This year has been our first foray as parents into the world of competitive sports. We are not even that super into it - we’re not traveling or doing clinics. Just the regular world of some smaller competitions and a lower tier competitive team. Because my kids are still young in this, we get to see some really fast progressions, which has given me a lot to think about.

The biggest thing I’m noticing over the course of the season and throughout today’s competition in particular can be boiled down to this. Are you doing the things now as a get by, or are you doing things now that will set you up for the future?

I’ll start with the basketball analogies. In this age group, defense is much easier than offense. This is because the kids are still developing their ball handling and passing skills, but being fast and stealing is more developed. The problem as you can imagine, is that as the kids go through the year in practice, you can see some players and teams are really working the skills end - going through the motions of offensive setups and what we call honest defense - proper positioning, staying on the inside of your player etc, while some of the girls and teams are still refusing to learn the new skills and adapt to what the game will look like in the future. Relying on what has worked until now because it’s what they know, even as it starts to not work anymore. The reason it stops working is because the game is changing quickly. Development happens fast at this age, and if you fail to learn the tools and habits that will be necessary to go on to the next year, you will quickly get left behind in the sport when your tactics become moot.

Today’s ju jitsu competition identified the same. The child who won had a typical pattern. He would go for a quick takedown, and then essentially sit on the player for the rest of the time. He won all his matches, was extremely aggressive, and I certainly have no ill will. But it became obvious that he was relying on this quick speed and aggressive first move heavily, and not backing it up by a ton of skill once on the mat. This will serve him well for a while in the smaller competitions - but as he progresses in the sport, he will need to develop skills to manage himself if his opponent instead uses his quick speed against him in the initial drop. (P.S my kid did very well, and he is very pleased with his performance, as he should be.)

Trading is no different. What works for a time, especially in a bull market, or hype market, or buy the dip market will not work in a sideways and drifting market. It will not work the same as a bear market. The make or break it moment for traders often comes when they are forced to deal with situations that no longer suit their abilities. Do you have the risk management to deal with a parabola that breaks? Can you adapt from volatility two way plays to grinding moves? It is usually in the times of “getting away with things” that we develop the worst habits, and usually shortly after that we also suffer the biggest losses.

Can you build the habits, even in the hype phase, to meet the demands of the future market, so that when it comes, you are prepared for it? As you constantly interact with new markets, algorithmic trading and new boom/bust cycles, this will be a constant and flowing movement.