Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Deliberate Practice Shapes Performance

We apologize for our lack of deliberateness in maintaining this blog as initially promised; we've been busy coaching Chicago traders the last 2 years and learning what works and what's a waste of time. So here's a tidbit on what's caught some airplay recently in the field of high performance trading, it's the concept of  DELIBERATE PRACTICE

Deliberate practice is characterized by several elements. It is activity designed specifically to improve performance, often with a teacher’s help; it can be repeated a lot; feedback on results is continuously available; it’s highly demanding mentally, whether the activity is purely intellectual or heavily physical; and it isn’t much fun.

Two awesome reads are The Talent Code by Dan Coyle and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. We have adapted perspectives from these two books to assist traders in getting quickly up to speed with the why's and how's of that notion "practice makes perfect." Isn't it strange that in professional sports a majority of time is spent practicing performances rather than actually playing live competitions. In contrast, daily business environments spend most of their time doing performances in order to remain competitive, and spend very little, if any time practicing. What's wrong with this picture? And more so, how does one practice effectively while they work? 

We were curious to answer this question from the perspective of coaching professional traders. Our coaching process POISED 2 PERFORM is rooted in what we've learned the last several years from our research of the performance psychology literature and field application with talented professionals. The bottom line is, embrace mistakes and errors for they will bring you closer and faster to high performance than once thought possible. It's paradoxical (a.k.a. opposite) to what most think; we've been trained to prevent mistakes and avoid failure at any cost. But those courageous to face their mistakes square in the face and learn from them, rise towards the top and and become more adept at sustaing high performance. 

Key Points
  • Know how to practice deliberately
    • Lots of repetitions
    • Lots of feedback
    • Lots of focus & concentration
  • Become an expert in domain-specific knowledge
    • That is, develop insightful intuition by writing and talking about what you know over and over to someone who's interested
  • Never become complacent, keep on truckin...
  • It's really hard work...but you already figured that out

Our future posts will examine more about the art of deliberate practice and how to enhance your performance edge within both the internal and external markets or opportunity.

~Keep Deliberate, Coach Ken 

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