A Horseplayer’s Missing Link?

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I’ve made some pretty stupid plays in my day. They drive/drove me crazy. At least crazy enough to investigate the problem and visit a shrink if necessary. I actually did make that visit. I spend three years with a shrink trying to discover the reasons an otherwise sane person – and intelligent one, if you will – would practice the skill and art of self-sabotage that keeps said person away from behavior of the optimal kind. Why do we do stupid things when we know better? What did I learn? Well, it just might all come down to belief. Neuro-semantics informs us that we act on the second thought, not the first. Think about that for a minute…”I’m a winner…no I’m not”.

From time to time I’ve asked handicappers that I know are good enough to crush the races but don’t if they believe, really believe, that it’s possible to make consistent money at handicapping horse races. The answer I hear from most of them would make a professor of linguistics blush. The question is answered for the most part by subtext and inflection. So I thought about sanity again and I came to the conclusion that to really want something yet not believe you can do it, really believe you can do it, is a good reason to seek professional help.

The entire handicapping industry, it seems, is focused on who has the best trainer stats, jockey stats, the best speed figures, pace figures, ad infinitum…or is that ad nauseam. Yeah, there’s been some stuff written about money management thanks to Dick Mitchell and Barry Meadow. Learn it once and you’re done. But not much has been said about, what I believe to be the most important part of our game, psychology, the mental game. The next time you sit down to do some post mortem analysis with the day’s races shift gears and practice the mental game instead. What was that second thought?

Did the three years help? Absolutely. (1) Copious records. (2) Sound money management. (3) Solid tools. (4) Discipline. (5) Knowledge. (6) Neuro-semantic driven belief (the missing link). You gotta believe or 1 through 5 probably won’t save you.

February 20, 2010 • Posted in: Articles

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