The Boston Marathon was in the news a lot recently. The technology involved in the race was amazing to me. I knew the name of one runner so I tracked them.
It was amazing to watch the race online and track the runner I knew. One of the announcers had amazing knowledge of the elite runners. He noticed the lead
runners checking their watches. He felt that they were checking their split times to see if they were on track based on their previous runs. He indicated
these runners were very disciplined. They knew their strengths and weaknesses. They knew when they should run with the crowd and when they should break
away. One runner had run the course many times over the past year so that they would know the best possible route to take. They knew the shortest route to
take. Of course everyone ran the same route, this runner knew the shortest path to take through that route. They practiced on a course that was at the same
altitude to prepare their bodies. Their discipline is amazing.
It was interesting to watch the organization that the race took. Of course, it has been held many times. I am sure each time they sit down and figure out
how they could do it better. They likely reviewed the latest technology and used what made sense. With this race there was some old technology used. They
used motorcycles to transport the cameramen that videoed the runners. I noticed them because I ride. I could pick out the makes and models. I could even
tell which motorcycle the cameraman was on from the sound on the video. There was newer technology used to track and record the runners. There was some
really old technology used, if you can call it tech, to keep the spectators off the course. The preparation of the runners and the officials was amazing.
So what does this have to do with trading? I hope you can see it all before I even mention it. The race organizers and the runners both did their homework.
Successful options trading requires homework. You need to learn how options work. You need to research the tools available. You need to practice, practice
and practice. You need to develop your own style of trading. Know when the market is right for your style and when you need to hold back. While it is true
that options have been around since the 70’s, they have evolved a great deal since then. I’ve only been at this since 2007 and I’ve seen huge changes.
When I started trading options most option chains had $5 wide strikes. The BID/ASK spreads were a bit wider and there were fewer equities that had options.
The tools to find trades were not nearly as prevalent or diverse as they are today. Now there are lots of equities with $.50 wide strikes. Many have very
tight BID/ASK spreads. I have evolved my trading as the options chains have evolved. Much of what I do today can be related back to what I started out
doing. I do use the improved option chains to fine tune my trades to my expectations, goals and preferences. I’ve tried some of the new tools available but
have settled back on what has worked best for me. I still study though. I look for new ways to trade the equities that I’ve been trading for years. I look
for new equities that present what I consider to be easy money. I still follow my discipline and I have my core trades but I am always looking. I try not
to compare myself with other traders. I do try to improve on my personal best trade after trade. Just like the people that organize the Boston Marathon I
look back on my trades and see how I can improve my trades.
I am not one to day trade. I do not like the accuracy required to trade weeklies so I trade a bit longer term. Many of my trades last 3 months, some as
long as a year. I do not own equities, I just do option trades. I like the “forgiving” nature of the longer term trades that I use. So for me, my trading
is a lot more like a marathon than a sprint. And just like a runner I am always looking for ways to improve.
If you trade options you need to “run your own race.” With options you can trade however you like. You need to study and practice but with options your
imagination is the limit.