How Alpine Ski Racing Shapes Our Investing Game Plan In The New Year

By Todd Gordon
December 28th, 2023

Hello Traders, What a year it’s been.  Some may be looking back with delight, others with regret.  For those looking back with regret, the good news is there’s just 2 trading days left.  For those looking back with pride and a sense of accomplishment, savor it for another two days, but get ready to wipe the slate clean and try to repeat next year.  For those looking to forget, what went wrong?  What can you do differently next year?  For those who crushed it, what went right?  What led you to your success? 

Whether you had a good year or bad year, this is a time to reflect and not focus so much on the result, but the process you followed in your trading and investing.  There’s nothing you can do about your PnL for the year, but what you can do is focus intently on the process you followed. Dare I ask, do you have a process?   For me, it’s all about the process.  In fact I built a whole research business 11 years ago based on my process to ensure I follow each step and remain accountable.  

If you don’t have a process or one that is fully developed, don’t feel bad.  It’s not only learned, but it’s earned.  For me it started to come together in 2008 when I was trading for a hedge fund on Wall St and writing the daily technical report for all of our clients.

Before that, after college, I started my career as a trader and investor. I searched high and low for the best trading methodology, indicator, strategy, spaghetti wall throwing, etc., you know the deal, you’ve probably been there.  I was trying everything under the sun to find profitability.  Fast forward a few years after a few victories I was 26 years old working for GAIN capital / on Wall St in New York.  I was actively trading for the parent company’s hedge fund during the market melt-down of the global financial crisis while writing a daily research report with a single trade in it (called Strategy of the Day) for the retail brokerage clients.  My active trades were breakeven at best while my one researched idea that was prepped, presented, written about in Strategy of the Day started to gain a wide following with clients and on Twitter (back in its very early days).  Why?  Because the ideas were profitable and gave traders enough lead time to review the idea and place the trade. 

I had an epiphany. Actually it was stronger than epiphany.  It was more like a snowball to the head.  Eliminate the busy in and out trades that were not presented in the research and focus more capital on that one single idea that I wrote about each day.  The researched trade idea. I then took another epiphanic snowball to the head.  I already possessed the skill set to follow a process and execute.  It was in my back pocket the whole time!  

Growing up I was a competitive alpine ski racer in upstate NY through high school and college.   If you can picture an olympic ski race on TV you’ll see what looks like 90 seconds of pure speed, terror, chaos, etc. Here’s a video to get a feel of what it’s like:

But what you don’t see is the months of preparation including equipment, tactics, physical conditioning, mindset that goes into it.  You can only go into a ski race with confidence that you’re prepared, knowing you followed your process.  On race day you will go through a pre-race ‘inspection process’ where you will build your game plan for that day’s race.  You will build as many of the known factors into your game plan as possible because once you’re in the course racing at high speed, nine times out of ten something pops up that you couldn’t foresee that could put you on your butt!   Your attention needs to quickly shift focus and adapt to the variable, while still firing on your game plan. That’s why you need to have your process and game plan so deeply ingrained it’s automatic.   To perform at a high level in a highly intense and chaotic environment like a steep icy mountain race course, or the financial markets, you need to have a rock solid game plan and process.  At those speeds, or in the markets with tons of information being hurled at you with dollars flying around you have to keep your focus and account for new information.  That can only be done if you’re following a process.  

Back to the story in my mid-20’s as I was searching for an approach to trading and investing, I leaned on my experience as a ski racer to formulate my process.  They key was a lot of preparation followed by a short burst of controlled aggression looking to come out on top.  It’s the reason I’m here today, professionally of course.  Now I’m lucky to share this process with  traders around the world all the while keeping myself accountable to my trading and investing.  That’s what you call a win-win.  

So, today (Thursday at noon EST) I’ll be holding a webinar to discuss our process.  How we approached markets in 2023, what we did right, what we did wrong.  We’ll talk about how we plan to approach the markets in 2024 including our research approaches, trading strategies and tactics, and our mental approach.

PS PLUS, we have a very exciting announcement to make.  Someone you most likely know is joining the TradingAnalysis team to help round out our process of analysis, trading, and investing in the coming year.  You won’t want to miss it. 

Todd Gordon

Todd Gordon

Founder and Lead Analyst of Trading Analysis

Todd has been trading as a career for the last 20+ years. His goal is to not only provide insightful analysis, but to teach people how to think and grow as professional traders. Todd is a practitioner of Elliott Wave Theory and he uses it to gain an edge in the highly competitive trading arena. In addition to trading professionally, Todd has worked as an analyst and researcher at two different hedge funds. Click Here To Learn More about Todd Gordon