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Deliberate Practice
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Deliberate Practice

  #11 (permalink)
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What bubble does this study burst?

For trading, these:


bijeremiad View Post
This one hit home for me. Spelling bee participants practice for their contests in a couple ways. The study breaks it into three: 1) deliberate practice, 2) being quizzed, 3) leisurely activities (like reading lots). Study found strong link between those that practiced in solitary, feed-back driven etended to do better in the bees.


bijeremiad View Post
This is one of the "grand-daddy" papers on the topic. Morse code, violin, piano, chess, athletics. Too many ideas for me to summarize easily. But worth the read.


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  #12 (permalink)
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For trading, these:

Still not sure what that study is trying to say. That practice doesn't really matter that much?

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  #13 (permalink)
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Still not sure what that study is trying to say. That practice doesn't really matter that much?

My understanding of it is the following:
  • Several experts have argued that deliberate practice is essential for achieving expert performance.
  • Macnamara et al. (2014) collected 88 studies (with 11,135 participants) about the effect of deliberate practice to examine how important deliberate practice really is.
  • In each of those 88 studies, an estimate was made for how much hours participants were spending on deliberate practice through either conducting an interview, questionnaire, or letting the participant keep a log.
  • Performance was measured with an objective measure, a laboratory task, group membership, or expert rating.
  • When Macnamara et al. (2014) combined the results of all those studies, they found that how many hours a participant spend on deliberate practice explained:
    26% of his/her performance in games,
    21% in music performance,
    18% with sports performance,
    4% in educational performance,
    and less than 1% for professions.
  • Another important point is that, when the time log of participants was used, the impact of deliberate practice on performance was even less than these percentages. So perhaps people have a tendency to miss-estimate how much time they spend doing deliberate practice.
  • Additional analyses from the researchers shows that deliberate practice had a larger impact on performance for activities that were highly predictable. But for activities that were much less predictable, deliberate practice matter much less.
  • We can also see that above: playing music is highly predictable and deliberate practice has a greater weight there (21% of differences in performance explained). But job performance, which has much more variables than playing music, is practically unaffected by deliberate practice (less than 1% of performance explained by deliberate practice).
  • But even in highly predictable and structured activities, like playing a game or making music, only 26% to 21% of the difference in performance was explained by the amount of deliberate practice. This suggest that around 75% of people's performance in predictable activities is due to other factors.
  • The authors suggest that these other factors could be general intelligence or working memory capacity.
  • Because much of the performance of people was attributable to factors other than deliberate practice, the authors conclude that deliberate practice is not that important.
  • But why does deliberate practice seem important? It might be because it is an indication of ability: people stop doing what they don't do well and feel rewarded for. So successful people have spend a lot of time in deliberate practice, but that's because they are good at it or have some ability. It doesn't necessarily mean that they achieved expert performance through deliberate practice.
  • Because trading is a unpredictable activity, probably comparable with professions and not with music or games, it's likely that deliberate practice is not that important for trading.
  • Of course, practice is important especially when someone is a newbie (practice can, after all, give confidence and that is quite important in trading). But the data from Macnamara et al. (2014) suggest that we should not consider deliberate practice essential for expert performance or give it a large amount of weight.
  • In other words, it looks like deliberate practice is not a holy grail for achieving expert performance, especially for unpredictable activities like trading.

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  #14 (permalink)
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Still not sure what that study is trying to say. That practice doesn't really matter that much?

To (try to) explain it further, one of the things the study says is what you experienced yourself:


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As a long time competitive golfer I understand how deliberate practice can be applied towards improvement. I know that there are specific things I can work on to improve my ball striking, putting, chipping, etc. These things tend to be fundamental and time tested. You either do it right or not right, and the results show.

I have never figured out a specific way to practice trading though. There are a thousand and one different ways to trade, and the markets are ever changing. What worked today may not work tomorrow.

Because golf is much more predictable than trading, golf is much better suited for deliberate practice. And, as you already mentioned, deliberate practice in trading might not have a big impact because the markets are (to a certain extend) unpredictable and ever changing.

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Jura View Post
To (try to) explain it further, one of the things the study says is what you experienced yourself:



Because golf is much more predictable than trading, golf is much better suited for deliberate practice. And, as you already mentioned, deliberate practice in trading might not have a big impact because the markets are (to a certain extend) unpredictable and ever changing.


Thank you for taking the time to clarify.

There is a saying: “studies either confirm what common sense already suggests, or they are wrong”.

I do not disagree with much of this study, except their conclusion. It may certainly be true that deliberate practice contributes only 20 or so percent to performance but it is a very important 20% indeed. History is littered with those who were born with the 80% and wasted it away because they didn’t apply the 20%. The successful were also born with the 80% and they did the hard 20%. For them to conclude that for high level musicians or athletes “deliberate practice is not that important” is silly. I would like to hear what Jerry Rice or Tiger Woods or Roger Federer think about that notion.

It is no surprise that deliberate practice has a greater influence on activities with objective performance measures (they use the word “predictable” for some reason). In these activities competency or lack thereof is clear. There is a scorecard. With other “professions” the definition of success is foggier. In most professions many factors contribute to success beyond competency. Among them luck, personality and the ability to BS. In many professions, a person can have an entire successful career without really having to apply the intensity of training or focus that a high level athlete or musician does (or trader?). Woody Allen’s suggestion that “90% of success is just showing up” is spot on.

As regards to trading, I do believe trading is more like sports than other unpredictable professions. While the market itself may be unpredictable, performance results are cruelly objective. There is no BS in trading. You either make money or you don’t. We know that some traders are successful. We know that they have a technique and mindset that contributes to their success. Is it so unreasonable then to conclude that these things can be practiced? Brett Steenbarger (“Enhancing Trader Performance”) doesn’t think it is so unreasonable.

It would be interesting to hear if or how others practice their trading.

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I have a background in Music, and for the past couple of years I have been working on my understanding of the markets. I wanted a way to practice trading that was enjoyable and didn't seem like I was just looking at pretty pictures on the screen.

Here is what I have come up with:

* Define a simple objective Trend following system with a mechanical stop and mechanical take profit.

* Spend time in the (Sim) market only taking these signals to practice discipline. While doing this take notes on the strengths and weaknesses of the mechanical system. This continues until you've proven to yourself that you can follow a system with discipline over a decent length of time (accuracy and time length decided beforehand).

* Now the system becomes your opponent and you use your observations of the systems weaknesses to improve your comparative performance. I try to focus on only one change at a time and give priority to those improvements which I think will give the greatest performance increase for the least effort.

* If you have found an improvement to the system and it can be traded mechanically then add it to the original strategy and this now becomes your opponent.

An example would be a Moving average crossover system. These weakness of this system would be its performance in ranging markets. The weakness of the mechanical stop and target is not taking into account the context of the market.

If anyone else has any ideas I would enjoy hearing them.

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System Trading, to me should be like golf or music. You are responding to a certain set of circumstances in a predefined way. We system trade because the great breakthroughs in fuzzy logic computing are in the future and as we have read on this forum very few can use Charles Boole's logic to trade successfully, so we are stuck using our own brain.

But the success part is being able to recognize those patterns without thinking. Van Tharp has written that really great system traders are able to follow their own rules maybe 70% of the time. This is based on their own trading logs. This knowledge, and I am guessing his own personal interest, have sent him in pursuit of oneness to practice train the brain for trading in the zone.

Adam H Grimes who is mentioned on these boards from time to time is right there with Van Tharp. He teaches focusing on a few simple patterns that give an edge and also has a large component on meditation in his class.

The exceptionally fowl mouthed Tom Dante asks in his endearing way if people ever review the prior day to see what they are doing, especially with his Trading Devil score card so you can tally by number and type your mental mistakes.

