Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cross-Talk: Trading as a Team Sport

I recently linked a post dealing with the importance of making the transition from generic trader education to a structured trading curriculum. Coincidentally, Mike Bellefiore of SMB Capital emailed me on a similar topic, noting that formal teaching adds a great deal to unstructured screen experience. As Bella pointed out in his recent blog post, even experienced basketball coaches will sit in on the practice sessions of other great coaches to pick up new things.

If I reflect upon the most successful traders I've known personally (and thus can verify their long-term success), almost to a person they have learned the ropes from a mentor and/or peer interaction within a trading firm. In a great majority of the cases, the mentor/peer interactions have been like the coach's sessions described by Bella, where people eager to learn are equally willing to teach.

As an impressionable young adult, I romanticized the notion of being a self-sufficient, completely independent entity. That focus had its purposes. Over time, however, I learned that much of life is a team sport--and that participation in a team in no way diminishes one's uniqueness or independence.

Who is on your team? Who are you going to help make that step to the next level of performance? Imagine if some of your top trading goals involve assisting your teammates' performance; then imagine that some of their top goals involve elevating your own. So many traders fail to hang together...and wind up hanging separately.