Psyching Out an Opponent

I would just like to share with you this passage I came across in a fantastic book I’m currently reading, called Winning – The Psychology of Competition, by Stuart H. Walker:

Provocation and intimidation may effectively neutralise some competitors. Evoking guilt feelings may be more effective with others. Some of your competitors are saying, like the typical five-year-old child, “I’m such a nice kid, you wouldn’t beat me, would you?” Many competitors want to make it perfectly clear that they are racing under a handicap. One of the top finishers in the 1976 Soling trials proclaimed repeatedly that his crew members were not only incompetent but uncooperative. “I still don’t have the mast put together.” “I’m using that old main that blew out last year.” “I was testing a new jib that I knew was wrong.” “You’re not going to use your good sails for this unimportant race, are you?” “I haven’t been able to practice for three months.” Poor souls! They may be looking for an excuse to reassure themselves, but if they elicit your sympathy, your concern for their problem, they’ve achieved a psych-out. They have you preoccupied with their game rather than your own.

I had a friend who used to do this all the time. But glad to say, his psych-outs didn’t work, heh!

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