What’s More Important Than Your Simple Trading Plan?

Your Simple Trading Plan

“Success is simple.  Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.”

— Arnold H. Glasow


Some say you need a fancy (aka complicated) system to be a consistently profitable trader.

Not so.

Your simple trading plan will do just fine.

Insert your own appropriate metaphor here, but in the meantime, I’ll give you mine.  Many moons (and pounds) ago I was a pretty good high school running back.  Not Adrian Peterson, but…  Anyway, we were approaching the end of the season… tough, conference opponent… late in a hard fought game… playoff spot on the line… you know the story.  

Anyway, we ran an exceedingly simple offense (even for back then).  My head coach was a former Army Ranger… Coach G.  Coach G believed in simple.  Simple plans… simple plays.

(You should be thinking of your simple trading plan here by the way)

And execution.  Above all else, execution.

You know where this is going.  We get the ball back down by 4 points… a little more than 2 minutes to go… and 80 yards of field in front of us.  Now here’s what’s interesting… everyone knew what was coming.  


Our team.  Their team.  The fans in the stands.  My grandparents who weren’t even attendance.  


How did everyone know you ask?  Because that was Coach G.  His theory was when things get tight, go back to the simplest level possible and let execution be the deciding factor.  For us, that was the first 4 plays we drilled in pre-season camp every year. The plays we knew best.  Veer Right and Veer Left.  The plays we could run while sleepwalking.  Sweep Right and Sweep Left.  That’s it.

Nothing fancy.

Nothing complicated.

No “trickeration.”

Just heads up football.

Here we come. Can you stop us?

Mano A Mano.

Mine is bigger…

Sorry… got carried away.

Anyway, obviously this would be a crappy story if we didn’t march down the field and score (we did).  But what’s far more interesting is how it happened.  Because we were running plays that had become part of our team DNA, we were able to run them at an elevated level.  

To perform. To focus on the risks to the plays.

Outside linebacker cheating up to stop the right sweep he knew was coming?  No problem.  Everyone saw him and made their own minor adjustments to the play… automatically.

Remember… No tricks.

Other team crowding everyone up to the line because they knew we wouldn’t pass the ball?  

No problem.  

Our bad ass center called out the number of the player he was gonna block… and the other linemen followed his lead.  Then they went and did it.

We executed.

There are plenty more examples, but they all made the same point.  The particular play never mattered (nor matters) as much as how it was (is) executed.

What was true in a high school football game so many years ago is true in trading today.

The particular instrument traded never matters as much as HOW it’s traded.

Did you trade within the context of the market structure?

Did you put a price action generated stop in place, electing it if need be?

Did you take profits appropriately as the market offered them to you.

Did you follow your simple trading plan?

Did you execute?