Discussion: The problems with trader training services are...

Discussion in 'Educational Resources' started by Xspurt, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. ... seldom discussed: the students aptitude and the teachers ability to demonstrate live trading.

    It's coming up to Christmas time and there are probably many folks out there who are looking at trading as a way to provide an income in uncertain economic times. Indeed a reoccurring theme on ET is traders or wannabe's looking for mentoring, training or education. Some vendors charge $25k+ for a long shopping list of fluff and stuff you can be trained in, but seldom does a spark touch fuel. As they say, hope is a great breakfast but a poor supper and it seems most trainees finish the course full of belief but are soon disappointed in the actual money making ability they are left with when they try to apply all their new tools and training. In fact it becomes a sure fire way to lose more money.

    Seeing is believing and unless you see it live, what appears real can be very far removed from a profitable method. It is easy to annotate a chart after the event and claim infallibility as has been proffered on ET. An impressive list of things it seems you need to know can turn out to be worthless and as there is perhaps no one more vulnerable to snake oil than someone wanting to learn the skills of trading, how does a budding trader protect ones self?

    Some Smart Alec thinks 3yrs tax receipts or account statements are the proof. But what if the method is failing now and the trader is selling a has-been method that worked under prior market conditions. You and he are destined for the same sad end.

    So let's get the ground rules straight: if a trader is selling a method it should not be his beast method because copying it will affect his liquidity. So let's say you're getting a 2nd rate method - you must see it in operation before you part with coin or you are just buying a sales pitch. Colored crayons after the event don't come near to an acid test. The bigger the money claims the greater the proof needs to be because anyone who makes big money trading doesn't touch training traders. Even if it is free training, if you don't see the proof demonstrated live you can be pouring your life into a vortex of worthless fantasies.

    But there is another aspect to learning and that is your aptitude. But the only way you can truly evaluate that is if you are 100% certain a method is as good as it is claimed to be because you have seen it in action. Then if it is not working for you, you know the trouble is with your perceptions. If it is working for your piers then it is all the clearer that you may not have what it takes.

    I trained a group of traders on a one-off basic boot camp and that was as far as I would take it. One was scratching a living and after the training now makes a few million a year. One failed but continually reviewed the training and kept in touch with those who made it and is now well on the way to making a million this year. Another is scraping a living with great stress using the same tools, time and training. Yet another gave up on the training because he wanted to mix it with other ideas and went from a little success to blowing his account because inexperience had not prepared him for the wiles of the market.

    So there are four examples of different outcomes with the same training. The guys saw live calls and soon were able to make their own live calls because they did what they saw, and that seems to be the most common outcome. If you get a lot of waffle, you get lost in a sea of words. If you see it work, you copy what you see.

    Perhaps these guidelines might save a few people from wasting a lot of time and money to say nothing of the emotional cost. I'd be interested in hearing from others who have had experiences of wasting time and money on training and whether the problem was the training offered or your personal make up and how much was spent on training.
  2. About nine years ago I took the late Eddie Toppel's $625 one-day course extending his book "Zen in the Markets." In it he taught how to backtest using Tradestation and gave away a very marginal, but profitable, ES trading system. I never took another course, but painfully and haltingly built my own systems using his as inspiration. One of the best aspects of the day was simply being in a room full of intense traders of all levels of accomplishment. A few were Eddie's devotees who had continued to work with him and used his more advanced systems. Basically they were managing OPM, attracting funding by promising significantly better returns on the current short-term interest rate at modest risk by futures trading a small fraction of the principal. To this day that remains my mantra.
  3. NoDoji


    I viewed a lot of free trading webinars/DVDs all of which presented basic concepts (very valuable ones) that work in all time frames and all markets. I also had a very experienced trader constantly explaining basic trading concepts to me. I understood these concepts, yet I doubted them somehow and was unable to bring myself to apply them consistently. I even had the privilege of participating in a free informal chat room and watching an experienced trader announce setups, then call his entries, stops and profit targets in real time all day, every day, proving that it works consistently for the entire year plus that I was there.

    Yet I had my own opinions how to do things and I traveled a very expensive do-it-yourself path that eventually led me right back to all these things I'd been exposed to in the first place!

    I'm pretty sure if I'd paid a person or company thousands of dollars for the same education, I still would've struggled to apply it, because I came into trading with all the wrong personality traits for the job.

    Once I found a key to consistent profitability with strong risk management, I realized that several people here had offered me much of great value had I only been willing to accept and trust the fruits of their extensive experience. I decided to pay it forward by offering my knowledge to some others.

    What it always seems to come down to, whether you pay someone or get training for free, is the psychology of the profession. One trader I worked with picked up everything immediately, started sim trading, texted his trades to me through the day and I was simply amazed. He was trading me under the table in his sim account. Then he started trading live and consistently lost money. With a very small account and real money on the line, the ability to be a military-style rule follower deserted him.

    Another person I worked with was struggling with long term swing trading. He told me where he was looking to enter a long term trend and there was over $5000 per contract of profit between the instrument's current price and the pullback entry price he was targeting. I offered steps to trading it profitably on a shorter time frame, enjoying profits as price moves down to his long entry price zone. It's now a month and $6500/contract later, and price dropped below his target entry price zone. The shorter term trends had/have much to offer and I gave him exact price action steps to profiting from them. I've no idea if he took my advice, but since I never a got a thank you for it, I doubt it.

