Trading Lessons from the Archery Range pt. 1

Yesterday was my first day back at the range in a week.  I had some problems with my shoulder so was resting it, but yesterday it felt better.  Even though I’ve been shooting for over a year now and won two competitions, there is still a lot of work to do.

I was shooting decently consistent to start off yesterday…scoring a 10 (perfect), a 9 (in the gold center) and an 8 (red – one level off from the gold center) for every 3 shots (round) from 18m which = 60ft.

My pulling shoulder which used to be out of alignment (too high) was now at the proper level, but my back elbow was not totally inline with my front gripping hand.  I started to make some adjustments but still the same result…10, 9, 8.   I began to wonder what am I doing that is off?

Just then the instructor Diego pulls me aside and tells me next round we’ll go back to 3m target as he wants me to work on something.  At first, it was discouraging to my ego being moved to the smaller target. But, I’m committed to learning the art of archery so instead of worrying about looking good shooting at the 18m, I was happy to go back and practice some basics.

Although most of my technique was correct, I was missing two things;
1) After my shot, I forgot the rhythm to close my eyes for 3 seconds while holding the bow
2) I had put too much of my energy on the target and not the process

The first one was relatively easy to change as it require a physical adjustment.  However, the second one needed an internal adjustment, one that was more subtle and had no outer reference for me to gauge.

After three rounds, I was keeping my eyes closed and back in the rhythm, but far more importantly, my energy was focused where it needed to be – on the process and not the target.

I went back to 18m and started shooting.  The whole time I was using my energy on the process and forgot about the target. After 3 arrows, I shot a 10, 9, 9.  Even though the result was a slight improvement, there was something else going on.  My awareness was where it needed to be.  I was totally focused on the process and not the result, and thus doing all the things I needed to make a good shot.

How Does This Relate to Trading?
In trading more so than archery, there is a temptation which can distract you from the process.  It is called money.  Most people learning to trade do not have all the money they need so the temptation to be distracted is enormous.  You look at your charts and see the EURUSD moving 150pips in the last few hours or the GBPUSD moving 400pips in the last two days, or all the flashing lights and what do you think?

Wow, I could have traded that and made $$$‘.  Or you think, ‘Whoa, that pair is moving, I should get in that‘.  Or, ‘Wow, if I had put 10 instead of 5 lots, I would have made double the money‘.

Sound familiar?   If it does, your not alone and most traders go through this process.  But herein lies the trick, which is the same in Archery.

It is easy to be more focused on the target and not the process (following your trade plan & rules, using proper risk management and being disciplined).  It is more convenient to not follow your trading plan and make some quick pips then to follow it completely no matter what is going on in the markets.

Everyday I have tons of traders like yourself that come to me saying ‘I want to do this for a living‘ but when it comes down to it, many do not follow the system, or the risk management rules, or the trading plan.   It is because they are so focused on the target and forget about the process.

Trading for a Bank
Speaking of trading for a living, do you know what it takes to trade for a bank?

4,000 trades.  Yep, that is right – 4,000.  Why?  Because banks want to make sure their traders are trading their system as is, and the best way to do it is drill it over and over again.  They have a lot of money on the line and they want to make sure before trading their money, you know what your doing to the point it is habit.  This can only be done if you are focused on the process in the beginning.

Your Training as a Trader is not finding the best system out there, but in learning how to master the process.  How do you do that? By being fully focused on what you are doing every time you make a trade.  By doing this, your thinking or emotions never get a chance to interfere with your trading and decision making.

Have you ever had a great trade setup but didn’t take it out of fear (emotion)?  Or have you ever got in a really good trending move, only to exit early before your system because you ‘thought’ it was going to turn around?  Has this ever happened to you?  If so, it is a direct communication where your focus is (on the target, not on the process).  

As in Archery, so in Trading
When you are trading, ask yourself where is your focus?  On the target and money to be made?  Or on the process (using correct risk management, following your system, executing the technique).  Keep your focus on the process until it is drilled inside your head so deeply, there is nothing left but the discipline and you executing according to plan.  Skill is a drill and all highly successful traders have drilled their skills through the hammer of the training process.

Lastly, if something is not going right with your trading, do not feel it is a setback to go trade smaller lot sizes or go back to demo.  I often have to go back to the 3m distance to work on various aspects of my technique.  Once they are back in sync, I go back to the 18m. You can do the same with trading by going back to demo for a month or so, and once the results improve, go back to live trading.  Quit thinking about the money you have to make right now and focus on the process.  When you do, you will find you are hitting the target with more consistency then ever.

If you liked this article, then please make sure to ‘tweet’ and ‘like’ them via the buttons below.  Your comments are also welcome so please make sure to share.

For a really good article on Discipline and the mental aspects of trading, check out this great article on Trading Lessons from Jesse Livermore – the World’s Greatest Trader.

And for those looking to take their trading to the next level and work with me as your mentor, make sure to check out our Online Courses where you will learn the same systems I use daily along with having a chance to communicate directly with me to help you build your own trading plan.

