The most painful time of year to be a newbie: changes in scheduling.
I’m sure many haven’t even survived it. Putting them off trading permanently…
It shouldn’t be like that though, in this post I’ll give you a few tips for a smoother transition.
Know What’s Coming…
Most intermediate level traders will be aware of the changes…
But do you really know all the in’s, out’s and characteristics of the winter racing?
As always, knowledge is power. The uneducated get delivered pain fed to them in the times of change. Planning ahead, and knowing what to expect, as it comes, is a real bonus. If this is the first time you’ve traded through this transition, I hope this point saves you a few quid. Being unaware altogether is like lambs to the slaughter.
In my first year of being a full-time Betfair trader I remember getting my heels clipped. Being on a high from the flat, and new to trading all day (instead of just the evenings) it spooked me a little.
Another good reason to plan ahead: it’s help confidence, which is a large contributor to consistency.
Make Strategy Changes Really Fast:
Seeing and understanding the changes is vital. But acting on them is too.
As the saying goes; knowing is not enough, we must do.
Situations and characteristics change, the best traders do too – moulding to the opportunity like jelly.
Like I said above, markets change and it’ll always leave some feeling like a failure all of a sudden. The chances are that’s simply not true. It’s just what you were doing needs a slight modification. Trading Guide readers will know exactly what I mean, but you can’t expect something like market liquidity and when it’s at its peak (or not) to change, but your application to return the same results.
It just doesn’t work like that. Good traders adapt to the market, rather than trading what they want to see.
There’s several different horse racing trading strategies here. Some will excel under certain conditions more than others…
Acknowledge & Accept
But other than focusing in on the most profitable angle, it’s worth taking a moment to be humble.
There are two very important elements to this point;
- Less liquidity means less opportunity to win, which also means it’s easier to over-stake and lose. Taking a couple of quid less isn’t going to kill you, and is absolutely worth it if it means you’re managing the risk effectively.
- Mindset is key, so by being grateful with results (and stress-free) is a positive thing. Boldly pushing on to increase returns is wicked, but by accepting the markets are a little bleaker at times you’ll avoid the moments of madness that can put you back a day, or worse.
The advice is simple:
- Fully accept that winning is half the battle. Avoiding losses is a smoother path to overall success.
- Lower expectations and feel out the changes, are they going to affect your approach? If so adapt, quickly.
And also, enjoy the changes! Sometimes the thinner markets can make learning that bit clearer.
Maximise Time Usage
Trading isn’t like manual labour. It’s not always down to how hard you graft (although hard work always pays eventually).
Use the extra time afforded through less racing well. Of course that could mean time with the kids, a break away or just chilling out. But each year the thinner markets and quieter period is the ideal chance to double down on the learning. Reading that one sentence, or making the right observation can be a real lead-in to an ‘ah-haa’ moment. It reminds me of that famous quote:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Aside from September – October racing, there is a similar period in January – February. Getting used to the differences and how to use your time best will be just of much use then…
You’ll soon see just 16 races on some days. If it snows, even worse. Sometimes none…
Get up to date with the BHA Schedule and decide which points of the week or day are going to be most beneficial to trade. When can you fit a few races in comfortably? and what can you expect from them realistically in advance.
In the first year I was learning about trading, this really threw me off course. Cancellations, all-weather racing and just being very different to the flat cards left me feeling a little lost. Don’t dwell, or waste the time, plan ahead!
Review Performance Consistently
How do you know when you’re succeeding?
Obviously the bank balance will grow. But an integral part of improvement is keeping it real. Knowing how you’re performing, where you could possibly improve. What’s currently working well for you, where you make mistakes regularly etc.
But if you’re not keeping some kind of record, or reviewing your activity, you can’t truly measure the success.
Everyone does this in totally different ways. It depends on the individual. One of the most helpful things I did before I began to succeed was keeping track of my own trades, by recording them. I’d sit and watch back for hours (when there was no evening racing in the winter).
Doing this may seem extremely tedious at first, and in truth, it is. But reviewing my own progress on a day, the trades that went good and bad made it that bit easier to realise the next time I was about to make a foolish mistake.
Remember: the profit or loss of a trade does not define your level of performance.
A little confused by that last line? I’m just trying to say; just because you made a profit, doesn’t mean it was a good trade. You could have just been lucky. On the other hand, a loss doesn’t make it a bad one.
It’s important to consistently remind yourself of this. By all means, give yourself a hard time on the occasions you ‘got away with it’ but won, and big yourself up when you did the right thing but lost. Forget the money.
I’m profitable, hurrah! “Job done” said no successful trader ever.
It’s not surprising the best traders I’ve ever encountered don’t just care about the cash they make. It’s the process (like I said in the last point).
In order to get all that you can, to become as successful as possible and consistently grow, you have to keep learning. I’ve dipped over the last few months by my own admission, but I’m often reading and learning. Sure, I enjoy it too but I do it because I know the best investment is always through extra knowledge.
Longer readers will know the biggest leap in results I ever made came when I started to focus on myself. Aside from the market information, knowing when you are starting to ‘flag’ or feel ‘impulsive’ is massive.
Prevention is the best cure.
I mean how easy is it to throw away a heap of profit in the markets for some crappy reason? The market doesn’t care, it’ll take that green in a heartbeat. Half the battle is not letting that happen!
Related: Trading Guidance