    I think the best time and money you can invest is to buy Mark Douglas' "Trading in the Zone" and read it from start to finish as many times as it takes for you to develop a trader's mindset. I'm about to start it for the 4th time because I still find myself over-thinking instead of just being a dumbass trader and reacting without question to every valid setup.
  4. I think Donna spoke for many here who have had similar experiences in willfulness and returned full circle to humility. I can only add that, in many ways, learning to algorithmize and backtest potential setups eliminates the need for a teacher. You can rapidly test and discard conventional approaches and move on the subtle things which really work. Then you become your own guru, or as the Zen saying goes, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!"
  5. Xspurt

    Thanks for a great topic. Being a self centered pennyless man, paying for training or purchasing a black box was out of the question for me.

    Fortunately, I took to TA like a fish to water. I realized I needed a method of trading that was mostly mechanical to fit my personality. I too, attended many free trading seminars (mostly sales pitches) and viewed many videos and DVDs. I was soon to learn my nemesis was myself. I had devised a system that had a proven backtest history of profitability but with all my best efforts, I couldn't make any real money.

    Growing up in the conservative Mid West with a domineering depression era father, I had a very long, lonely and painful journey to get to where I'm at today. I took every suggestion that promised psychological change with guarded optimism. I think I did it all, from attending AA meetings, as suggested in Alexander Elder's 1993 book, (Trading for a Living), Hello, "my name is Went Fishing and I can't take a loss!" :) to rosary beads and rabbits feet (and I'm not Catholic).

    I guess I would fit in best with the lower half of your four example traders. I continued to exercise the industry until, by fate perhaps, a trading coach found me. This single event made all the difference in the world to my bottom line. Am I a million dollar trader, no, but I haven't had a losing month since. Needless to say, if I were to offer one suggestion to an aspiring trader, that would be to get a coach, mentor or someone to personally critique you, your method and most importantly (for me anyway) your psychology. Although I see evidence of success using online forums, I believe the intimacy and honesty required of coaching may be compromised at some level, in a public forum. I met my coach at a wedding (not mine :) ), not through a google search. We talk by phone every trading day and meet face to face at least once a week, we're friends.

    As I began meeting with my coach, I informed him I had over 80 books in my trading library. He walked over and pulled out http://www.amazon.com/Disciplined-Trader-Developing-Winning-Attitudes/dp/0132157578 and said, "every thing you need to know is in here, the rest of these are for method, but you have that." "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," was published eleven years later, of course I bought it, to study, and place beside his (Mark Douglas) earlier work.
  6. Redneck


    Hey X,

    Before I add my .02 cents – a side bar comment

    I sense you have an urge building within you – a good urge – but nonetheless an urge… (I had the same at one time)

    I hope you find a way to quiet it :)

    There are dishonest trainers

    There are incompetent trainers

    There are good trainers

    And there are many in between all the above….

    First step would be to somehow identify a good one – obviously… But that still leaves the greatest hurtle of all – our self

    Being a parent, a student, a trader, and several other things – has taught me one valuable lesson about people and learning……

    Humans are wired in such a way that one human cannot adequately pass along their "lessons learned" – to another

    Humans, unfortunately, must make the same mistakes..., and learn the same lesson from that/ those mistake(s)..., in their own way.

    So the lesson contains meaning..., so the lesson sticks…, otherwise repeating the mistake is most likely......

    There are exceptions to this, but those individuals are extremely rare…..

    I call this the human condition


    Consider how far, as a species, we could have evolved by now if only we were able to impart the lessons we’ve learned over a lifetime – to our children.

    They in turn could build upon those lessons, never needing to repeat the same mistakes, and then pass that combined knowledge on to the next generation


    We are all physically capable of entering and exiting a trade - so as to trade successfully

    (and should some one say well there are those who can’t due to a physical handicap – I would respond; don’t tell that to Stephen Hawking – he has the ability to manipulate a computer as well as anyone)

    However we are not all mentally mature/ evolved enough to trade successfully

    This sentence although true – I find laughable – because imo to be evolved/ mature enough to trade successfully means to have come full circle and distilled trading down to its most simplistic components and actions


    That last sentence btw leads me off in several other directions – but perhaps those topics are best left for another day

    Learn form history - or be doomed to repeat it... As the saying goes I believe

  7. RN - Without all undue disrespect from one Texican to anudder, I do not have a clit, but I have taught more than a few unsuspecting women how to have house-shaking continuous clitoral orgasms. Make of this what you with with disrespect to trading and trading coaches. For my part, I think I might rather have a sensitive clit than be a good trader.- Art
  8. No.Heat



    I'm 100% with you. In this business assume guilty unless proven innocent.
  9. NoDoji


    Art, if you weren't in and out so fast off those tick charts, you could have it all. :D
  10. Here is my take... If success at trading was a direct relationship to education, then there would be a lot more successful traders. Success in trading is a blend between education and experience, also finding the correct mixture for YOU is whats really important.
    #10     Nov 27, 2010