How to Make Sharp and Focused Decisions During Live Play
by Jeff Platt 10/14/2009
Introduction It's been a while... too long... since I've done a write up relating to live play. This write up is more about living your life to the fullest
than it is about handicapping. But if you pay attention it will absolutely help your handicapping and decision making… So give it a read and let me
know what you think.
I believe success at wagering isn't so much about handicapping/picking winners as it is about discipline and executing a proven game plan - flawlessly.
During live play I want to rip right through my decisions one after another... effortlessly... and make the fewest mistakes each day as humanly possible.
There's no way in the world I can do that if I'm not at my best.
There are three simple rules I follow each day to keep myself mentally focused and sharp.
In this write up I am only going to give you two of them.
What about the 3rd rule?... I’ve decided to keep that one a mystery... at least for now.
Feel free to post, email, or call with your guesses about the missing 3rd rule. Tell you what... Anyone who guesses correctly gets a pretty good little UDM that I have.
How's that for incentive?
Ahem... Are you paying attention yet? Here goes.
As HANA’s President I’ve met and talked with hundreds of horseplayers over the past year. Almost all horseplayers share some basic common traits.
First, all of us have a very unique psychological makeup… Most of us are perfectly willing to spend hours and hours playing horses each day.
You probably have to be a little “out there” or “odd” in some way to want to do that.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When it comes to betting horses, there’s something magical about overcoming the mental challenge involved that just “gets me.”
The satisfaction of knowing you can beat this game – when 99.9% of everybody you meet tells you it can’t be done?… To borrow a phrase
from that Master Card commercial: "Priceless."
A computer programmed with the right set of instructions can execute a game plan flawlessly… But none of us – even the most successful
horseplayer on the planet… whoever that might be… is a computer.
All of us… every horseplayer out there... is a living breathing physical being. Another thing I noticed about the majority of horseplayers
is that most of us aren't what anybody would describe as physical specimens.
It follows that as physical beings there are times when we aren’t exactly at out best.
For instance, I have this – it’s old now – it was fairly expensive when it was new - ergonomic chair. It’s designed to give you good posture when
you sit in it.
Hell. Give me 20 minutes in that thing and I’ll slouch in a way that would bring the engineer who designed it… pocket protector and all… to tears.
So here comes Rule #1...
If ever you find yourself slouching… or sitting in the same place for more than 30 continuous minutes at a time... stand the F*ck up!
Walk around for at least 30 seconds. Go get yourself a glass of water. Stretch. Do some freaking thing. Just don’t sit there slouching.
Look. All of us are physical beings. Biologically none of us were meant to be couch potatoes… or in this case… chair potatoes. Ask yourself:
Do you honestly think you are capable of your best work sinking into a chair – your body completely motionless except for your fingers -
staring without focus into a monitor while clicking a mouse or tapping a keyboard for hours on end?
I’m alive!… at least the last time I checked I was... If you’re alive too… freaking act like it! Get up out of that chair and walk around
for at least 30 seconds… and I mean right now!
Ok. Along those same lines... Here comes Rule #2...
Exercise. Get that heart rate up for at least 30-40 minutes a day. If you’re really out of shape see a doctor first.
By all means do all you can to make sure you won’t keel over dead just from standing up. But once your doctor clears you for a little
activity… get out there!
Walk. That’s a great way to get started. Walking puts very little stress on joints like knees and ankles. And if you push yourself –
you should be able to work up to your target heart rate and keep it there. If you don’t know what a target heart rate is… I’ll give you some
There’s this wonderful thing invented by Al Gore called the Internet…
Use it. Google the phrase "target heart rate." Then get yours up to that and keep it there for
30-40 minutes a day. I absolutely guarantee you’ll look and feel better for doing so. I also guarantee you’ll have an easier time making
good play or pass decisions at crunch time too.
Even better... Run. It gets more muscle mass involved and the heart rate up to the target faster than walking does. Runners often
develop strong abdominals. When you lift your feet up off the ground you use those abs to get the job done. After you’ve been walking for a while…
maybe a few weeks… give running a try. When you first start out don’t be embarrassed if you can only run a couple hundred yards before you
have to stop. Work yourself up to getting in shape by doing it in stages. Run for 300 yards if that’s all the further you can go. Then walk for
a while. Once you’ve had the chance to catch your breath, run until you have to stop again. Then walk until you catch your breath… and then run
By the way… Did you know there’s a name for that? It’s called Interval Training.
I live about 200 yards from the ocean. For me the beach is the perfect place for a walk or a run. But I’m guessing no matter where you live you
aren’t that far from a jogging trail. It also helps to have a partner. Even better if your partner is younger, faster, and more athletic than you are…
you’ll be motivated to keep up because you won’t want to slow your partner down. But the important thing is to get out there and have at it.
Want max results?... Lift. That’s right – join a gym and lift weights. If you’re lost or don’t know where to even begin: Hire a trainer.
Or use that Internet thing again and get yourself a book. About 10 years ago I got myself a copy of Body for Life by Bill Phillips.
If you trust my judgment at all when it comes to R&D into factors that determine race outcomes, achieving a better roi, and stuff like
elevating your game – do yourself a favor and trust me here… get yourself a copy of this bookand follow it.
There are also websites like http://www.bodybuilding.com and
http://www.crossfit.com – both worth checking out.
Summing it up - Do you want to be your best mentally?… Then get up out of your chair and sharpen the physical side of your being.
During live play I want to be the sharpest most focused mental self I can be. Being the best physical self I can be helps me do that. The two go hand in hand.
There’s another game besides betting horses that all of us are involved in... It’s called life. Be a part of it!