First the good news, we are not far from Cheltenham!
I’ve always held the opinion that the start of the year is badly timed. The new year is seen as a time for optimism and for a fresh start. Unfortunately, the new year is plonked right in the middle of winter.
If you are trying to trade sports, especially Horse Racing, that’s probably not the best time to start, or is, depending on your outlook. Let’s look at the negatives first, because I want to leave you with positives.
In the middle of winter, disruption to sports in the northern hemisphere is at its peak. As the wind, snow and rain set in things can feel tough. Trying to find a profit is often hard, but in winter trying to find something to profit from can be even harder!
There is a tendency to ‘reach’ a bit and attempt to trade markets or sports that are ‘untradeable’ just so you can post a profit or some progress. In my first winter, this was exactly what I did, it was tough and it felt like I’d bombed, but in fact, it was just part of the sports cycle.
Many winters later I realise that in fact, the ‘off-season’ on your particular sport is a time to enjoy, to get some balance back and while I’m not an advocate for not trying; it’s OK at this time of year. No matter how hard you try, you just won’t be able to get near the totals you see in peak season. So don’t try, you will probably overstretch.
Always darkest before dawn
As we head out of January we get a little boost at Cheltenham, but there isn’t a great deal to look forward to in February, but on the other side of the world group racing will return in Australia.
But with each week that passes we get closer to the smorgasbord that is Cheltenham, so I start counting down to Cheltenham. But that’s just the start, as the year starts to really pick up momentum as we head into the spring and things get start to get really busy again. In the depths of summer, it’s often difficult to find the time to do anything other than trade.
So I use this time of year, especially February, to chill a bit, do some new things have a break and enjoy being able to have dinner with my family. I know no matter how hard I work I can’t make up the gap, so I don’t bother. I tend to holiday in the Winter as I can do so with little to no impact on my annual result.
In fact, my top three weeks last year accounted for just under 20% of my annual total, so it’s better I get those right than nick a few quid from some hard work on a difficult market at a difficult time of the year.
The good thing about this time of the year is that it’s upward from here; so there are lots to look forward to. Also, it’s great to spend some time doing other things, trading isn’t as important as key points in the year.
You could be in danger of burning out if you overwork at this time of year. If you are mad, like me, you may also work the odd night. So getting some R&R can be really important. Taking the chance to catch up on a few things is also great. I’m very productive at this time of the year and new ideas flow almost daily.
The best thing this year is that we peak at the four-year grand sports cycle, what’s that? This year will be boosted by the World Cup and that means it’s going to be a very, very, very busy year. So I’m even more likely this year to chill at quieter moments, you should too.
If you learn to understand the seasonality each sport presents to you, it will help you come to terms with the quieter periods and use your time more productively. It will also allow you to focus on the busy periods and maximise the opportunities available.