It's been a strange week of trading. There have been far more questions than answers and at the end of it, I don't know whether I'm making progress or have gone backwards. Profit-wise, I've most definitely failed. But those non-monetary goals of focus, patience and discipline have unequivocally improved across the board. So why am I still failing to produce cold hard cash?
My thoughts immediately turned to the system. I've started to conclude that the tennis markets have changed in recent weeks. I know I'm not the only one to think this, having spoken with other traders. There is little doubt in my mind that since the new premium charge was introduced, it has become more difficult to get matched at decent prices on Betunfair. I would say that because many of the big players have left, there is much less money available in the market, particularly on the lay side. As someone who primarily backs players, I've found it very frustrating the amount of times I've been unable to get matched. With all the backers scrambling for a much smaller piece of the pie, it appears to be forcing the prices down to the point where any value that was there disappears.
After a poor first day of the US Open, I lost a large chunk on one game on day 2, through sheer frustration. I just couldn't buy a win and even managed to ruin a potentially good day by throwing away strong green positions in not one but THREE matches on day 3. I started to get anxious and for the first time since March, was having sleepless nights and thoughts about ditching my strategy. On day 4, things seemed to be getting worse, as I started to do things that were not part of my strategy. That's a sure sign that confidence is gone and I knew that I was at a nasty point where I didn't know what I was going to do from game to game.
Despite all these problems, I did somehow manage to hold it together mentally. And that's where I'm delighted with my progress because there has only been one match all week where I failed to red up at the 25% mark. Also, I've brought in a new technique where I've actually taken a 'time-out', whenever I've felt the first inkling of frustration and had a mini-hypnosis session. This has really paid dividends and stopped me seeing the red mist. As long as I catch those feelings early, before they get out of control, I can then relax myself enough to rationalise the situation and temper that awful, gnawing throb you get in your gut when you've made an error.
The wins had returned by day 4, and day 5 was a strong winning day. Day 6 was a mixed bag but despite the frustrations at not getting matched, I really felt that mentally, I have turned a corner. I think the days of full-stake losses are well and truly over and in fact, I'd be surprised if I went over the 25% mark by more than 10-15% ever again. The problem now is the opposite of what it was in the past; I can control the reds but now, I'm not getting the greens! And that brings us back to the markets. If they are going to remain this way then I will need to revise my strategy. I haven't hung around - already, I've started paper-trading a couple of new ideas. Hopefully, things won't be such a problem when I move back over to Betdaq.
Day 7 finished the week in fine style, with my best day of the tournament so far. So maybe it was just a bad couple of days. It has been a tough mental battle again this week but I actually think if I can just get out the other side with a few consistent days, I will have strengthened my skills massively. I do feel as though I've moved on several stages psychologically. I can feel it when I trade because I'm stopping myself short of doing anything rash and controlling my emotions much better. I'm still making mistakes out of pure frustration but I'm now pulling myself up on those errors and stopping them becoming bank-busting disasters. All I need now, is for those greens to come back on a more consistent basis. Once that happens, there will be no stopping me. The question is, have the markets started to ruin my trading for good, or was it just a bad week? Only time will tell.