I now have to admit that I've reached crisis point. I'm not quite down the well yet but I'm starting to spiral dangerously close to the edge. Since around the time the grass court season began, I've steadily been losing money. During this time, I have always stayed strong and believed that it was only a matter of time before things turned around. And each week, they always started to do so but I guess those full-stake losses just kept dragging me back. My lack of focus meant that I didn't even realise as I slowly hemorrhaged cash. Last week, I expected things to finally get better but I managed to lose ANOTHER 2 full stakes and for the first time since March, I started to do impatient and irrational trades. The losses weren't big but they mounted up - at one point I had 10 straight reds. Things picked up towards the end of the week but I then lost a second full-stake on the Del Bonis v Ferrero game, shattering 2 days of good work.
I don't think my focus is as big an issue anymore, I feel better in that respect but I have lost my way regarding my strategy. I have become impatient again and tried to force wins too often. I don't feel anywhere near as bad as last time though. I decided to read back through The Dark Ages in February and March and I think this will prove a great help. It is after-all, why I began this blog. I felt that recording those bad times would enable me to look back on them so I don't repeat the mistakes. So far, it is working because back then, I was a mental wreck. I was angry and uncontrolled, anxious and erratic. I flipped between strategies and didn't know what I was doing from one trade to the next. This time, although I've had the occasional thought about trying out a different strategy and the odd moment where my anger has boiled over, I have not changed anything. The reason is simply because I have that experience from The Dark Ages all there in black and white for me to read over at any time. If it wasn't there, I'm pretty sure it would have been forgotten, stashed away at the back of my memory along with all the other bad periods I've had.
So I know that I just need to keep calm and keep plugging away. The wins are still coming in regularly and I've started to take greens earlier, which is always a great idea when you can't quite get moving. I need to get involved less, wait for firm opportunities and not panic. The biggest issue still remains those full-stake losses. Again, without the two I had last week, I would have been in profit. These losses are always down to the same thing - frustration. I place an incorrect trade, usually by jumping in too early. When it goes wrong, I am now frustrated because I should not have placed that trade. So I jump in not long after, again trying to force things and when that goes wrong too, I'm now really angry and end up doing something irrational, like leaving the trade to run. Once that trade goes past my final exit point, I figure that I may as well risk the lot rather than take a 40, 50, 60% red. I should stress that this ONLY happens when I get frustrated at MYSELF for not following my strategy properly. Whenever I follow it and it doesn't work out, I ALWAYS red-up by the 25% mark. I never blame the players or the market, it's only ever my fault. The most agonising thing about both those losses last week, were that I was £25 green on BOTH of them at one point! All I had to do was stop.
So the key in turning this around is simple; follow the strategy 100%. To do that, I'll need to get all my old focus and discipline and patience back. I did it once this year, under far greater pressure. I have absolutely no doubt that I will do it again.