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Improve Your Mindset Now to Become a Better Sports Bettor Later

Pamela Maldonado's Mindset betting tips

A disciplined mindset means a disciplined bankroll.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, I intended to return to the physique competition stage and begin my 12-week prep. But with everything cancelled, closed and in quarantine, I realize this is an opportunity for all of us to improve our mindsets. That way, when sports do return, we are ready to fire at will, having already practiced more discipline.

Right smack in the middle of football season, on October 19, I competed in my first physique competition.

Never having done one previously, I underestimated the work behind it. Never having worked with a sports betting company … well, you can see where I’m going with this. Managing the two was tougher than I thought.

I would start my day at 5 a.m. and be asleep by 11 p.m. in order to make my schedule work. I had my Odds Shark responsibilities, college football and NFL studying, training six days a week, plus one hour of cardio seven days a week.

Chance Favors the Prepared Mind

On competition day, I walked the stage for pre-judging, posted plays midday, walked the stage for Finals at night and placed in my first show, then found out I had nailed my bets, going 8-1 on the day, resulting in a 12-1 week.

It was the busiest I had ever been and yet I managed to have my best four-week run, going 37-10 (79%), with my best week and single best day coinciding with my competition.

Week 5: 6-1
Week 6: 8-2
Week 7: 11-6
Week 8: 12-1

All this to say I don’t think it was by accident and that being in peak form both mentally and physically must have contributed to my mindset in sports betting, resulting in a fantastic four weeks.

To get some answers, I spoke with two professionals I knew would set the record straight: mindset and performance coach Elliot Roe and performance psychology consultant and author Dr. Tricia Cardner, PhD, EdD.

Seeking Improved Betting Results from Exercise

The short answer: yes, “regular exercise has incredible positive effects on brain function and development,” said Dr. Cardner. She explained the science behind it, but to break it down simply, exercise is “one of the most potent brain boosters there is.” Without going into the science of it all, she explains that exercise creates a protein known as BDNF, which she says is the “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Perhaps most interesting, she says, “a key area of the brain that benefits from this brain growth is the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain powers higher-level thinking, decision-making, goal setting and planning.”

If you want to improve your ability to analyze information and “make better decisions while feeling calm and alert, then focusing on increasing BDNF through regular exercise is certainly going to be beneficial.”

(Ahem. Insert 12-1 record here.)

How Fitness and Nutrition Help You as a Sports Bettor

I’ve said before that sports betting is like poker. You need to have an understanding and practice bankroll management, emotional control and data analysis. Roe agrees. As a coach for high-stakes DFS clients and poker pros, he says, “successful betting is about maintaining focus even under the pressure of swings.”

He continued: “Working out provides an escape from gambling and space to recalibrate between sessions.” Ultimately, exercise has a “positive impact on cognitive performance.”

That’s just fitness. Now let’s look at nutrition. During my competition prep, I was clean eating like never before. Chicken, rice, an absurd amount of vegetables, zero alcohol, only natural sugars (found in nut butters, oatmeal and rice cakes). My body was pure and according to Dr. Cardner, that helped with my mental focus.

According to her, research shows that maintaining a healthy diet also benefits the brain in numerous ways because what we eat affects the brain’s structure and size. Some foods increase the aforementioned BDNF. As a side note, “keeping a healthy weight is critical to preventing things like heart disease and obesity which are known brain shrinkers.”

Things You Can Do Now to Be a Better Bettor Later

It is not necessary to do competition-level exercise to reap the benefits but Dr. Cardner says research shows that regular, consistent exercise, such as brisk walking, several times per week will show brain-promoting effects.

Walk outside for 10 to 30 minutes perhaps three times a day — once before breakfast, once during lunch, then once again before or after dinner. Gyms are closed across the United States but there’s hallways, parking lots, neighborhood streets, even inside your home. As long as you practice social distancing, walking anywhere is an option.

Roe suggests creating a daily workout and meditation routine to start your day. “It doesn’t need to be extreme, just consistent. See it as your warm-up for the day’s betting in the same way a boxer breaks a sweat before entering the ring or a runner stretches before a marathon.”

I personally loved that idea. What better way to practice discipline than forcing yourself to sit and meditate? Start with five minutes each day, then move to 10 minutes, then adjust accordingly.

Here’s a list of things you can practice to become more disciplined: Commit to walking 10,000 steps daily; do a bodyweight home workout three times a week; read a new book within a two-week period; meditate five minutes each morning; learn to play a new game like chess; practice a new language daily; eliminate alcohol for two weeks; vow to not drink sodas during time of quarantine.

Whatever you choose, the point is to commit to it and stick to it.

The purpose of this is to get your brain and body disciplined enough now so when sports do resume, you don’t go crazy and potentially risk losing your bankroll. Never had a profitable season? It’s unlikely you are just that bad at picking plays, but perhaps you lacked the discipline needed to increase profitability. Instead of staying within your bankroll, you chased losses. Instead of firing five plays a week, you made 20 plays. Whatever the case, you can adjust now to help you later.

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. That sounds like a perfect window during these times.