Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Working on my psychology

As mentioned in my previous post I've just started reading 'The Daily Trading Coach' and it's already highlighted some of the areas that I need to address. One suggestion is to compile a concise daily trading journal where you can make a note of what you've done well during the day and also those things that could have been done more effectively. If you then take a look at your journal when it's quiet in the evening and you're having a nice cuppa then it becomes easy to see your strengths and weaknesses. Here's my notes from the last few days trading:

Monday 12/12

  • my first thought when I logged on was 'bollox, just remembered that I lost yesterday'. This immediately put me in a miserable mood and the seeds of doubt with regards to my trading ability started to creep into my head. Now I know from experience that EVERY trader experiences this feeling. The strange thing was that I had actually only lost less than £100 ... yet this triggered these feelings of doom and gloom.
    Resolution: my first task will be to ensure that I am in a nice relaxed, focused and positive state of mind whenever I sit down at my desk to trade. I'll spend some time just relaxing, clearing my mind and maybe listening to some music before I actually focus on my goals and start pressing any buttons.
  • when you're trying to improve something in your life then I suppose it's always best to get advice from people you know who have 'been there, seen it, done it'. Well I just realised that every day I sit in a room full of experienced traders! So over the next few days I'll be probing the finely tuned minds of these boys in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses. One or 2 of them may tell me to 'fuck off' but from the feedback that I get I should be able determine 'what makes a great trader'.
    Task: construct a list of the strengths and weaknesses above. Use this list to determine where I need to focus my efforts in order to improve my own strengths and negate the weaknesses.
  • I had been trading on the greyhounds up until a few months ago. I was using a technique that was making me regular profits on certain tracks and breaking even on most of the others. I used this initially just to turn over more money in order to ease the burden of the dreaded BF poll tax. I've brought this back into action and I'm going to monitor this so see how it goes in December.
    Task: monitor greyhound trading during December and combine this with previous stats to find most profitable tracks. If any tracks provide regular losses then investigate ways of amending my trading technique accordingly to change losses in to profit, i.e if I'm doing something that produces regular losses then reversing my strategy should turn the losses into profit.
  • I've noticed that even when trading the greyhounds and the football I tend to get somewhat caught up in the emotions of it all. Now I'm only really trading for relatively small amounts so I need to stay a bit more relaxed and go with the flow.
    Resolution: focus on staying more relaxed during these events.
  • to make sure that I'm better prepared when the racing starts I need to get my ass out of bed a bit earlier! Over the past few months I've become a bit lazy in terms of how much preparation I'm doing before racing. To be honest it's virtually zero. Therefore I'll be getting into the office a lot earlier so that I can have a good study and prepare myself for the day ahead. Also the greyhounds start at 11:00 so I need to be in to take advantage of some early winnings!
    Resolution: get into the office by 10:30.
  • I'm going to make a big effort on analyzing each days AW cards. I'll be doing this the previous evening from home which will help in my preparation (see above).
    Resolution: have all AW cards analyzed the night before.
  • I'm still a novice to pre-race trading and one of the things that I still haven't worked out is the best time to enter and exit the market. I think that this is one of the key criteria for the pre-race game and hopefully Jack of 'The Sports Trading Journey' will be able to point me in the right direction.
    Task: subscribe to STJ.
  • I wouldn't walk on a tightrope without a safety net so I'm going to plant a few quid in various bookie accounts and Betdaq for when our beloved BF crashes at 15:00 on a Saturday leaving my goolies exposed to the wind.
    Task: put some of the hard earned in Hills and Co.
  • staying calm is probably the biggest factor in being able to trade both happily and successfully. I'll be implementing a few relaxation techniques over the next few days starting with some interesting 'music' from 'Hemi Sync'. I've tried these before and they're perfect for inducing different states of the mind, from calm and relaxed to hyper responsive and on the ball. I'll be plonking the headphones on before and even during trading (who needs commentary?) and I'll let you know if they help.
    Task: fire up the Ipod with the Hemi Sync 'tunes'.
  • one of my major in-running stumbling blocks is the reticence to enter a back bet as my first (and maybe only) trade. Ever since I started playing in-running I've always had a tendency to want to be a layer. I find this especially over the jumps, where I'm literally afraid to back a selection in case it falls! I have been working on this 'phobia' over the last few weeks and happily I'm finding that backing can be as profitable as laying.
    Task: break-down my P&L for December to determine my current ratio of successful backs against lays.
  • on a positive note I did make a good back bet in a jumps race and greened-up nicely using a lay of 1.1. I was well pleased with that and now I feel that I can make similar trades more often.

