The PlayBook Becomes Our Solution
Some traders on our desk still needed my help during our rebuilding phase at SMB. But I needed a time out. I had learned enough not to trade in this psychological condition, so they wouldn’t receive my tick-by-tick, real-time trading instruction. With me on the desk, actively trading, a new trader learns the best stocks to trade, the setups that are worth risk in real-time, strategies for various trading patterns, how to read the tape at expert level, how to get big and hold, and much more. Real-time coaching is the most effective way of working with a new, developing, or underperforming trader. Mentoring and reviewing a trader’s work after the close or a lull in the trading action is effective but not as beneficial as real-time coaching. (I find it disappointing when trading education firms don’t know the difference between mentoring and coaching.) This is true of any sport. Going to the office on most days was not possible, as I was still helping my dad rehab, so face-to-face, one-on-one coaching sessions with our traders also were not an option. I faced a quandary: How could I contribute to the firm in this psychological state—and from Long Island?
The answer was The PlayBook. I needed a way to show our traders I still cared about their progress, though as this absentee coach. You cannot teach or coach anyone if students/players do not know you care. Reviewing their PlayBook trades and providing detailed feedback showed them that I did. I required a way to rebuild the desk without being on the desk.
Also, I coveted a way to get our core of developing traders bigger in their best setups. They suffered from what I call and outline inside this book Trader Wuss Syndrome, afraid to “man up” in their better risk/reward opportunities. Further, I craved a way for our traders to transition into more intraday swing trading, what we call Trades2Hold, from the momentum trading that worked so well in 2007 and 2008. HFTs had gamed that strategy out of the market, save for the very best momentum traders. Moreover, I needed a way to get them to hold their trades longer for the real move. In addition, because we had a solid core of young traders, I wanted them to learn more from each other.
The PlayBook was their framework to talk most specifically about trading setups with this strong core. The act of talking about your trading with fellow traders is a very powerful progress tool. I needed to get our firm back on track and our traders improving—and I had to do it all from a distance. And so out of this crisis the SMB Playbook was born. It was our solution.