Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mind Games

Psych-out: the act of undermining someone's confidence by psychological means.

In a comment on yesterday's post Stephen pointed out that one reason another sailor might be complimenting me on my sailing was that he was trying to un-nerve or upset me in order to put me off my game. Hmmm. I guess that could be true, but I don't think so in this case. Laser sailors are way too genteel and respectful to play games like that. Yeah, right.

But it does raise the question of what kind of remarks would be successful in disrupting the concentration or focus of a competitor, or disturbing their natural free-flowing excellent performance. I remember one incident this year where one of the guys close to me in the fleet shouted something to me on the start line about 30 seconds before the start. I didn't even hear what he said so I naturally asked him to repeat it (I know... stupid move) by which time I'd lost my concentration on the start sequence and totally blew the start.

And as Stephen points out, getting a fellow competitor to think too hard about something he or she is doing well naturally is almost guaranteed to succeed in disrupting their game.

So please tell me. Do you have any choice remarks that are successful in psyching out your competition? Or have you been the victim of psychological mind games like this yourself?


Anonymous said...

I've had a competitor shouting 'you're over' as they were dead astern of me and a bit late for their start. I just carried on and there was no recall much to their chagrin...

Its a completely null call as the only people who can decide if a boat is over are the crew of the boat in question and the race committee.

Tillerman said...

Good one. Of course, much more effective after a bad start is to start shouting, "General Recall" and keep sailing as half of the fleet go back.

I've seen that done accidentally. If done deliberately I'm sure it would be begging for a protest under Rule 2.

JSW225 said...

I used to be a jerk while sailing, but I don't do it anymore.

Now I just insult drinking game skills. I had one girl so anticipating a bounce that I was promising it was coming in Beer Pong, that by the time it did she reacted so vigorously that she knocked over all of her cups.

Anonymous said...

How about "When you hike out, you look dorky!". Should work for the self-conscious sailors.

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