But the key thing I wanted to write about today was a section from the book taken from the lips of Brad Gilbert. You might know him as an ex-player, ex-coach of Agassi, Roddick and Andy Murray but he is probably best known as author of 'Winning Ugly', which has been heralded for many years as probably the best sports psychology book around. When Gilbert met Agassi to chat about becoming his new coach in 1994 (when Gilbert was strangely enough, still playing on the tour) he said the following to Agassi:
'You always try to be perfect.........and you always fall short and it fucks with your head.......You try to hit a winner on every ball, when just being steady, consistent, meat and potatoes, would be enough to win ninety percent of the time'
'It's all about odds and percentages..............Right now, by trying for a perfect shot with every ball, you're stacking the odds against yourself. You're assuming too much risk.........Fuck that. Just keep the ball moving. Back and forth. Nice and easy. Solid.'
'When you chase perfection, you know what you are doing? You're chasing something that doesn't exist. ............There's about 5 times a year you wake up perfect, when you can't lose to anybody, but it's not those 5 times a year that make you a tennis player. Or a human being for that matter. It's the other times. It's all about your head, man'
All this applies to trading too. I'm certainly guilty of being a perfectionist and it has cost me dearly as a trader, not being able to accept losses. Also not being able to accept that I will make mistakes, read games incorrectly or lose focus every now and then. Obviously, trading is all about odds and percentages too. And of course, there is the message about being consistent, not risking too much and patiently building from scratch, rather than throwing your eggs in one basket to quickly make big sums. Finally, it ends with what I've been saying for ages now - it's all in your head. As long time readers will know, my head has been messed up for a long time! I truly believe that will change in 2012. In fact, it's already begun to change over the past couple of months.
Here's world number 55, America's Bethanie Mattek-Sands: