Size Isn’t Everything

I can’t help it. I keep seeing similarities between riding a motor bike and trading. They are everywhere.

As young blokes and fans of MotoGP, we are brought up to think scraping your knee around corners is not only awesome, but the best way to ride.

As first it’s not an easy thing to do. Most riders are confronted with that fear of the unknown and the fear that that are leaning the bike over too far. There are a whole bunch of negative thoughts that run through your head at the time.

As you become more experienced and perhaps take a few lessons, the process becomes easier. The faster you ride the more you are scraping your knee around corners.
As for the awesomeness, the plastic ‘knee scrapers’ that most leathers have make a…err…plastic scraping sound that for some reason is pretty cool. Plus it just feels good (dangerous) to be touching the ground at high speed.

Scraping your knee makes you feel good. You feel like you are going fast and riding just like Rossi.

During my racing, I had a couple of different coaches and completed any riding course that was going. One thing I picked up was planting your knee on the ground was not necessarily the best way of doing things. By ‘best’, I mean ‘fastest’. Fast cornering has a lot to do with body position. It’s a technique you don’t fall into by accident. It’s something that is taught.

Getting the technique right means you can corner faster and not rely on the knee on the ground to tell you if you were doing it right. Getting the technique right means you can go fast with less lean angle and more traction. This of course means then adding more lean angle can get you going even faster. Does that make sense?

The knee scraping thing, because of its general awesomeness, pumps up your ego. Remove the ego, work on technique, become a better rider. With better technique, you can go faster with less effort.

On some practice days at the track, I would set myself the challenge of riding without touching my knee down – meanwhile passing guys that seemed focused on it. Sure that fuelled my ego, but it forced me to work on technique rather than looking cool.

Referring back to the heading of this article, can you see the futures trading metaphor here?

Young traders all talk about sizing up: “Guy, I need more size”, “Guy, I would have nailed that move if I had more size”. Yawn…

Upside potential ignored, more size means more risk. It’s an undisputable and absolute fact.

Riding with the single goal of scraping your knee is driven by ego. Trading with the single goal of building size is driven by ego.

Proper trading technique involves a bunch of things including:

  • An understanding of risk:reward of the trade.
  • Good entry and exit timing.
  • A key understanding of what the markets around you are doing.

We could argue the list is longer than this, but it is a good starting point. Nowhere on this list (or an extended one) should be “More size will make you a better trader”.
Sure there is a point where sizing up is important, but it should not be seen as the path to growth if your technique is not correct. Young traders should set themselves a challenge to make more from less. That is, get the technique right before sizing up.