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Should Traders Practise Any Sports?

October 18, 2017 10:05

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Dear traders,

Much like sports, trading can be very dynamic, too. Saying that, I am referring to emotional engagement. Forex and CFD trading is about predicting the ups and downs of prices, and stacking the odds in your favour. At sports, you usually predict the movements of your opponent trying to outsmart them. In the end, it all comes down to how often your predictions are correct and how much money you win or lose in every trade.

Constant practice makes traders sharp. You practise and study endlessly, month after month after month. Long gruelling hours and constant sacrifices. You have one goal in mind: trade and make great returns. But trading usually involves a great deal of monitoring your trading platform without any substantial physical effort. Emotionally, you get excited, but physically, you are inactive. Being very active myself, I will talk about sports you should practise as a trader.

Body and Mind are One

Entering the Forex ring is similar to stepping into the the ring or octagon. You want to outsmart the opponent. The difference is the only person you fight with is yourself. For that simple fact, there are lessons in martial arts that can be applied to Forex trading.

In many ways, trading is similar to martial arts. I personally practise Muay Thai 3 times a week. I also run 3-5 times a week, normally 6-15 km, and do calisthenics 5 times a week. A bit too much?

Sitting 8-10 hours a day, your body loses muscle mass. You start to gain fat, especially belly fat, which is not good health-wise. Your legs and knees might suffer and you will become stiff. Most of calisthenic exercises and Thai boxing engage more than one muscle group. Take classic push-ups, for example: You basically work your chest (or the triceps, depending on the push-up variation), yet to perform a proper push-up, you have to brace the whole body including the quads, the glutes, the core, and the abs. What is more, these muscles have to work in harmony – which brings us to such benefits of sports as coordination and condition.

The benefits of practising martial art related to trading are multiple:

  1. Teaches you self-confidence;
  2. Decreases stress;
  3. Decreases anger and frustration;
  4. Boosts confidence and self-esteem;
  5. Helps you relax;
  6. Increases the awareness of self-reliance.

I always set goals. No matter if it is is running half a marathon or practising a new advanced technique in Muay Thai, I will do it. Without setting your goals, there is no advancement.

One more thing is to try to stay calm. When I was watching a famous Russian MMA fighter and champion Fedor Emelianenko, I was wondering what the secret of his success was. One thing was very noticeable – he was always calm and focussed. It was the mental calmness of Emelianenko that befuddled his opponents.

The Market is Similar to Chess

Chess is not a simple strategy game. It is very good for training your memory because as a chess player, you exercise brain, which allows you to make the best decisions.

Traders lose money failing to realise that the market is a collective movement of their own actions and reactions along with other people's actions and reactions. For example, you spot a trade and execute it. As you close your eyes, the market reacts. As you begin to react to your action, you then become uncertain if you entered too late, too early, or if you have got it entirely wrong. This is a typical reaction.

Just like simple economics, where supply meeting demand equals price, is the collective view from society on a particular tradable instrument, e.g., the market. It is very similar to chess. You need to always be one step ahead of the market. Not trying to outsmart it, but rather predict its next move.

Markets are a zero sum game, so the idea that everyone can make a return on their investment is not only inaccurate, but also laughable. In simple terms, if everyone was profitable, there would be no market because... who would be taking the other side of the trade?

Yoga and Relaxation

Yoga and meditation might help you get rid of stress and promote well-being. The progressive and continuous focus on maintaining a calm and steady breath while being challenged physically forces you to pay attention to yourself.

Over time, self-awareness transcends your yoga practice. You begin to observe yourself while trading, which enables you to monitor and/or modify behaviours that may be detrimental to your trading decisions. According to CNBC, Pete Dougherty, former director of BofA Merrill Lynch said: 'A day after I went to a yoga class, regardless of whether the market was up or down, I'd ask myself why do I feel so good? And then I'd figure out it was because I went to yoga.'

Even better, yoga helps you calm down and feel optimistic before you make a trade. Remember – you don't want to feel euphoric as you might start to make emotional trading decisions.

As you now know, I do individual sports. In group sports, most people know that success and failure are a team effort. No matter how well or how poorly one performs, it's up to the team as a whole to work together and win. Whereas self-reliance is a skill undoubtedly developed in individual sports. As a sole performer, you've got no-one to rely on, but yourself. You know that it's up to you on the performance day.

Traders, set your goals and work harder! Push your limits – that is the only way you can evolve both physically and mentally. See you on Live Trading webinars!

Cheers and safe trading,


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