The North American CW Sprint runs this weekend and what is the probability of a victory from my condo contest station?
An old and wizened Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force once told me, "Never lower your aim below the bulls eye. If you do, you will always aim lower." The purpose of this post is an examination of what success and failure means to the winning process. I hope this will assist all of us as we develop our RadioSport goals.
Two characteristics are important as one strives to win. The first one is positive thinking and the second is optimism. Bad attitude is no attitude and when given lemons make lemonade.
Secondly, if one is to learn from mistakes and failures it is important to assess them from a place of objectivity according to Peak Performance (n.d.). Perhaps take a detached view of results versus the emotional charge of frustration and negativity. I like to keep the big picture in mind that is, my overall RadioSport goal. Mistakes and failures, from my perspective, are a natural part of one's winning process.
How one perceives the process, win/lose, impacts emotion from our sense of pride to frustration to self-esteem likewise our future motivation and behavior e.g. persistence. Certainly, I could choose to give up on RadioSport because of a multitude of constraints but it is not in my perception. I have 'tude. According to Peak Performance, when one competes against self-standards or others it is called achievement striving and it elicits evaluation when the outcome is important to the individual (n.d.).
Have you ever read contesting articles in major mags like the ARRL, CQ, or National Contest Journal? One is given an inside into the attributions of successful contesters that is, their winning process. According to Peak Performance, attribution theory popularized by Bernard Weiner boils down the multitude of explanations for one's win/lose outcome (n.d.).
Common Athlete Attributions.
- Task Difficulty.
In addition, I can subscribe to different types of focus; internal focus is ascribable to (self) and external focus which is environmental (e.g. terrain) and situational e.g. (codes, covenants, and regulations). Focus is linked to emotions that act on feelings of pride or frustration associated with winning/losing according to Peak Performance (n.d.).
Now, let's account for the likelihood that I did not win the North American CW Sprint and will likely lose again in the near future. This is called stability according to Peak Performance that is, the expectation of failure persists into the future (n.d.). The result is demotivation.
Lastly, a third dimension to winning is known as controllability. I mentioned perception is important and how one perceives means; the more one subscribes to factors within one's control, motivation increases accordingly (Peak Performance, n.d.).
Summary of Weiner's Model.
- Stability factors influence expectation of future success;
- Self focus e.g. internal/external influence emotional responses;
- Control factors influence levels of motivation.
Research in schools indicated that teaching young adults to re-attribute failure to lack of effort versus lack of ability actually reduced performance declines after failure according to Peak Performance (n.d.). Furthermore, an optimal winning attitude is solution-oriented while searching for ways to improve and overcome problems. For example, the evolution of my antenna system from a random wire to a center fed inverted-L doublet is an improvement while overcoming my signal-to-noise problem.
The winning process involves mistakes and failures. It is natural. How we perceive our failures and mistakes is important. Objectivity, on the other hand, is the fan that blows away the fog of emotion. One rule is evaluation of performance at the conclusion of a contest but wait a little longer if emotion runs high.
Winning attributions are categorized as ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck. Weiner's attribution model explains key winning ingredients as 1). Stability, 2). Self focus and, 3). Controllability. Successful athletes focus on the solution and find ways to solve problems while improving performance throughout the winning process.
73 from the shack.
Peak Performance (n.d.). The importance of attributions - or how to learn from success and failure alike. Retrieved on September 7, 2007 from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/attribution.html#ref.
I'm researching nutrition in relationship to RadioSport in order to maximize my comfort and endurance in the operating chair. A timely article appeared in the Wednesday edition of our local newspaper. The article is Sodas' caffeine content varies widely, with citrus drinks packing a punch written by Brumback of the Associated Press (2007).
Ever wonder how much caffeine is in a can of Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew? Auburn University researchers suggested that some citrus-flavored sodas often times pack a greater caffeinated punch than most popular colas according to Brumback (2007).
I lived a myth.
Caffeine Content in Select Soft Drinks, In Milligram per 12 ounces.
- Pepsi One, 57.1
- Mountain Dew, 54.8
- Diet Coke, 46.3
- Dr. Pepper, 42.6
- Pepsi, 38.9
- Diet Pepsi, 36.7
- Coca-Cola, 33.9
According to researchers at Auburn University and the American Beverage Association, the same amount of coffee packs 156 to 288 milligrams whereas tea registered between 30 and 135 milligrams as cited in (Brumback, 2007). In this article, Auburn study researcher's Bell and Chou reported caffeine content in 12-ounce sodas varied from 4.9 milligrams for store brand to 74 milligrams in a fizzy citrus drink.
David Shardt at the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in the same article, "People should be able to monitor their intake and to make informed choices because it can affect their sleep and can make some people jittery." (Brumback, 2007, paragraph 7).
