In my interactions with clients, I’ve found that the same questions get asked. For example, “What do your most successful clients do to ensure success?” Obviously, there are a number of possible answers to this question.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at top performers from various fields and highlighting attributes that make them stand out from the pack. These attributes exist in successful traders.
I begin this series with Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback.
The Patriots drafted Tom Brady, a graduate of Michigan, in 2000. Since then, he has played in six Super Bowls and has won four of them. He has been named Super Bowl MVP four times despite being drafted in the sixth round—199th pick overall. He played one game in his first pro season. In season number two, starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, and Brady stepped in. The rest, as they say, is history.
Incidentally, I just finished reading the book Tom Brady, There’s No Expiration Date on Dreams by Rich Wolfe. Written in 2002, the book focuses on his pre-NFL days. It’s a fun read as it collects dozens and dozens of stories from Brady’s early coaches, teammates, and sports figures. For this post, I have sampled statements from three of his early coaches. I love that this material exists. A coach has seen a player at their best and their worst.
First up is Tom Mackenzie, Tom Brady’s high school head football coach:
“The uniqueness of Tom Brady is his commitment to excellence as shown in his attention to learning and practicing. He is the best prepared on the field of play.”
Next up is Rich Jeffries, former Major League scout and assistant baseball coach at Tom Brady’s high school (In high school Tom played football and baseball):
“He loved the game of football. He loved to compete. He loved to practice and work hard. He understands that if he doesn’t do the job as well as he’s supposed to, then somebody else is going to take his place, and he’s going to sit down.
Whatever he realized that he needed to work on, instead of avoiding it, he went out of his way to get better at it. That’s why he is such a very sound fundamental quarterback with his mechanics and all because he had to be due to his lack of foot speed to begin with.
Tom has a dream and he works for it. He understands his ability, and he doesn’t have to lead the league in touchdown passes or yards. He has to lead the team in wins.”
Finally, we have Scot Loeffler, former Michigan quarterback coach:
“Tom is extremely inner-arrogant. You would never know his confidence, but he believes that he can’t be stopped, and that it is definitely one of his biggest intangibles that he uses to be successful. He comes to the line of scrimmage just wondering which receiver is going to get his next completion because he’s a positive thinker. He’s a guy that has no negative thoughts, and it’s one of the reasons why he’s where he’s at. It’s because of how confident he is. The reason he’s confident is because of his preparation. If you’re prepared, there’s no reason not to be confident.
Tom, in practice, was exactly like he was on game day. No difference. You’ve got to be a State Street (practice field) quarterback before you become a stadium quarterback. There’s not one thing different that he did in the game compared to practice. He was so good in practice that all game day really was an extension of practice except with fans.”
Preparation: “To put in proper condition or readiness.”
Question: To what degree do you prepare yourself for your trading session? In our experience, if you aren’t 100 percent prepared, your chance of success is far less than 100 percent.
Preparation regarding trading is complex. There are several elements:
You. Your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state. To what degree do you manage these states when you trade? If less than 100 percent, what can you do to get there?
Your management of primary resources. Your time, focus, energy and money. To what degree do you manage these resources during a trading session? If less than 100 percent, what can you do to get it there?
The market. Your understanding of the market’s past and current condition. To what degree do you have market knowledge and understanding to trade the current trading session? If it’s less than 100 percent, what can you do to get it?
Your environment. Your trading workstation, equipment and support tools. To what degree do you prepare your trading environment for a trading session? If less than 100 percent, what can you do to get there?
Your supporting resources. Your connections and support systems, including your support team members. To what degree do you prepare and align support resources for a trading session? If less than 100 percent, what can you do to get there?
Your Plan. What you will do when X, Y or Z happens, including contingency plans. To what degree do you prepare your possible strategies ahead of time? If less than 100 percent, what can you do to get it there?
I highlight one of the quotes from earlier, from Scot Loeffler:
“Tom, in practice, was exactly like he was on game day. No difference. You’ve got to be a State Street (practice field) quarterback before you become a stadium quarterback. There’s not one thing different that he did in the game compared to practice. He was so good in practice that all game day really was an extension of practice except with fans.”
Following are two perspectives on trading preparation from Brett Steenbarger. The first is on Dan Gable and his “all-in” strategy. The second centers on simulation of practice.
The Psychology of Preparation: What Traders Can Learn From Dan Gable by Brett Steenbarger
Training Traders: The Role of Simulation in Supercharging Learning by Brett Steenbarger
Until next time . . .