[CQ-Contest] And now for something completely different......

Jim George n3bb at mindspring.com
Wed Feb 4 10:31:16 EST 2009

Great subject. Malcolm Gladwell's newest best seller is called "Outliers," 
and it deals with the people who have become the greatest successes in 
various endeavors. It includes the Beatles, Bill Joy, Bill Gates, Michael 
Jordan and many others. The main factors are "being (born) in the right 
place and right time, having access to technology and developments to be in 
the "wave" of the success pattern, and also the "Ten Thousand Hour Rule." 
This, in short, is incredible practice to develop and hone one's skills.

Contesting is no different. We hear over and over that "get in there and 
work the contests if you want to be good." That is absolutely correct. 
Let's examine the ten thousand hour rule for a moment. Let's assume that a 
serious contester takes part in contests ranging from four (Sprint) to ten 
(NAQP) to twenty four (IARU, RDXC) to thirty or thirty six (SS, WPX) to 
forty eight (ARRL, CQWW DX) and averages for all of these, (bit of a  SWAG 
here) twenty five hours for an average contest. Let's also assume Mr. or 
Ms. Serious Contester gets in fifteen of these contests seriously a year. 
That's 15 times 25 or 375 hours a year. Throw in another fifteen contests 
that are done casually, with, say 10 hours activity. Now we are at around 
500 hours a year contesting. At that rate, it would take 20 years to get in 
the 10,000 hours. I would venture that most of the consistently top 
contesters have achieved the 10K hours over a contesting "career." There 
are some who master it sooner, but it underscores the fact that a top notch 
achiever, whether it's playing basketball, baseball, tennis, cello, guitar, 
jelling as a band, programming UNIX, writing well, or reading a prospectus 
for stocks prior to wise investing (see Warren Buffet), it's a commitment 
to excellence that's formed by uniquely serious study and commitment. 
Contesting is no different.

I know as a personal example, I always have loved the Sprint. But it's only 
four hours long and is held only twice a year. At the end of each four hour 
whirlwind contest, I would sit back and realize that I was starting to feel 
comfortable only when it was winding down. Then the NCCC started running 
the weekly NCCC Sprint on Thursday evenings. Voila, I started doing that 
and finally the "Sprint Moves," which come so fast and allow little room 
for error, became second nature. The contest suddenly "slowed down" for me. 
It's a practical example of how practicing helped.

There is little doubt for me that practice is the single largest component 
of success in contesting.

Jim George, N3BB

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "K0HB" <kzerohb at gmail.com>
>To: "CQ-Contest" <CQ-Contest at contesting.com>
>Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 6:56 PM
>Subject: [CQ-Contest] And now for something completely different......


> > What single factor do you  credit with being the MOST important to your
> > success as a contester?  (The "factor" can be a skill, a station
> > engineering accomplishment, an "accident of location", or whatever.)
> >
> > 73, de Hans, K0HB/W7

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