Strategy vs Execution

There’s not a punter in the game that doesn’t periodically question their approach, think about smarter ways they can be doing things and try to develop ideas on how they can improve their edge.

It’s a natural way to think when you play the game on a regular basis, especially when you are going through a losing run.

Striving for continuous improvement is one of the keys to staying ahead of the curve and remaining a profitable punter.

This article from TRB explains the difference between Strategy vs Execution.

The importance of perfect execution over the perfect strategy

As racing intelligence and analysis techniques evolve, so do betting markets and you can never take for granted that the way you are able to make a profit today will be as successful in the future.

The challenge though is to make sure that you don’t go searching for new ideas and strategies to improve your betting edge when in fact you are failing to execute your current strategy well.

I often have punters ask me for advice on a new strategy because they aren’t enjoying success with their current approach.

When I dig a little deeper it seems their approach to analysing races and deciding on bets is sound, the reason they aren’t having success is either because:

  1. They interpret a small losing run as being a sign of a poor strategy rather than a natural part of the game
  2. They’re failing to execute their current strategy well. They lack discipline and consistency in their analysis, betting decisions or staking.

If you aren’t achieving the results you want from your punting (assuming they’re realistic) then it’s important to discover the truth:

Is my strategy flawed? or is it the execution of my strategy that is letting me down?

So how do you know which one it is that is holding you back?

The Execution Test

Go over your records of betting for the past few months and note your answers to the following questions:

How many times did I make what I consider a mistake in my analysis that influenced my betting decisions?

For example, you may have missed one or more things about a race or horse that you really should have picked up.

How many impulse bets did I make, without doing proper analysis and my normal decision-making process?

They may have been spurred on by a tip, news story or rash decision from the urge to simply get more betting action.

How many bets did I have outside of my core strategy?

You may have done some work to find these bets, but they were not the typical outcome of your normal process. Perhaps you backed multiple runners in a race when you normally bet one out. You may have bet into a State that you normally don’t look at. It could have been taking different bet types (e.g. place bets, exotics) that you normally don’t.

How many bets did I have that I later regretted?

Perhaps they came from your normal strategy, but just didn’t feel quite right and for one reason or another you still went ahead and backed them. It might be that you weren’t totally happy with the price, or felt uneasy about a few risk factors with the horse.

How many bets did I end up with notably less than top odds because I wasn’t organised or focused enough to get a better price?

This is especially important in regards to your bets on the Exchange.

How many times did I let my recent wins or losses affect how much I had on an upcoming bet?

How many times was I chasing losses with a particular bet? How many times was I getting carried away because I enjoyed a short winning run.

The answers to these questions provide you with a good insight into how effective the execution of your betting strategy has been.

If you don’t have records and can’t answer these questions then that in itself is an issue to be addressed. You can however start noting them down for your future betting over the next couple of months.

Don’t go chasing Unicorns

If your betting is characterised by a number of mistakes related to the above questions then it’s probably not a weakness in your strategy that’s preventing you from achieving better results, it’s a weakness in your execution.

You must recognise the difference!

Don’t fall into the trap of regularly searching for that new idea or strategy you think could make your punting dreams come true, if the actual problem is your inability to consistently execute well.

You are chasing unicorns, something that doesn’t exist.

Like unicorns, ‘the perfect strategy’ is a perpetual myth. You can spend your entire lifetime searching, but no matter how hard you look or work, you will never find it.

You must address the cause of the problems you’re experiencing or risk getting locked into the cycle of chasing unicorns for your entire punting career.

There’s a good chance you’ve already given up on a number of profitable approaches to punting because you couldn’t execute them with discipline and consistency.

Take a lesson from proven success stories

The world’s most successful businesses and elite sporting teams are characterised by their emphasis on great execution at every stage.

John Doer, an American venture capitalist who was an early backer of both Google and Amazon among many other businesses is quoted as saying “execution is everything!”

In business and sport, execution means getting all the little things right, knowing that if you do that the results will eventually land in your favour, even if there are ups and downs or unlucky bounces of the ball along the way.

When a strategy turns out great because it delivered the desired result, it’s because of the quality of execution.

Punting is exactly the same!

To achieve success, you need to execute well with discipline and consistency. That covers everything from your form analysis process, deciding which horses to back, how much to have on them, getting the best price, keeping a level head during losing runs and constantly striving to learn more about racing and betting.

There are no short cuts and it’s not okay to do these things right most of the time, it must be all of the time.

Of course, we will all make mistakes every now and again. Either unintentional slip ups or moments of weakness that we later regretted. The important thing is that you can look back at your records over a few months and say that those mistakes were rare and that you learned from them.

The Betfair Hub has a dedicated section for these stories as well from their very own clients.

Final Thoughts

The great scientist and inventor Thomas A Edison is quoted as saying “Having a vision for what you want is not enough. Vision without execution is just hallucination!”

It’s important to have a vision for what you want to achieve from punting, but remember that making it happen comes down to your execution.

The perfect punting strategy doesn’t exist, but perfect (or near perfect) execution does. Discipline and consistency are the key.

Focus on getting those behaviours right and you will fast track your ability to succeed as a punter.

If you are regularly looking to change your strategy when the problem is really your execution, then you will never find what you are looking for and your punting goals will only ever be a hallucination.

It’s only once you have proven that you can execute with consistency and discipline that should you really start questioning your strategy and looking for new ideas. If you do it before then, the reality is that you could be giving up on a strategy that is actually profitable.

Related Articles


Get the BetSmart Ratings for key meeting in Victoria from TRB.

BetSmart Education

Check out the Bet Smart Education series from TRB on the Betfair Hub.

HUB 101: Where Do I Start?

Betfair’s Hub exists to make you smarter. Really. Betfair isn’t a corporate bookmaker that bans you for winning on ...