I recently sent out the following two posts via social media, discussing the importance of having a plan in place to quickly clear your mind and get back into the game, whenever you sense frustration of any kind:
In response to these posts, I received the following exceptional email:
I liked your recent Twitter post about your "Regroup Procedure" after losses and thought I'd share something I learned while playing college baseball that I have applied in my trading.
We practiced what we called our "Mental Resets" while batting. A mental reset is required whenever anything "shocks" you and gets you off your plan at the plate. Every time you walk up to the plate, you should have a pre-meditated plan of the pitch you are looking to hit and anything that can dissuade you away from that plan has to be combated with a mental reset to get you BACK to your plan.
The physical act of mentally resetting is to: Step out of the batters box, focus on a small spot on your bat (we call it our "zero point"… We want to get back to zero emotionally), and take a slow deep breath. You then reaffirm your plan in your head, and step back into the box with confidence.
Our 5 Automatic Mental Resets were:
1) Swinging at a pitch that doesn't match your plan… – Swung at a bad pitch… step out of the box and RESET.
2) NOT swinging at the pitch that you were looking for… – You had a plan and for whatever reason you didn't pull the trigger on your pitch… RESET.
3) Bad call by the umpire… – You didn't think it was a strike and your upset. The umpire is out of your control… Step out and RESET.
4) Brush back… – You almost just got hit by a pitch. Your heart rate is too high and you aren't in a good state to be confident stepping back into the box… Step out and take a MENTAL RESET to bring you back to zero.
5) Changing of plan… – Something happened that requires a quick change of your plan (the most often one being moving to a 2 strike approach once you get 2 strikes on you)… – Change of plan… Environment has changed, we need to RESET here.
You don't have much time in between pitches to cool off, so if something upsets you, it is extremely important that you use a Mental Reset to keep your focus and get back to your plan. I think it is the same thing with trading… especially shorter time-frame trading. You don't have a lot of time to sit there and be upset. You have to RESET.
I thought you might find this parallel of Trading to Baseball interesting.
Thanks Alex. That is EXACTLY what I was talking about. Except your baseball analogy explains it just SO MUCH BETTER.
I called it a regroup (based on a term from my military days where a unit facing attack might drop back in order to reset and reorganise, in order to continue fighting).
Baseball calls it a mental reset.
The concept is the same.
When something has put your mindset on tilt then you need to step back away from the charts and reset or reorganise yourself, in order to return to the game with a clearer and more highly-focused mindset.
I've found this most effective when it involves a predefined and practiced ritual, such as my regroup checklist or Alex's routine for focus on the bat, slow breathing and reaffirmation of the plan.
To continue with the baseball theme, I'm reminded of a video which I shared a few years back.
The whole video is worth watching from a trading mindset perspective. But take note at 7:55 and you will see Evan Longoria complete his version of a mental reset.
(If the video is not playing here, click on this link to go direct to YouTube.)
Do you have a regroup or reset procedure?
If not, develop one now. Start with mine. Or adapt the baseball mental reset shared by Alex.
And then over time, amend it and make it your own.
As they say in the video, you need to have something to go to when the garbage hits the fan. Because the garbage will hit the fan. So let's be ready for it.