Sunday, October 07, 2018

Viewing and Reviewing Your Trading

An excellent, successful SMB/Kershner trader I've known for years recently made a Q&A video where he shares valuable lessons from his development.  One of the important points he makes is the crucial role that review plays in honing trading skills.  I can vouch for the fact that he reviews his trading religiously every day and shares those reviews with a variety of colleagues.  He learns from the reviews and role models trader development for others: a great example of each one teach one.

As Les Brown notes above, a double review serves an important focusing purpose.  The first review occurs at the start of trading where you examine how your markets or stocks are setting up and you figure out--specifically--how you will apply your trading goals to the current market conditions.  For example, one of the things I'm working on in my trading is developing better estimates of how far moves can extend and adapting my scaling out of profitable positions to take better advantage of markets that expand their volume and volatility during the day.  My premarket review examines relative volume in real time and lays out a tentative plan for sizing and scaling.

Note that the idea here is not to simply review an abstract goal, but instead to actively apply that goal to upcoming performance.  A goal not actively applied is merely a good intention.  It is planning that gives goals their life.

At the end of the trading day comes the second review.  We examine how well we actually acted upon our plans and goals.  If I made progress on the goal, I will note how I did that in real time and will bring that positive learning lesson forward to the next day.  If I failed to move forward on the goal, I will dissect what went wrong.  Did I read the market incorrectly or fail to properly update my views on volume and volatility?  Did I become distracted and lose sight of my goal altogether?  Did I become too focused on sizing up that I missed the fact that the opportunity set was waning?  What I could have done better frames the goals for the next trading session, which will become plans in the morning review.

Every day.  

That is how learning compounds and develops into expertise.  That is what improves our odds of long-term success.  

Yet a further refinement is to conduct separate reviews of the various facets of trading:

*  How well did you develop sound ideas to trade?
*  How well did you enter positions and achieve favorable reward relative to risk?
*  How well did you scale into and/or out of positions to optimize profitability and manage risk?
*  How well did you manage yourself during the trade--and throughout the day--to sustain optimal focus and keep yourself in a peak performing state?

Just as a tennis player will work on different aspects of her or his game (the serve; backhand; net game; etc.), we view and review different facets of trading to ensure that our development extends to everything we do.  In a gym, you'll work different parts of your body--upper, midsection, lower--and you'll work on aerobic conditioning as well as strength.  So, too, do we work on different facets of what we do as a trader.

That is how developing ourselves as traders inevitably intersects with our personal development.  In refining our skills, we refine ourselves.  

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