Let’s start by defining horse racing handicapping as an intellectual sport or game. You are competing against other players who are trying to prove that they are better than you at picking value plays. You all get the same races and horses and you have to find the right balance between price and performance in order to win. Like any competition handicapping requires both analytical skills as well as the right emotional attitude.

Since what you think directly affects how you feel, that attitude is based on what you believe. If you believe you can win you’ll have more confidence. If you believe that you can analyze a race and evaluate each runner well enough to win often enough to make a profit, you won’t be second guessing. In other sports players not only use repetition in order to improve performance, but also use other exercises to improve their physical and mental capabilities.

An example would be a place kicker who practices kicking for several hours a day. He also does wind sprints, squats and other exercises to strengthen his leg. He takes time everyday to relax and meditate, seeing himself kicking the ball through the uprights over and over. The point is that most handicappers only handicap in order to improve their skill. In other sports, whether it is golf, bowling, football, etc., players use physical and mental exercises to develop the brain and body.

What can a handicapper do to improve his or her game? Let’s start by recognizing the tools we use to pick winners at the right price. First and foremost, of course, is the ability to accurately gauge a horse’s fitness. That takes the ability to read a form and use other sources of information to determine fitness. You’ll need the ability to concentrate and focus, so getting enough rest before you handicap is important.

How do you develop the attitude? You must believe before you can achieve. In other sports athletes picture themselves winning. They see themselves performing whatever feat it is that makes them a winner, whether it’s scoring goals, bowling strikes, etc. You can do the same thing. Does that sound a little hokey to you? It probably did to the world’s best athlete’s, but how many of them heard about it and wanted to win so badly that they tried it only to find their game did improve?

Before you get out of bed in the morning and as you fall asleep at night, picture yourself cashing tickets. See yourself pick a horse and see that horse cross the finish line first. Let yourself feel the elation and sense of pride as you see your bankroll growing. If you can’t picture those things at first, don’t give up. Any goal worth achieving often requires you to get out of your comfort zone or to do something that at first was difficult.

Source by Bill Peterson