One of the reason FI works as a product is that it adds a ton of fun to match days!
I’d never imagined having a reason to care about what’s going in the Bundesliga or Ligue 1! Yet now I know those leagues as well as the EPL and watch them just as closely.
Knowing how to handle your trading on a match day, and what is worth reacting to and what isn’t, is really important.
My perception is that the default mindset of many traders is that they want to do something. Anything! It’s tempting and we all want to feel in control it’s natural.
Good trading often involves controlling these instincts though. There are situations where reacting to a goal or a good performance is smart. But following the market and chasing the events of just one particular day will generally lead you to a bad end.
There are exceptions – some will swear by very short term trading and it is possible to make good profits here if you have an extremely high time commitment (i.e working FI as a full time job on match days). Your market understanding has to be solid too, reactions quick, and you need to be in and out within hours if not minutes.
(It is also getting a lot harder as spreads have increased dramatically recently so these quick flips are not as easy as they used to be.)
If however you fancy being a short term trader that’s ok, but to do this successfully, you’d do things quite differently to how I describe below.
What I am outlining is an approach for traders who will hold for days, weeks or months rather than hours.
Particularly in early season or periods of hype, the market can over react very easily to what is going on in the games. It applies at all times of year but when there are lots of new traders coming in or the market is rising rapidly, it’s particularly noticeable.
Most people’s head will tell them that jumping on goal scorers instantly and buying a player because they got a big performance score on one match day is a bad idea. And they’d be right almost all of the time (unless you are trading on greater fool theory where you are hoping stupid people follow you in but that’s outside the scope of this guide).
And yet. People do it all the time. The excitement (and sometimes the booze on a late kick off!) gets the better of them. And buying that player that was trending due to a goal can be a hangover to wake up to whether you were drinking or not. Buyer’s remorse is very common on FI.
Often, more informed traders who know the player is actually weak will take the opportunity to dump them leaving the mid-match buyer at a loss.
Sometimes, you can get lucky this way. The player might go on to score again or you might trip over a good player. But just because you got lucky doesn’t mean you didn’t make a bad decision. And if you get into these bad trading habits, it will lose you money over the long run.
Avoid the Panic Decisions
If you wanted to stay out of “match day” trading altogether, you can. It’s a long term platform and generally speaking, one bad game or good game makes very little difference to the overall picture.
If you feel susceptible to those rushes of blood to the head, this might actually be the best way to handle it. Do your trading on the Monday or Tuesday after a weekend of games once the stats are available and things have settled. Most of my trading will come from this much more calm and measured analysis and the vast majority of my profits come this way.
The idea is I want to be seeing who is likely to do well and buy them BEFORE that happens, not after the fact when everyone else knows about it.
Markets are about information – when everyone knows something – including who has just got a big performance score – it is unlikely to offer an advantage, why would it?
It’s only by finding out something most people do not know that you can get a real advantage.
Unless you are specifically “flipping” or fancy yourself as a day trader, you want to be very careful about chasing players who score a goal or are racking up a big score by half time particularly when you know very little about that player.
You will see it often where 89p player Klaus Hovortz has scored and is pulling a 165 score by halftime. The pumpers will be out on social media saying “wow, look at this and it’s only halftime! PB God. The next Kai Havertz!”.
Absolute nonsense in almost all cases.
To make a good decision about this you have to understand and know the player and have done your research before hand.
Otherwise, how would you know whether this big score is a freak or whether it will become consistent? You need to know a lot about a player to make that call including their on pitch position, usual goal threat, creativity, overall involvement etc etc.
If you do not know those things, you shouldn’t be buying.
A Good or Bad Decision is not Defined by the Profit Made
Good quality decisions are based on evidence, match data and an understanding of the trends in the market all grounded in an overall strategy. If you make these efforts, you will improve the number of player selections you get right, but you still won’t get all of them right. This is fine.
Because you’ll understand why you own each player you can cut potential losses on a player if the reason you bought them changed. Over time, that approach will pay off.
Bad decisions are driven by what is currently rising or falling on the market, or who scored today, or who is getting a big score by halftime without any real knowledge, research or strategy underpinning it.
Those kinds of decisions can sometimes get lucky in the same way a bad poker player going all in without knowing how strong his/her hand really is sometimes wins. But eventually, that poker player is going home broke.
In FI terms, with the market currently so generous and rising, that bad trader probably still walks away with a profit and is probably unaware they have problems. But they are denying themselves even more profits by being sloppy. And this generous environment will not last forever, so it’s best we don’t get into these habits.
Using Match Day information Smartly
Now, this is not to say that match day information should not be used, it absolutely should.
If you have built up a good understanding of a watch list of players you like, you are in a position to react to match day information if you want to from an informed basis and you can make some good quality decisions.
For example, in any pre-season I have spent more hours than I can count scouring the friendlies for clues as to who is likely to start the season with a bang (all of this shared with members in the Scouting section).
Because of this knowledge, I can watch the opening games of the season with confidence and reasonably judge when a player gets a high performance score by half time whether it is likely to be a freak or not.
And, there are plenty of players I am watching that I may buy if they score highly and perform well because I know exactly what I am looking for.
If a player gets the starting position on the pitch I hoped for, gets good quality opportunities to score, is showing the creativity I hoped to see or showing whatever trait I am looking for (dribbles, key passes, whatever it is) then that can be the last buy signal I want.
Go into a match day armed and informed and know what you are looking for.
Avoid following what other people are doing, reacting to goals or buying players you don’t really understand because they are trending.
Be aware that many people have no idea what they are doing and are just chasing scores and goals – you don’t have to follow suit and doing so generally won’t help you.
If you struggle to avoid “following trading” – just relax and look at it when the dust has settled rather than paying too much attention to what’s going on in play.
One match day, good or bad, doesn’t tell us a great deal about any player.
It’s seeing the patterns and having a good understanding of the players traits and circumstances as a whole that leads to good decisions.
The goal or big half time performance score can be the final clue we need to buy or sell, but it should absolutely not be the first.