Frankly, I just did not realize the content of caffeine in sodas, coffee, and tea. I do recognize the side effects of too much caffeinated soda and/or coffee. Insomia is not going to improve 2nd day performance in the operating chair. Neither will jitters help me at the keyer/keyboard.
I'm looking for healthy endurance in the chair and being reasonably comfortable at the same time. Caffeine might short circuit the needed stamina during a prolonged weekend of contesting. It's benefits, at least from my perspective, are short-term but more research is needed on this topic.
In contrast, Goldin (2007) offered this opposing view, only 7 of the 133 sodas tested were listed in the Brumback (2007) Associated Press article. Goldin expanded further, "Didn’t it occur to editors at the Post that the chart didn’t support the headline that citrus sodas contain more caffeine or that it might have been more useful to list the citrus drinks with the most caffeine?" (Goldin, paragraph 4).
73 from the shack.
Brumback, K. (2007, September 4). Sodas' caffeine content varies widely, with citrus drinks packing a punch. Associated Press. Retrieved on September 6, 2007 from http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gKgdiwDZfysdt4E0Wj3Zm0ObSp4A. (para 7).
Goldin, R. (2007, September 6). Soda Smackdown! But Report Over Caffeine Content Fizzles Retrieved on September 6, 2007 from http://www.stats.org/stories/2007/soda-smackdown_sept06_07.htm. (para 4).
A Big Country welcome goes out to VK4HAM's Ham Radio & Blokes Stuff from KA3DRR. Munso is the latest, greatest signal radiating inside the RadioSport Blogosphere.
Signal found at http://blokesstuff.blogspot.com/ or inside my multiplier section.
73 from the shack.
Nutrition is everything when competing in endurance events. Admittedly, I'm tired of the contester's wall located somewhere in Day 2 during marathon events like the ARRL International or CQ World Wide. The maintenance of mental focus and physical well-being is paramount. There is a nutritional formula and it may vary from operator to operator. But the contester's wall must come down to a reasonable level for me.
I'm approaching RadioSport nutrition as if training for a marathon or climbing a mountain. One does not run a marathon on an empty stomach or climb a mountain without essential foods and proper hydration. Nutrition is the fuel that will enable me to survive the contester's wall then push through.
Peak Performance suggested replacing fatty, energy dense foods with more carbohydrates. Interestingly, each gram of carbohydrate stored as muscle glycogen is bound to 3-grams of water according to Peak Performance and released water is important when considering fluid and energy requirements.
For example, if I begin the ARRL International with 200-grams of muscle glycogen and it is used during the first 24-hours, I can expect to release .6 kilograms of water. The loss of 2% or greater of body mass due to dehydration can reduce endurance exercise capacity and, 3% or more can adversely effect specific sporting skills according to Peak Performance.
Furthermore, one losses valuable nutrients especially electrolytes which may prevent fatigue and reduce muscle cramping. Sodium is the most important electrolyte and according Peak Performance the purpose of sodium is to encourage thirst.
Peak Performance suggested --
- "Whilst a player suffering from fatigue or cramps due to poor nutrition prior to the match may benefit from carbohydrate/electrolyte supplementation at half-time, it’s probably better to improve diet between matches rather than try to patch up poor general nutrition with a half-time fix." (para 23)
I'm beginning to recognize the value of proper nutritional input during pre-contest week, contest weekend, and post-contest. I did not consider my eating habits as a factor leading to successful RadioSport performance as well. Peak Performance goes onto suggest that low carbohydrate levels are responsible for athletic fatigue irrespective of conditioning. Furthermore, low carbohydrate levels can compromise mental and physical performance while carbohydrate supplementation improves performance according to Peak Performance.
Perhaps this is nothing new in the RadioSport community. However Peak Performance suggested that slow gastric emptying may reduce the efficacy of carbohydrate drinks before and during competition. One may conjecture that gastric emptying slows while in the operating chair therefore; absorption of electrolytic/fructose based energy drinks may not be effective.
Peak Performance suggested --
- "Half-time is, however, relatively short and care should be taken to maximise the opportunity to refuel when gastric emptying is not limited by intense match activity. Isotonic energy gels can be a practical solution, providing players with a bolus dose of carbohydrate as they leave the field, gaining valuable recovery time over a team waiting until they reach the changing rooms to get drinks." (para 27)
The contester's wall is manageable using appropriate nutritional techniques such as adequate hydration and optimal carbohydrate uptake. Hydration is one key factor to consider in order to maintain one's contesting performance but does not supplement an overall healthy diet. Likewise, low carbohydrate levels may lead to sub-optimal performance both mentally and physically according to Peak Performance. Proper carbohydrate consumption and adequate hydration while in the operator's chair is essential to achieving peak performance and a winning score.
73 from the shack.
Peak Performance (n.d.). Half-time nutrition - what's best for maximizing full-time performance? Retrieved on September 2, 2007 from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/half-time-nutrition-what-s-best-for-maximising-fulltime-performance-33406. (para 23, 27)