Now clearly none of this performance practice would be needed for the enlightened ones who simply trade price action with no rules off of bare charts. On the other hand how many years of practice reading the charts did it take them to reach trading enlightenment. If training to be able to read price action isn't right there with music then I guess I just don't get it.

Just my 2cents.

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There are plenty of platforms that you can practice on. But my trading is to automate and back test

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  #19 (permalink)
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Jura View Post
My understanding of it is the following:
  • Several experts have argued that deliberate practice is essential for achieving expert performance.
  • Macnamara et al. (2014) collected 88 studies (with 11,135 participants) about the effect of deliberate practice to examine how important deliberate practice really is.
  • In each of those 88 studies, an estimate was made for how much hours participants were spending on deliberate practice through either conducting an interview, questionnaire, or letting the participant keep a log.
  • Performance was measured with an objective measure, a laboratory task, group membership, or expert rating.
  • When Macnamara et al. (2014) combined the results of all those studies, they found that how many hours a participant spend on deliberate practice explained:
    26% of his/her performance in games,
    21% in music performance,
    18% with sports performance,
    4% in educational performance,
    and less than 1% for professions.
  • Another important point is that, when the time log of participants was used, the impact of deliberate practice on performance was even less than these percentages. So perhaps people have a tendency to miss-estimate how much time they spend doing deliberate practice.
  • Additional analyses from the researchers shows that deliberate practice had a larger impact on performance for activities that were highly predictable. But for activities that were much less predictable, deliberate practice matter much less.
  • We can also see that above: playing music is highly predictable and deliberate practice has a greater weight there (21% of differences in performance explained). But job performance, which has much more variables than playing music, is practically unaffected by deliberate practice (less than 1% of performance explained by deliberate practice).
  • But even in highly predictable and structured activities, like playing a game or making music, only 26% to 21% of the difference in performance was explained by the amount of deliberate practice. This suggest that around 75% of people's performance in predictable activities is due to other factors.
  • The authors suggest that these other factors could be general intelligence or working memory capacity.
  • Because much of the performance of people was attributable to factors other than deliberate practice, the authors conclude that deliberate practice is not that important.
  • But why does deliberate practice seem important? It might be because it is an indication of ability: people stop doing what they don't do well and feel rewarded for. So successful people have spend a lot of time in deliberate practice, but that's because they are good at it or have some ability. It doesn't necessarily mean that they achieved expert performance through deliberate practice.
  • Because trading is a unpredictable activity, probably comparable with professions and not with music or games, it's likely that deliberate practice is not that important for trading.
  • Of course, practice is important especially when someone is a newbie (practice can, after all, give confidence and that is quite important in trading). But the data from Macnamara et al. (2014) suggest that we should not consider deliberate practice essential for expert performance or give it a large amount of weight.
  • In other words, it looks like deliberate practice is not a holy grail for achieving expert performance, especially for unpredictable activities like trading.

You blend points of the study and you cite your own beliefs as fact.
"Trading is unpredictable activity" - the market will move 3 ways. How is that not predicatable?

I suspect you are espousing your beliefs into this.

Trading is still pattern based. Is music not pattern based?

^Only 21 to 26% due to deliberate practice?
Could that not be based on how subjective the standards for deliberate practice are? It's relative. You seem like you've never played sports, been coached in sports, much less competed at a high level.

In those 88 studies, with 11000 participants, who and what were they of?
They sure don't sound like world class performers.
Even if they were could not their performances be improved and economized by practice?

Whether these persons or not did deliberate practice or not, would one not benefit from isolating various aspects of anything including trading? As simple as seeing the same progression and set up in 50 different charts? Prior to each session than the trader who goes off rote memory.

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Find something you like...
Screenshot it, find it again, repeat. Review it. You could also video screenshot the same set up, play it at high speed, find in multiple times, put on random play. Work the observation and process through in your head. Add a few that got stopped out. Etc. Etc

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