate confidence?
> Or does it induce a "fear of letting the station down"?  Does it make an op
> feel that he "must" do well; that it's expected?
>   -  If an op goes from a "normal" station to a "top 5" station does the
> change, the pileups, raise the op to a "higher" operating level?  Is there
> an "exhilaration factor"?

I find that there are two groups - the moderates and the competitors.  At
a big station, the moderate is usually in the mode of "Whoa!  I'm not sure
I can deal with this."  Then there is an event - usually a
better-than-expected score or some other surprise, the Zen "blow with the
stick" - that kicks them over into the "Get Outta My Way!" mode.  There
aren't many in the middle. 

The competitors are ALWAYS in the latter mode, even at a modest home
station.  But at a real world-class facility, you bet there's an
exhilaration factor!  I think it does create a temporary enhancement of
the operator in that their concentration is sharper and deeper, motivation
is higher, and they get RESULTS! 

>   -  Does a potential "big score"  feed on itself?  If you're doing better
> than you've ever done before, when you realize that you might finally
> actually win a contest, does it give you extra energy to get through
> Saturday night, to fight the Sunday afternoon blues?  Are you at that point
> where you "refuse to lose"?

This is the "upper stage" of the competitor modality.  Once you smell the
win, sheer adrenaline will ignite and carry you along.  This is a much
more fragile state, though, in that it's easy for a negative experience to
knock you out of the zone.

>   -  Does the cost and sacrifices made to make the trip add to the
> determination of the operator to do well?  Is there a "I'd better win this
> thing or my wife/buddies/fellow workers will never let me live it down"
> factor?

Rarely.  I think that for most, just the opportunity to go make some
serious racket in one of the big contests is sufficient to get the old
blood pumpin'.  Just thinkin' about my last trip to KH6RS gives me


73, Ward N0AX

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