Buddhist, Trader and Philanthropist

I'm Chris Capre, Founder of 2ndSkiesForex. I help traders of all levels change the way they think, trade and perform. As a professional trader, I specialize in trading price action. As a teacher, my passion lies in showing you how to re-wire your brain for successful trading. Want to improve your edge right now? Visit my Price Action Course page.

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  • Gabriel

    A good read just ahead of the market open on Sunday evening. Looking forward to part two!

    • Hola Gabriel,

      Am glad you liked it. When i’m not traveling, I’ll be writing weekly articles right before market open so stay tuned!

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Andreas

    Hey Chris, great article! I’ve been following your articles/videos and tweets for a while now and I’ve gotta hand it to you, your trading methods are great. Everything you say about discipline and focusing on the process rather than money is great advice and a huge confidence booster.

    • Hello Andreas,

      Tis good to hear you are enjoying the articles and they are helping with confidence as that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to break down the process and make it seem more real and not some far off goal. Anyone can get there with the right training, discipline and mindset so keep at it.

      Thanks for commenting

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Michael

    Great article as always Chris! Just read this before reading your article…
    “It takes the least amount of effort to stay in focus. Lamenting takes more energy than you can possibly realize.”
    Synchronicity perhaps.
    l think your observations are as true for life as they are for trading!
    Many thanks.
    Michael.

    • Hello Michael,

      Yes, lamenting or not thinking about what you are doing in the moment saps all your energy relating to a past that you cannot change instead of keeping your creative resources in the present which is where they are most needed. The past doesn’t need your attention – only now!

      In the beginning, being focused on the present takes energy and practice because it is something we are not conditioned to do. But after a while, it becomes second nature or shall I say, ‘first nature’ because that is one’s natural state.

      I also tend to think that when one finds deep wisdom in their life, it can reflect well in their trading and for me, every time I step in the archery range, I’m constantly learning something not just about archery, but about trading as well.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • Chima

    What a good lesson! Your articles are always food for thought. Applying real life situations to
    acheiving success or consistency in trading.

    Thanks for all these wonderful articles!

    • Hello Chima,

      Yes, I’ve found an immense amount of wisdom from learning to do the art of archery and how it applies to trading as the process is almost identical. I highly recommend it as an additional exercise if you can take it up.

      Thanks for the comments on the articles and am glad you are finding them useful.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris

  • phil

    Hi Chris,

    you found good words for this essential lesson in trading! Your courses make it easy to stay focused on the process as you teach clear and precise rules when to get in and when to get out and to keep emotions aside. Thanks for that!

    • Hello Philip,

      Thanks Philip – yes, having rule-based systems for precise entries and exits helps to take the discretionary decision making part out of it for developing traders which is key. It also helps to reduce the emotions which can affect ones decision making so always important to have clear rules for trading systems.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris Capre

  • krish

    Hey chris

    Truly enjoyed reading the article. The mental aspect is truly what matters a huge deal, I only found about the mental challenges after having a live account. Your articles really help me boost my confidence.

    BTW looking forward to your webinar in the morning :)

    • Yes Krish,

      Most of our mental hot buttons do not come into play on the demo and only on the live account because our brain knows on the demo there is no risk involved and hence we relate to it differently.

      Am glad the articles are helping to build confidence as it is a real thing you can be a successful trader.

      See you on the webinar soon!

      Kind Regards,
      Chris

  • Desiree

    Thank you Chris. Having recently taken up archery this article has come at the right time. It’s the process. My instructor keeps on emphasizing this. This article will help a lot.

    Kind regards

    Desiree

  • Santosh Kanekar

    Right on Time. Just today morning my mind was distracted and I was “planning” for November in terms of the money I’ll make. Your article made me realize I was speculating and the “plan” would have blown away my risk management system. Even though I dont trade Forex, I read your stuff avidly and follow your webinars. Thanks once again.

    • Hello Santosh< Very insightful and self-reflective awareness. It is easy to spend money we haven’t made, but use this as excitement for what we are going to do. The problem is, one’s concentration is on the target, not on the process – and that is where our attention needs to be. So glad this article helped and that you continue to follow them. Kind Regards, Chris

  • Alastair

    Hi Chris,

    I can relate the same to golf as a substitute for archery. Only this weekend I was at the driving range after a few months’ break and was not hitting as consistently as I would have liked. I was too eagerly looking up to the target to see where the ball would go and not remembering the basic drill, including keeping your head down even a second or so after impact. I sat down, had a snack and thought about this, went back to my clubs and the shots were amazing, if I do say so myself. Process, process, process is what its about. Awesome article Chris and one we should all pay heed to!

    • Hello Alastair,

      Golf is another great example, and I love playing it. Just not that good at it 😮

      But being a precision sport which requires immense concentration, it is very much like trading and highly valuable as well – so good recommendation.

      Kind Regards,
      Chris