Herb Reeves is a psychologist who makes a living explaining to American punters how to correct their wayward betting habits. What he has to say in his motivational talks is as relevant to us here in Australia and New Zealand as it is to the Americans.

The thrust of Reeves' approach is to urge punters to become positive in everything they do in connection with their betting. This in itself is nothing new, but Reeves is one of America's 'new age' gurus and his followers have sets of exercises to complete each day.

Americans probably take more kindly to the sort of thing that Reeves has dreamed up, but I have a suspicion there are many Oz punters, desperate for success, who will be anxious to try anything that will set them on the success path.

Reeves' exercises are split into daily routines. On Day One, upon awakening, you do stretch exercises next to your bed. Do as many as you can - touching your toes (or attempting to), raise your hands above your head, stretch them as high as they'll go, then stretch your arms sideways as much as you can.

Once you have limbered up, you sit cross-legged on the floor, close your eyes and imagine in your mind the ideal picture you wish to achieve from racing. Perhaps it is being handed thousands of dollars by a bookmaker, or perhaps your fantasy is to strike a double worth thousands of dollars.

Whatever it is, you close your eyes and picture it. Let it play itself out in your mind. Once you have taken pleasure from imagining something fantastic like a massive win, you then proceed to meditate on it. Take as long as you like.

What you have to impress on your mind is the positive image of winning. It is, says Herb Reeves, vital that your mind accepts the proposition, and that you daily reinforce the message.

He recommends this type of meditation continue at night as well, before you retire to bed. Stretch yourself, sit cross-legged, and start thinking again of your winning fantasy.

On Day 2, you bring the positive thoughts into play by scanning race fields and studying form - but without having a bet. This is a test of your willpower. You pick out two races to 'bet on' and you study them thoroughly, probing as many avenues as you can in the formlines.

You theoretically bet on the selections you make - but not before you have chosen something of extreme value from your possessions to risk. Reeves suggests you choose something which would make you incredibly unhappy were you to lose it. Only then, he says, can you understand how positive you must be when betting.

In future, then, whenever you bet you will be thinking of that precious possession and how important it is to you. Such an approach will make you think twice about betting just for the sake of betting.

On Day 3, you again choose two races (not forgetting you still do your stretching and meditating), but before doing so you stand in front of the mirror and look yourself squarely in the eyes. You repeat, at least 20 times, the words: "I am going to win because I am confident."

You then thoroughly assess the form, skipping nothing, and make your selections. This time, says Reeves, you bet, but only in the smallest amount possible (let's say $1 units).

The same procedure, win or lose, is repeated on Day 4. This time, though, when you look in the mirror you tell yourself: "I am strong and I bet to win."

By Day 5, according to Herb Reeves, you will be in a sensible, disciplined, positive state of mind, ready to face all the vagaries of form and betting. You will know several key points:

  1. You have become disciplined and mentally strong.
  2. You have learned that you must not bet without a reasoned approach.
  3. You have learned that poor self-control can lead you to lose what you cherish the most.
  4. You have learned that you can study form with common sense and patience.
  5. You have learned that to win you must be a winner in your own mind.

Reeves urges his followers to maintain a rigid approach to their betting by completing the stretching and meditation each morning and evening, by restricting their betting activities, and by looking at themselves and impressing on themselves, through words spoken aloud, that they possess confidence and, most importantly, that they regard themselves as winners.

Says Reeves: "I have helped many, many bettors to change their lives through this simple approach. They find peace amidst the chaos and are better able to face what can be frustrating problems with their betting.

"By coming to terms with themselves, by picturing their fantasies, and by learning how to discipline themselves, they suddenly find there is a form of control and order in their betting life; they find that they feel happy and peaceful, and they are optimistic and they look forward to each day.

"Of course, it's not for everybody. A lot of people can't face themselves in the mirror, and talk to their own image, and others can't meditate because they find it silly, or just because they lack imagination.

"But those who are able to summon up the discipline and the strength will undoubtedly benefit from my approach." 

Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 1.

By Ted Davies