Monday, May 20, 2024

Focusing on the Quality of Your Reps

During my recent workouts at my gym, I've noticed how much more I get out of the weight machines if I take my time going through the reps.  I have a standard circuit that I go through, beginning with legs, then upper body, then flexibility.  When I slow down my pace at each of the stations--and especially when I take my time extending my body fully through each of the exercises--I get much more out of each set of reps.  On a bench press, for example, it's what I do at the very beginning of the press and at the full extension of my arms that makes the difference.  Taking my time at the most challenging points in the exercise provides a much better workout.

In trading, the reps we put in are our reviews of markets, what we did, and what we could/should have done.  When I worked with active traders in Chicago, I was impressed by the time they spent reviewing the past day's trade bar-by-bar in replay mode.  They didn't just go over charts and whiz through their reviews.  Rather, they slowed down the review, talked out loud what they were seeing bar by bar, and rehearsed making the right decisions.  As I learned from my workouts at the gym, the quality of the reps determined what they took away.  

A review of performance, to be effective, must be a workout.

We build our trading psychology in the course of performing and engaging in deliberate practice.  We can solicit advice from others, but ultimately it's the workouts that make the winners.  Jeff Holden of SMB Capital and I have been challenging developing traders to write up their daily takeaways to cement their learning.  Similarly, experienced traders at the firm put together daily report cards of their trading and monthly reviews.  Some of the writeups are nice summaries.  Others are workouts.

The time and effort we put into our reps determine our level of fitness.  Focusing on One Good Trade is what builds good trading.


Further Reading:

What Makes an Expert Performer