    Tuesday 13/12
  • I've found that in the past the task of compiling notes for the AW races has been very time consuming. Therefore I'll be using a type of 'code' to highlight the running styles of each horse and I'll be storing these on Gruss notes.
    Task: compile code, which will be along the lines of the codes found on the Timeform in play cards.
  • staying focused for long periods of time can be quite hard and I often find myself getting distracted, usually by Rachel Riley on Countdown. This usually happens when I'm having a good day and perhaps I'm relaxing a bit too much.
    Resolution: now that I've set my goal of £200K I need to make sure that I'm on the ball in order to maximize my profits. If I do want to watch the telly then I should really switch of my screen.
  • I has a few positives to report today. I backed and traded well at the start of the day and some basic form study paid dividends at Southwell. I also think that I judged a race well but didn't enter a trade as I correctly identified a tussle between 2 horses as being too close to call. This also made me think on how I could have profited from this scenario and I'll be setting up some new custom buttons to cater for this when it happens again.

    Wednesday 14/12
  • at the start of the day I was feeling quite nervous. Sitting here now I don't know why. Perhaps it was that I was late into the office so I gave myself not time to prepare.
    Resolution: from tomorrow I'll be in the office at 10:30 and that will give me ample time to get prepared.
  • I had a good early chance at Lingfield and failed to make it pay as I was too slow to react. I can see now that this was probably due to me not be prepared in advance.
    Resolution: as above.
  • as from tomorrow I'll be increasing my stakes. I am currently using £105 per click and I'll double this to £210 for both my back and lay bets. I'll also change my custom columns to give a liability of £210 per click.
    Task: change buttons accordingly. Then sit down, relax, and visualise the extra winnings that will be coming my way.

    Thursday 15/12
  • I got in early today and felt much better prepared.
  • I've changed most of my 'lay' custom columns so that my liability is £210 per click. I've also raised my back and lay buttons to £210 per click in order to increase my winnings.
  • I traded well early and felt confident and in control even though my wins were relatively small. However, as the day progressed I began to feel more and more tired, probably due to the fact that I have a cold. I was sensible and skipped a few races while I relaxed a bit and tried to get myself more focused.

    Friday 16/12

  • I felt a bit pissed-off early doors as my greyhound strategy cost me over £300 in the last 24 hours.   However, this has happened a few times in my last few months on the greyhounds but I've always shown a profit on the greyhounds at the end of each month. The purpose of betting the greyhounds was to turn over more cash so as to offset the premium charge. After careful consideration I think that I'm going to shelve the greyhound strategy in favour of being more aggressive on my horse racing trading. This will also mean that I'll be better prepared before each horse race instead of scrambling about between races placing greyhound bets.
  • during the day I reminded myself to stay relaxed, chilled and positive and reminded myself that it's all about controlling the mood swings. I think that I lost on the day but felt that I traded well and just had one of those days where a few things went against me.

    Saturday 17/12

  • for a while now I've felt that Saturdays promise so much yet often produce not a lot of profit. It's strange because I had a few beers with some of the STJ pre-race traders and they find Saturdays be be one of their best days. Maybe at some point I'll analyze my previous years P&L to see if this is true and maybe find out what days of the week and maybe what tracks are my most profitable.
  • during trading I noticed that I needed a tweak to my custom buttons as once or twice I had nice positions but didn't have the relevant custom button to give myself a bit of a safety net.
  • I had a good lay bet in 1 race and didn't green-up as I felt that the horse was beat. The horse rallied from nowhere and I did my money! However I took the loss very well and it didn't effect my subsequent trading.
  • one thing that often gets me is inadvertently listening to the twat pre-race analysis on the TV, especially Turf TV. They often put ideas in your head just before the race starts and I then find it hard to watch the race unfold in an unbiased manner. I do tend to keep the headphones off until the last moment, but I must try harder!
  • at the end of the day it felt like another disappointing Saturday. I might consider switching to pre-race trading .... I'll have to give this some thought.

    Sunday 18/12

  • I realised that I need to set some monthly targets and calculate these based upon my initial bank amount and the number of race meetings per month.
  • as mentioned above I had a chance to have a few beers with some of the STJ pre-race trader guys and they're a good bunch. We'll stay in touch and it will be interesting to see how we all do in 2012.
  • on the way home I found myself re-tracing my old route home from when I worked in the City. In the last couple of years doing that job I really hated it and couldn't wait to find another way of making a living. My journey home reminded of how fucked-off I used to be and that's made me even more determined to work hard and succeed in 2012.
  • I realised that I'm best suited to a patient and aggressive strategy so I make sure that I put myself in this mindset before I start trading each day.

    Monday 19/12

  • traded well today and felt aggressive yet in control. Did get a bit jittery during 1 or 2 wagers but all-in-all feel like that I'm already making progress.
  • I spent some time trying to determine how much I need to win on a monthly basis and I'll publish this in a separate post.


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