Unconventional Training for the Unconventional Trader

01/30/2015 6:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Michael Bellafiore

Author, One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading

Veteran trader Mike Bellafiore, of SMB Capital, relates the statements made by Tom Brady in a New York Times article to the world of trading and uses the actions of several elite traders to illustrate that traders need to strive to train unconventionally to achieve outperformance.

As traders, it is a best practice to learn from the Greats, particularly how they train to improve.  Tom Brady—unarguably one of the great QBs to every play football—offers us a best practice to incorporate into our training.  That best practice is: train unconventionally to achieve unconventional results.

Brady was featured in a fascinating New York Times article by the outstanding Mark Leibovich.  Brady believes he must train unconventionally to be elite:

Brady says he tends to gravitate to mentors like Harden, who don’t necessarily embrace mainstream philosophies of coaching and training. Yee, Brady’s agent, described Brady to me as “genially subversive” in his approaches. A few years ago, Brady turned to a former major-league pitcher and pitching coach, Tom House, to help him with his throwing mechanics. House, who worked closely with Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who played in the major leagues until he was 46, was known for deploying unorthodox practice routines.

Brady believes that if he simply trained like everyone else, he would not still be playing today or at least not at anything close to his current level. In the established “system,” Brady says, ageism has become the conventional wisdom. “That’s where they get ‘No QB can play past 38, 37.’?”

In the trading world, we should strive to train unconventionally to achieve outperformance, such as these elite traders:

1) One elite trader videos himself during his trading day and watches back the tape.

2) One mutual fund trader rips through 500 charts every night without fail.

3) A well-known HF trader got in the best physical shape of his life first to climb out of a slump.

4) One legendary Citibank trader would practice not putting on positions when they were not warranted.

5) One huge derivatives trader took massive risk outside of work with hobbies to prepare himself to take massive risk with his best positions.

Think different. Train different. Trade better.

If a fledgling college QB can go on to become one of the greatest of all time, after embracing unconventional training, what can you be?  And what will you invent with your trader training so you achieve your best?

By Mike Bellafiore of SMB Capital

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