Focus Trading

Excessive Focus: Avoiding Common Ladder Frustration… ‘the Suck’

Posted on Posted in Betfair, Horse Racing, Psychology

Focus, focus, focus. A vital element to succeeding in anything, without a doubt!

But it’s a double-edged sword at times. A highly frustrating one, that can really hurt the bank.

It doesn’t help the byproduct of over-focus then leads into one of the 4 trading fears.

When it’s Excessive

Ever felt like this?

Over Focus

I certainly have. And it’s cost me a fortune at points too…

The most frustrating thing being; you may well have had a good read on the market, things might have fallen right – but you missed that one key bit of info.

Why? Because you’re nose was touching the screen, intensely focused on that open position. When really, you should have been keeping an eye on the rest of the betting market.

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But why does this happen?

There’s a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s quite likely that you’re out of your comfort zone. Attempting to trade is always going to push the boundaries of comfort, but many make it more of a strain than it needs to be whilst learning. Over-staking being the main problem.

If you’re not comfortable with winning or losing the values you’re playing then the chance of getting ‘sucked in’ are far higher.

To trade successfully (and consistently) you’ll need to keep track of quite a few variables at the same time, some more important than others. So when the natural defence mechanism that is your mind tries to steer you away from the pain through focus, it can be more of a hindrance than needs be.

Avoid it at all costs…

Avoiding the Pain

Much like the image at the head of this article, focusing intently on your trade alone leaves the rest of the markets indicators blurred out. Successfully navigating the market means seeing the whole picture, and for what it is. Not what you want it to be, two separate things! Which reminds me of reading a book called Zen and the Art of Poker, a good read.

Here are a few short sharp tips to help avoid the suck:

  • Formulate a Min-Routine – like a 10-15 second habit you roll through once your trades open.
  • Reduce Emotional Responses – possibly lower stakes, bank, expectations.
  • Opt Out – sit back that bit longer, don’t let yourself trade until the final few minutes.
  • Reinforce Your Outlook – what’s really important? a trade you can’t change or contributing characteristics.

Suggestions in a little more detail…

Making Progress:

When I say form a mini-routine, of 10-15 seconds I mean a habit, o that’s healthy when it comes to re-assessing your position. A little like a checklist, maybe like this:

  • Check the favourites price action (assuming your not trading that runner) has it changed?
  • Check the market overview. Has anything significant changed?
  • Do the signals that initiated the opening of your trade still exist?
  • Have external factors changed the situation?

If everything looks good, proceed. And if not, look at an exit!

The main point being, you now have a sequence to religiously follow and loop around over and over. Making you aware of the whole picture, rather than becoming a rabbit in the headlights staring at an open position on the profit and loss column. Makes sense, right?

Reducing the emotional response is quite an obvious one, and I’ve banged on about it enough in the past. Not much else to say, other than it’s going to be the most effective of all the bullets above!

Opting out as I put it is another great ‘manual over-ride’. One good way to enforce this and, highlight it to yourself is to change the times and audio alerts on your trading software. If you use the Geeks Toy it can be done quite easily by right clicking on the market navigator and selecting Show / Hide / Audio Alerts Manager.

Reinforcing Outlook is more of a longer-term fix, but still very important. It’s a bit like anything, the more you repeat the view on something the more chance of living that reality you have. If you consistently take any opportunity to remind yourself; keep re-assessing, look at the bigger picture, don’t get zoned out. You’ll naturally start to do just that. If it means giving the advice learnt within this post to others too, do it! It’s all positive re-reinforcement for yourself. If you’re feeling really generous you could even share the link to this post.

Related: Backing to Lay Tips [5 Point Checklist]

2 thoughts on “Excessive Focus: Avoiding Common Ladder Frustration… ‘the Suck’

  1. Great post mate. Everyone has that inner self talk which I’ve come to realise needs taming to be successful long term at this game.

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