Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Trading using the training or trusting mindset?

Whenever I have been in the zone and on a winning run, if I think back, it always felt very natural and was about acting and reacting without analysing and thinking. On the contary, when I've been doing badly, the opposite seems to hold, I am always over analysing, thinking and hesitating and then finally acting just as the price changed.

Performance consultant, author and speaker, John Eliot, talks about high performers using a "trusting mindset" whereas everyone else uses a "training mindset". The trusting mindset is what I would call the unconscious mind and the training mind set is the conscious mind.

When a skill is initially being learnt, it is done very deliberately and every action is scrutinised and practiced. This is all a very conscious activity. If you think to when you learnt to drive. Changing gear was a bitch! It was a long and complicated operation requiring full concentration (at least it was for me). A very conscious activity (training midset).

After you have been driving a while, changing gear is easy and you can do it whilst talking to your mate in the passenger seat without thinking about it. This is an unconscious operation (trusting midset).

Any skill is trained consciously and then becomes almost a habit as it is transferred to the unconscious. The thing is, if you start to think too much about something when you are doing it, it ends up working through the conscious (training mindset) route which is slower and more deliberate. The same holds with trading. When you are trading 10 minutes before the off, you need to be ready to act quickly and confidently otherwise you miss the boat. This is an environment where the unconscious shines. If you have ever had a winning run, where you have been in the zone, you will know what it is like. It is all about trusting your unconscious to know what to do and not trying to second guess yourself.

Monday, 29 October 2007

My birthday

It was my birthday yesterday, so not much to report tradingwise. I went out for a late lunch with my wife, the kids, the in-laws and family. It was nice, other than my boy Harry (who is 2.5) being a grumpy little monster.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Betfair Bot and Software Forum

I've just set up a forum for people interested in building bots or trading software. So far not a lot is there, as I've just set it up, but feel free to register and make it your own. If it gets used I'll keep it up, if not then I'll close it down. It can be found at:

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Questions for Learning the Lessons

Learning your lessons is an important part of improving at anything and trading is no exception. One way to make sure that lessons are taken on, is by reviewing mistakes and successes and asking the right questions.

Below are a couple of questions that can get you some good answers and help motivate you to not repeat the same mistakes. Here's how it works:

1) During a quiet moment, get yourself a pen and paper and then relax and drift back in your mind to a time when you really messed up a trade.

2) Relive the moment, let yourself get annoyed about it, really feel the frustration and then ask yourself:

If only I had ............ I wouldn't have [insert what went wrong here]

3) For a full minute, write down whatever comes into your mind as answers to the "........" part.

4) Shake off any bad feelings and thoughts. Look down the list and highlight each of the answers that really resonate with you.

5) Of the highlighted answers, find one that is the key point and write it onto a post-it note, in the form: "If only I had [your answer] I wouldn't have [insert what went wrong here]" and stick it on the side of your monitor.

So, this is the first step. This is using what is called "away from" motivation, to help you notice and stop repeating a mistake. The other form of motivation is "towards". To tap into that, do the following:

1) Once again, in quiet moment, go find your pen and paper again and then relax and drift back in your mind to a time when you really did well on a trade. A time that you are really chuffed about.
2) Relive the moment, let yourself once more relive the elation and the buzz. Mentally, pat yourself on the back and feel proud. Whilst feeling those feelings, ask yourself:

Because I did ............ I succeeded in [insert what went right here]

3) For a minute, write down whatever comes into your mind as answers to the "........" part.
4) Look down the list and highlight each of the best answers.
5) Of the highlighted answers, find one that is the key point and write it onto a post-it note, in the form: "Because I did [best answer] I succeeded in [insert what worked here]" and stick it on the side of your monitor, next to the other one.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

New Blogs

There are a couple more new bloggers on the scene, giving their own view of trading. I've had a read through and will be going back again, so please have a look and give them some support.

JP's Betting Blog
The first one is called "JP's Betting Blog". JP has set himself the target of taking £6,000 and turning it into £25,000 by the end of next year. He is using a combination of tipping services and his own personal views when gambing, but he is also trading the favourites in the last few minutes before the off.

Don't give up your day job
The owner of this blog has given up his day job and is trying to make his money from trading. He also favours the horses and has had a bit of a run in from playing with football (a familiar situation).

A quick post

I've not posted for a few days again and I've not traded either. Life is currently pretty hectic! My day job is going to be crazy busy till Christmas, but I'm going to post whenever I get the chance. My plan is to get some trades in on the weekend. Get back to the horses again. Yay!

My flirt with football wasn't particularly great and I never really got much of an edge. I will keep looking into it, but until I know what I'm doing with football, I'll not be throwing cash at it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Example Graphing from Betfair data

As part of the rewrite of my eBook about building Betfair bots and using the free Betfair API, I have been creating some simple examples. One of those is a graphing example. I thought I'd post it up as a download in case anyone wants to play with it. It is somewhat raw and buggy but it was only written as an example to show how to use parts of the API. If you want to have a look, please go to: DOWNLOAD HERE and click on the "install" button. It is a windows application and when run will ask for username and password. These are your Betfair user ID and password and are used to connect to Betfair using the free API. Once you have logged on, you are shown the main window. On the left is a tree view you use to select a market and an event. Open the treeview until you find the event you want. When you have chosen through to the lowest level, a drop down list will appear at the top of the right hand pane. Use this to select a runner. As soon as a runner is picked, the simple ladder and graph will update price info every second. At the bottom of the window are some check boxes. These let you turn on or off the various graph lines. The available ones are back1-3 and lay1-3 which relate to the unmatched back and lay prices, next to that are back band and lay band. These are bollinger bands, currently set to use a 20 second moving average of matched prices. Finally there is a checkbox for matched price and moving average matched price. Next to the moving average is a box that you can enter the number of seconds the moving average is over. I hope that all made sense.

Just to repeat, this little application is not a finished, solid application, so don't be surprised if it does something funny every so often or crashes, etc.

If you want to make the graph fill more of the window, click the "hide ladder" check box. You can zoom in onto an area of the graph by holding the left button and dragging the mouse over it.

Have fun.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Giving money away?

I've been away for a week and havn't posted since then. during my time away I received a comment posted on the blog, which is similar to the ones that pop up every so often, along the lines of "give up, you guys are just giving money to the pros". The thing is, by the nature of bet exchanges, it is peer to peer betting. For each matched bet there is going to be a winner and a loser, it's as simple as that. Getting the skills needed to make a profit doesn't happen overnight (unless you're someone really exceptional). The only way to really learn is by doing. It's fine doing some paper trading, but the emotions are not there. You can be ice cold calm and sensible paper trading but when there is real money on the line then the emotions kick in and that's one of the factors that need to be controlled. So, if the only way to learn is by doing and as there are a number of skilled traders out there, it makes sense that there will be a period where you will take a hit. As you learn the lessons and get better and also new people join and others just throw money in without thought, you will rise up the ranks and with that your profit levels will rise too. For each of the people out there that say, "it can't be done", there are many people who are making profits. Look at fellow bloggers Mark Iverson or the Betfair Trader. They're taking profits and know what it is like to pay your dues.