Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Previewing and Reviewing Your Trading

The recent post described the importance of learning loops in cultivating trading expertise. I would go so far as to say that elite performers reach their status by becoming learning machines: performance becomes a stimulus for learning, and learning becomes a stimulus for performance. The loops ensure that learning becomes cumulative, not simply the same sets of lessons learned many times over.

Learning loops can be broken down into two components: preview and review. Previewing trading means setting plans at the start of the day, both with respect to markets and one's trading of those markets. The key question for previewing is, "What do I want to accomplish today?" You want to clearly identify what would make the day a success for you: what would constitute good trading of today's market. Previewing is both establishing intentions and goals: it is a forward-thinking process that guides one's behavior over the course of the trading day.

Reviewing means going through the trading day and evaluating one's own performance. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? If so, how did you achieve your goals and how might you bring that achievement to tomorrow's trade? If not, what interfered with your goals for good trading? How can you deal with those interferences effectively tomorrow? Reviewing also means reviewing markets: How did we trade? How well did you identify opportunity? Where were the good setups? What could you have done better?

Every day you preview, every day you review: the combination of the two keeps you in the self-coaching role. They also keep you on the path toward expertise and elite performance.

In Enhancing Trader Performance, I quote General George Patton: "Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."

Training, I note, provides that extra minute.

Day after day of previewing and reviewing creates the inner strength and confidence to move forward even under the most daunting conditions.