More Interviews

Jared Tendler – Mental Game Coach

QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Would you like to share with everyone who you are, your background and what you do career wise today.

Thanks for the opportunity. I’m Jared Tendler, mental game coach and author. My job is to help traders, investors, athletes, PGA Tour players, poker players and other professionals remove the emotions that negatively affect decision-making and performance. I have clients in 45 countries, including some of the top professionals in their field. I’m also the former head of sport psychology for the e-sport organization Team Liquid, where I was an integral part of recent championships across many of their teams.

I got into the field from my own experience as an aspiring professional golfer. In college, I was a 3-time All-American and won nine tournaments, but was continually choking in major national events. I didn’t find answers from sport or golf psychology, and as is common with a lot of entrepreneurs, my career was born from believing there had to be a better way. I got a master’s degree in counseling psychology and spent 3200 hours of supervised practice to get licensed as a therapist, but never with the intent to be a therapist — instead, I wanted to understand how to better solve performance issues in golf. In 2005, I started working with golfers and quickly built up a roster that included players on the PGA, LPGA, and Korn Ferry Tour, as well as top ranked juniors.

My success there has since led to work with poker players, traders, pool players, sports betters, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.

QUESTION: We understand you were very active (and still may be) in the professional poker world, prior to your current involvement into the trading/investing community. Can you share your journey?

I am still very active and continue to work with some of the best players in the world, including many who have won WSOP bracelets. I got started in poker in 2007, when on a golf trip to Bandon Dunes in Oregon a mutual friend introduced me to an online poker player named Dusty Schmidt. When he and I met, Dusty was making around $30k playing 10 tables at one time. But he had a major anger problem that was costing him – not just in broken computer equipment. Four months after we started coaching, not only was his anger issue gone, he had made $600k in that time as a result of playing better, longer and more tables at once. After this significant success, Dusty connected me to an online poker training site and I began creating content for the membership. Over the next few years, I learned the intricacies of online and live poker and how to adapt my material from golf.

In 2011, I wrote The Mental Game of Poker, which tackled problems with anger, fear, motivation and confidence. A few years later, I started hearing about traders who picked up the book and said the concepts applied easily to them. That led to an uptick of 1:1 trading clients, workshops with trading groups, and coaching with an institutional firm. I’ve been working with traders for eight years now. 

Three years ago I started writing The Mental Game of Trading, and am excited to release it at the end of March. It’s not just a rehash of the poker book, it’s a completely new book. I’ve learned a lot in the last 10 years as a coach that allowed the framework of the book to be significantly better. Plus, it’s tailored to traders and focuses on solving problems with greed, fear, anger, confidence and discipline. It’ll be out at the end of March!

QUESTION: Tell us the main differences and similarities you see between the poker and traders mindset. Do you feel poker players thus make for good traders (and vice versa)?

The mentality to be the best in any field is very similar, not just between poker and trading. But variance is a factor that most professionals don’t have to deal with so significantly, especially athletes. As a result, learning how to develop an edge as a poker player or trader is significantly more complex because of the false feedback that you get. Anyone could sit down today with the best poker players in the world and win. Anyone could deposit money in a brokerage account and make money in the markets today. But to do that consistently over the long-term is a different story and you must be able to handle variance. Poker players make good traders because they’ve endured those bad runs that sometimes last for months. And they’ve also had to control the other side too when running hot, to not get overconfident and burn money.

QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life that has set you up for this success?

I failed to fulfill my dream of being a professional golfer because of my mentality and inability to handle the pressure. For me, the natural selection of competition weeded me out and that has driven me to create a system that can teach/train people to fix their weaknesses. Back then, if I had what I have now, I’m not saying that I’d be on the PGA Tour, but I would have had a legit shot. I love the career that I’ve created. I get to help people who may not have made it a chance to get over the hump and achieve their goals. It’s incredibly fulfilling.

QUESTION: This is becoming a favorite question for many – plus readers get some good gift ideas from it. What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simple could not live without now?

I take fitness and health seriously, and 6 bucks will get you a lacrosse ball. It’s the perfect thing to use to work knots out of your muscles.

QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self? And where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Growing up, I tended towards overconfidence, and that led me to be too dismissive of advice from my elders, and to rely too much on finding my own answers. That’s part of why I’ve been successful, but it was also inefficient. I needed that balance where I could get a lot of advice, or learn from other professionals, while still making my own path. It led to a lot more ups/down than would be ideal.

In 10 years? Well, as a good entrepreneur I’m going to keep those cards hidden. But professionally, my goal at that point is to have been successful enough that I’ve had an opportunity to take large chunks of time off from coaching each year to expand my skill set in ways that the normal day-to-day doesn’t allow for. And have time to get my golf game up to a level again where I can get back to competing at a national level.  

QUESTION – What are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times with Covid?

Golf was a great one before the cold and snow hit the northeast. Since then, I love making fires and relaxing with my family and spending time outdoors. I’ve also recently started doing puzzles. I just finished a 2000 piece puzzle and it actually gave me some insight into the process of completing large projects – like my new book.

QUESTION: Do you have any mentors now or when you first got started in your career?

When I first started out coaching golfers, I moved to Arizona, knew no one, and cold called my way around the golf courses looking for a place to set-up shop. Tyler Kirkendoll was a golf coach who was ahead of his time. He brought me to his operation and became a great friend and mentor. He’s one of those guys who just “gets it” and doesn’t command any fanfare.

QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track?

At this point, I know myself well enough that if I lose my focus, it’s because I’m not clear on exactly what I’m working on or trying to accomplish, so I just take a step back to nail that down. Lost mojo, that hasn’t happened for years, but if it does again, or if I’m struggling with something – annoyed, confused, etc. – writing is a great tool for me to figure things out.

QUESTION: If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be.

“Be a detective, not a dick.” For context, people are often critical of their mental and emotional problems. But to solve them you need to understand the cause. Every time you greedily move your target, force entry into a mediocre trade out of anger, or size too small because you fear losing, there are clues or signals that will help you understand the nature of the problem. You can’t just wish or will those problems away. To solve them, you need to be a detective and gather the clues, examine them, and identify the flaws. That’s a much more effective way of solving problems than being a dick, and assuming that you’re just being irrational.

QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

You can contact me through my website: www.jaredtendler.com and on Twitter: @jaredtendler. And if you want to sign-up to be among the first notified when The Mental Game of Trading is out (I’m aiming for March 31st) you can sign up here: https://jaredtendler.com/thementalgameoftrading/

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