After my first encounter with the One Tick Target Drill I was excited to give it another go, I figured that I’d for sure be able to right the wrongs of my bad habits from the day before, and generate a little self confidence by having a positive day. I was wrong.
Instead, it took me just under an hour to reach the loss limit for the exercise. In the US Treasuries this is really bad trading. Firstly I shouldn’t of even been able to get enough trades in an hour to do that and second I was managing risk terribly. I was pissed to say the least.
I felt so bad about the exercise I couldn’t even write about it, the first thing going through my head was “I’m going to have to admit to this later” which depending on your viewpoint is good or bad. Personally in a vain attempt to take some positives away from the day I see it as a good thing from an accountability point of view.
It is fair to say I was on tilt when I sat down to trade, just through daily life so it probably wasn’t ever going to end well. Immediately though I was married to trades and I did was I always used to when Sim trading, I took a trade, it went against me and I sat and watched in pure hope it would come back until I puked at about an 8 tick loss. One trade and I was already down the previous days total, pretty poor decision making. I knew right away I was trading emotionally and the gremlins of the mind started rearing their opportunistic heads again. “You can’t do this”, “You’re not mentally wired for trading”. It was like stepping back in time to a period when I had less direction.
Needless to say it carried on like that, revenge trades and bad Risk Reward helping me towards a $300 loss in an hour. I closed my trading computer and took a walk, hung out with the family and came back to analyse when I felt better, I was able to take some positives away and understand one key thing; Sim Trading isn’t real.
It isn’t real in the sense that you shouldn’t get stressed about it and it isn’t real in that you won’t trade the same way. Now to be clear, I think this drill is great and has a lot of learning potential but within two days of using it I’d started to trade the way I used to on Sim which mean’t undoing all the hard work and progress I’d made since going live.
The best thing I thought was to park the drill for the day and get back in the game for real, so I traded live today. I took one trade, a break even and after the volatility of the news releases died down came to the conclusion I had no read on the market, that it was a Friday and that any opportunity to trade was gone, so I stopped trading. This was a good day.
The difference between the last sim day and today’s live day? On Sim I took an hour to make about ten trades, on live today I took about an hour to get into one. On sim I was in trades for about 5-7 minutes hoping losses would come back, today my live trade took me about 25 seconds from getting in, setting a two tick stop, 4 tick target, getting +1 in my favour, going breakeven and getting stopped out at breakeven. On Sim I had no read but traded anyway, had no idea where price was in the grand scheme of things and was so zoomed in on the 10 year I forgot to take in the rest of the markets. On live today I was watching price well, how it moved, could see the markets move together and knew where we were in the day’s trading context.
All in I enjoyed today, I got a breakeven trade but after the psychological damage of the previous two sim days it felt like I was capable again and that the progress I’d made was indeed still there. Above all else I felt I exercised restraint and contained risk and at the moment that is worth more than any drill can give.
Thanks for reading.