Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Essence of Elite Performance

Mad props to Dan Coyle, author of The Talent Code, for alerting me to his recent blog post on high-velocity learning. Please make sure you watch the video that is part of the post. Great, great stuff.

Basically, in one post, Dan has captured the essence of elite performance: having a vision of what you want to accomplish, breaking the performance into chunks, intensively rehearsing those chunks under safe conditions, "zooming in and out" between the whole performance and the individual performance elements, and then--at the very end--performing under conditions of risk and danger.

The key idea is that you can achieve days, weeks, months, maybe even years worth of training in a single day if you structure the learning process the right way.

Great blog, very worth reading.



Jay said...

What's odd is that considering that I am a great performer, I never applied to trading how I learned to perform as a live musician. Yes, I know about breaking it down into bits and pieces and drill and repetition, and mentally placing myself in front of the crowd, then video taping myself to tune up how I look, where I look, how I move, having sheets of words to help me with the points I know I need to remember, knowing that I don't need anything else, preparing, no cheating with food or beverages for days, clearing up my skin and keeping my energy up. I really cheated myself out of that gradual mastery when I comes to trading. I wonder why.

What's funny is that the way that I expected to be able to trade was just like the thoughts that I had regarding non-songwriting band members suddenly wanting their newbie pos song to be included with the ones that I have written when songwriting was something that I've been working on for 25 years and killing the bad ones and keeping the one out of 100 that is good when the drummer wants his amateur first attempt to be among the real ones. I know all this and yet I was unable to associate that I was doing pretty much the same thing!

I think I'll put this on my blog.


Gary said...

Great ideas; but what am I visualizing in a trade? I am sitting there watching the market move?

eric said...


What a timely post! Just today, I put together a trading/practicing routine that includes:

1- scalping the morning with real money

2- practicing my longer term holds with a simulator in the afternoon.

I'm trying to get to the next level of capturing points of upside on my trades.

In essence my simulator has become my foam pit!

Scott Trader said...

Thank you for this link. It is fantastic.

You are the best!

Jay said...

Hey Doc, did ya ever feel like a complete idiot? I can't believe I ever thought that I could trade without years of learning and practice. Holy cow, now what do I do? Ouch. I was blinded by greed into thinking I could be a successful trader, I'm having a bad night....

Jorge said...

Dr. Steenbarger,

Excellent book. One of the improvements trading simulators could use is the ability to *slow down* the replay of market action. Certainly, speeding it up is very useful to get more exposure in less time, but slower speeds would be invaluable in practicing execution.

Best trading,


Eyal said...

Sounds interesting. Does anyone know how this compares to Gladwell's Outliers which talks about the same topic?

Btw, Brett, if you haven't already checked it then I recommend Agassi's autobiography Open. A fantastic read on how he got to be number one in the world, kind of like Armstrong's book on steroids. No pun intended :-)

Alex said...

So much true. My trading changed dramatically since I started using ForexTester ( I think I clocked approx. 5K hrs worth of trading using it.

OKL said...

Great post Doc, but I would add that not everyone's "high velocity learning curve" is identical or even close to Shaun White's... this largely boils down to individual characteristics and experience in the sport.

In other words, everyone's learning curve is different- White already has years of experience in the sport, so it improves his learning pace even quicker.

On the other hand, like me, who has never even touched a snowboard before, it wouldnt matter what sort of training was provided.

Somewhere in the middle is where most of us are... be realistic and well, trading is a marathon.

What separates elite performers from the rest is hunger, desire, discipline to be the best they can be in their fields at almost any cost... but a little guidance and system can be all the difference.

Cheers Doc.