To Specialise Or Not To Specialise?

What do you do in your day job? Are you an expert in it?

The question, “To Specialise Or Not To Specialise?”, is a very important one for us bettors. It’s a question that we should all be asking ourselves. Yet, it’s a question that almost nobody does.

I used to design shoes. I fell into it by mistake but enjoyed it and did it for many years. In fact, I used to have my own Couture footwear label. Now, when I began I would design anything, but I realised pretty quickly that I was no good at designing mens shoes or trainers.

I don’t know why. I just couldn’t visualise them in my head.

So I focused on designing womens and childrens footwear instead. But…

Most of the childrens market is for girls shoes, and not having ever been a little girl I struggled to understand exactly what it was they wanted to wear.

So I stopped designing childrens shoes as well!

Now you may be thinking that I’ve never been a women either. And that is true, I haven’t. But the difference is, I could understand how women wanted to feel when they put on a pair of high heels. I knew that they wanted them to make their legs look longer, they wanted to look both beautiful and sexy. They wanted to achieve an aesthetic that I could certainly appreciate.

I hadn’t planned on focusing on this area of footwear design, it’s just what I happened to be best at. And, although I may be biased, I was good!

But then things changed. I stopped working in design houses and went freelance while I setup my own label. And this is where things changed dramatically.

As a freelance designer you get most of your business because of one thing… your style.

This allows a freelance designer to be far more creative than those working for a design house. And with this new freedom I began to really let my imagination go.

I designed shoes out of rose petals, wood, newspapers, coins, metal and many other materials. I started to have a fascination with the different textures of materials and how they interacted with each other.

And pretty soon I found that I was being sought out by a very specific kind of client.

These were clients who had designs for shoes, but couldn’t get them made.Β Their manufacturers were looking at the design and saying it was impossible to make.

Then they looked at my work and thought… “Well, if he can make shoes like that, then he must be able to get our ones made as well”.

So I would take their designs and go to the manufacturers. There, I would sit with them re-designing elements of the shoes and inventing techniques that would allow them to be made.

It got to the point where when a manufacturer knew I was coming over, they also knew I wouldn’t be leaving until the product was finished. It changed the way they thought because they suddenly had to come up with a way to make the product. Saying it was impossible was no longer the easiest way out.

You’re probably wondering what all this has got to do with betting. Well, it’s exactly the same in betting as it is in fashion. In fact, it’s the same in any field.

If you want to be an expert then you have to specialise. You start your journey as a wide river, gathering as much knowledge as possible, and then as you travel upstream you choose the routes that you prefer and enjoy the most. Suddenly you find yourself on a small stream that you know like the back of your hand.

This is your specialism!

Every horse race has different conditions and types of runners. It has a completely different structure and will be run differently. In the UK, the variety of racing is bigger than anywhere else in the world and this makes it even more important to specialise.

You can’t analyse a 5 furlong all-weather sprint in the same way you would a 3 mile handicap hurdle race. They’re completely different animals.

But yet, almost every punter tries to do exactly this!

And if you do, then you’re doomed to failure. It’s just not possible to learn everything about all race types at the same time. You MUST specialise. You MUST become an expert in the area that interests you the most.

Once you’ve done that, then you can spread out to another area. But if you don’t do that, then you’re never going to be getting deep enough to make a difference to your bankroll.

I found my specialism by accident because I was spending a lot of time in the US. I got used to the sprint dirt races they have over there and their methods of analysis. I found I enjoyed the statistics and maths behind their processes. So I focused on that and brought it back to UK racing by concentrating on all-weather sprints using a mathematical and statistical approach.

This was my first specialism and without it I very much doubt that I would be where I am today.

So you have two choices:

  1. Specialise now and start turning your betting around
  2. Don’t specialise and forever chase those elusive profits

If you ‘re serious about making your betting profitable, then your choice is simple!

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.
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