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Book Review - Sports Betting to Win

Cover of  by Steve Ward

Sports Betting to Win ?
The 10 keys to disciplined and profitable betting
By Steve Ward

"Most people in sports betting are looking at things the wrong way." 

Peter Webb - founder of Bet Angel 

"Some people only ever seem to want to hit the sexy six, and not take the singles." 

Compton Hellyer - founder of Sporting Index

The simple fact is that most people betting on sports lose over the long term, and this is mainly due to performance errors - bettors losing their bets because they first lose their heads. In his new book, Steve Ward argues that the only way around this is to think differently, to sharpen your thinking and refine your processes, so that you can establish a firm foundation for long-term betting success.

Sports Betting to Win, the second book from performance coach Steve Ward, aims to give the reader the same mindset as the professionals, and so breaks this down into key areas, including motivation, performance analysis, and the betting process itself. Sports betting is a huge growth area, and the opportunities for betting, both live and online, have increased significantly in the last couple of years. As a result, more and more people have begun to trade these markets with the intention of making serious money, and this is where Steve Ward steps in. In the introduction he says ?This is not a book about sports-betting strategy. It is a book about sports-betting discipline ? what it is and how to get it. Disciple is the key to long-term sports-betting success.?

Despite the advantages that have come with the development of sports betting, the author says that the percentage of long-term winners is around a mere 10%. So the question must be asked, why do only 10% of bettors win in the long term, and is there anything they have in common that can be applied to the betting process?

The book begins with a look at what type of bettor you are, whether that?s a disciplined bettor with a strategy, an undisciplined bettor with no real strategy in place, or vice versa. Ward identifies the different requirements for each type, for example those who are undisciplined but have a strategy need to focus on building up their discipline, whereas those who are disciplined but have no strategy need to develop a system that gives them the edge. He then examines why discipline is so hard to achieve, and mentions several mistakes that bettors make, including continuing to bet to recover losses, betting in a state of anger, frustration or fear, and importantly not keeping a written record of their bets. The book then argues that the main difference between those who do the above, and those who win consistently, is their approach ? ?Perhaps most of all, the approach that these profitable people take is a professional one.? So, how do you get the professional approach yourself?

Chapter 1 ?Think Differently? begins this process by looking at how to adopt new beliefs and specific ways of thinking that may seem counter-intuitive but will actually benefit your betting in the long-term. For example, Ward mentions risk and says that embracing risk is critical as you can?t become good at something unless your confront it with all your energy. An example from sports trader Peter Dreyfus illustrates this point, as he placed a bet for Roger Federer to win against Alejandro Falla in a match at Wimbledon 2010 where Federer had already gone two sets down. Federer came back to win the game and Peter was rewarded ? ?We should welcome risk, just as we will welcome the rewards that come with it.?

The next chapter ?Bet for Profits, not Excitement? looks at how to create a professional approach to your betting, and to elevate it from just a hobby. Again this means identifying your betting type, ranging from professional to casual, and uncovering what is at the core of your motivation to bet. Sports trader Matt Finnigan is quoted as saying ?When I made the decision to trade full time, it wasn?t about the money but the opportunity of owning time ? and that?s the biggest commodity of all.? For you, it may be about making money, having more time, leaving a full-time job, but Ward argues that in order to create this professional approach, you must identify and understand your motivations to bet.

The following sections of the book look at preparing to win, and recording your bets. Many people embark on betting without fully understanding how the different exchanges work or what the risks are, so the author looks at how to research sports betting in detail and after that, how then to create the opportunities where you can win. Ward then examines creating a betting strategy here and how to develop that further by back-testing and specialising it. Following on from a good solid preparation base, the book looks at how recording your bets can help you to evaluate your mistakes and thus improve your profit potential. Examples of what to record include the number of bets placed, the percentage of wins/losses and the average winner or loser in terms of monetary value. This will help to identify your key areas for profit so that you build on these in the future.

Making rational decisions and managing your emotions are also covered, while the final chapter explores going pro in more depth. Including case studies from Peter Webb and Matt Finnigan, this chapter also looks at the practicalities of this change ? including setting up different bank accounts, and finding time for a social life around betting. Ward concludes by saying that despite it being hard work, bettors must remember to enjoy it ? ?It is easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of betting, to get consumed with the processes of betting, to stress and worry about performance, and to forget about the many positives, the benefits that life as a full-time pro brings. Take time each day to remind yourself of what you are grateful for.?

In conclusion, Sports Betting to Win is an essential guide to improving your approach and discipline towards trading. The book acts as your own personal course to creating a firm foundation for long-term sports betting success.

Title: Sports Betting to Win
Subtitle: The 10 keys to disciplined and profitable betting
Author: Steve Ward
ISBN: 9780857190390
Price: £14.99
Publisher: Harriman House

About the author:

Steve Ward specialises in performance coaching and training, developing people and teams in risk-taking, high-pressure and results-driven environments, helping them to achieve and sustain high performance and to maximise their potential.

He has over 15 years of teaching, training and coaching experience and has worked with elite athletes and teams in over 30 sports, financial traders and institutions across the globe, sports traders, poker players, business leaders and managers and sales teams. Steve co-managed a large team of over 40 professional traders in London, was a consultant to the BBC TV programme Million Dollar Traders and is a regular trainer at the London Stock Exchange. He is also the author of High Performance Trading - 35 Practical Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Your Trading Psychology and Performance, published by Harriman House in 2009.

Steve has a special interest in the demands of performing in conditions of financial risk and uncertainty and has extensive knowledge and experience of helping people in the financial and sports markets to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours required to perform with discipline and to maximise their profitability. Utilising techniques and strategies from sports and performance psychology, behavioural finance, stress management, and cognitive, behavioural and solution-focused coaching, Steve provides practical, powerful, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use methods for improving performance.

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