And we start off straight away with one of the topics that is being heavily discussed in the universe of sports betting. However, most of the times, the knowledge that bettors have derive from common sense or personal experience.
Best way to remain calm in sports betting
Telling a bettor that he must “think properly” or “put his emotions aside” will have as much impact as asking a six-year old to avoid eating candy. It is against their nature.
One of the most famous and efficient psychological experiments is precisely putting together a child and a marshmallow.
Search those two words on YouTube and see the results for yourself. You will understand better what I mean regarding sports betting.
Betting is on its essence risking something (be it money, your word or pride). It is believing that our knowledge about something allows us to predict the outcome of a certain event.
And what better field than sports, where there are events everyday (matches, fights, etc.) and is an area that we believe we all understand a lot about? But what if we changed to context to a medical surgery?
It is a similar performance context, where there is a prediction and an outcome. But since we don’t understand the subject, we don’t take risks on this case. What can we conclude from this?
That we should only bet on things we know in depth. It’s unlikely for us to dominate more than 2 or 3 sports, 3 or 4 leagues, 4 or 5 markets.
Unlike what people think, the emotional management starts here. All the anxiety that we feel during the event starts way before the time of the event. It starts on the knowledge we should have of the parties involved and the conditions of the event.
Every time we study for a test, we go into that test more confident and consequently calmer.
Because we prepared and we only depend on ourselves to have a good performance.
What is the problem of sports betting? The problem is that we are not the ones on the pitch.
The performance and consequently the outcome aren’t within our control. No matter how much we believe on our rituals and superstitions (that I will discuss on another article), the result doesn’t depend on us.
I mostly bet before the start of the events. I won’t defend one way or the other. Each person should find out where they are more profitable.
Having started betting over 10 years ago, I’ve already experimented several betting methods. And I continue wanting to improve.
Right now, I’m focused on a more statistical approach, which means, giving more importance to the numbers that the teams present than a personal evaluation of how they play.
That’s because I’ve been focusing more on the “Over/Under” goals’ markets. For that, I make my own spreadsheets and define what I bet on.
That means, I place my bets before the match. That’s the only part I control. If for some reason I place a higher stake (of several dozens or hundreds of euros) I prefer not to watch the match.
That’s for the simple reason that I will be more worried if I win or lose the bet rather than enjoying the event.
If it turns out to be a match that I really want to watch (a Barça-Real or something like that), I opt not to bet on it or just place a small bet for fun.
We shouldn’t mix work (if you’re risking your money, you should approach it as work) with pleasure (of enjoying a match).
Watch some movies, read some books, go jogging, spend time with family… Whatever distracts you from watching the match. Keep in mind, it is not about superstition.
It’s just to spare you from the nervousness and avoid giving in to the temptation of betting on it live.
Believe on the work you’ve made prior to the event and enjoy other things. You’ll reach the conclusion that, just like me, your blood pressure will thank you for that.
What about live betting? Despite being a more complicated case, you can also do it. How?
Doing something we teach athletes and managers to do: building “what if” scenarios. Prepare your live moves and stakes before the start of the match. If a goal is scored, I do this for example.
If there are no goals scored, then I do this. If the odds get to that point, then I place a bet.
If things are like this at a certain minute, then I do this. Of course, that is a lot of work. Yes, if it was easy, everyone would be profitable. And in fact, only a small percentage of bettors actually is.
That preparation work is what allows you to watch the match and have a solution ready for every scenario.
Why do we normally see military as performers that manage their emotions so well? Well, because they have a very well laid-out plan for it, with every hypothesis covered.
That’s the degree of preparation that they should have. They know they can lose their life and you can lose your money. There’s always something to lose when there is lack of preparation. Even if it’s only time.
One final note: You should face sports betting as a job, even if you’re not professional.
And in every job, there are great, good, less good and bad days. The “reds” are common.
There are losses in every area of our lives. They just shouldn’t affect you very hard.
Or make you give in to the temptation of going “all-in”. That’s escaping the plan.
That’s the soldier that tries to do it all alone. Normally he ends up dying. And the bankroll is bust.
Bankroll management (you should read some of the articles we have on our website about it) is one of the principles of emotional management.
Be it in-play or before the match, keep in mind that you can only control things on your end. If the ball goes in or not, that is no longer within your control.
On this article, at the start of this new year, I decided to speak about something that is essential: emotional management!
And deregulation leads to the darker side of sports betting: gambling addiction. I will probably make a full article specifically related with the issue of gambling addiction.
But I wouldn’t be comfortable if I didn’t mention it in this article already, as a piece of advice. Don’t be afraid to try and contact someone if you feel like you’re not being able to control yourselves, going all-in, emptying bankrolls and making successive deposits.
All of that is frighteningly normal and usual. We are human. We want to win bets, make money. We don’t always find the right path. But there is always someone that can help us.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first incursion in the universe of psychology…