This past weekend I drove out to Sedona, AZ, to attend Charles Cottle's Elite Trader's Retreat. I honestly was not sure what to expect from the experience, but felt that any time I spent talking options with Charles Cottle or listening to him talk about options would inevitably be a positive growth experience.
The retreat was attended by a small group of experienced traders. We met for the first time for dinner on Saturday evening at a very nice restaurant where we enjoyed extremely good food and spent about four hours getting to know one another. At dinner Charles asked each of us to share what one area where we would like to develop a better understanding before the weekend was over. He promised to think about each of our requests and find a way to incorporate them into the next two days.
Sunday was a "classroom" day. There were no lectures, however. After greeting us, Charles explained that we would each be asked to share a trade that we intended to open the coming week. We would then spend the remainder of the day talking about those trades, the analysis behind them, the plan for managing them, and how they might be improved.
We looked at an April SPX iron condor that I intended to open. We looked at trades on Google, Starbucks, GLD, and more. The entire process seemed very familiar to me. Sundays at my house are typically spent the same way - at least a few hours anyway. I routinely do my research and then later in the day I am joined by members of my Trading Room for a live Sunday "Trade Along" session.
At the end of the day we concluded our session and Charles treated all of us to a showing of "Inside Job" at the Sedona Film Festival. The film apparently won an Academy Award while we were in the theater! Talking options all day was fun, and this was a nice way to finish the day.
On Monday morning we gathered again for some live market trading. This was an opportunity for us to apply in a live market setting what we had planned the prior day. Charles was there with us, watching and looking over our shoulder. A few times we all huddled around another trader's computer to watch some market anomaly or talk about various position management decisions.
I learned a few things this last weekend. The first thing I learned was that the trading methods I have developed over the past several years are sound. The second thing I learned was that there was still more I could learn about options and about trading...a lot more. Charles Cottle is one of the most knowledgeable people I have come in contact with in the trading world. His reputation is rightly deserved.
Over the years I have received e-mails from members of our community commenting that Charles' materials are difficult to understand. It's true. His materials are advanced. Yet, they are so very worth the time and effort. If you are not already familiar with Charles Cottle's materials I think the place to get started is with his book "Options Trading: The Hidden Reality." If you take the time to make your way through this text your eyes will open to a world that you did not previously recognize, even though you were actively involved in it as an options trader.
One of the seminar attendees was a ten-year veteran floor trader and an active full-time trader, but admitted that even after all of the training and experience he had amassed that he was missing some key insights that were not revealed to him until he read Charles' book. If a seasoned professional can learn something from Charles, my guess is that you can too.
P.S. - I highly recommend picking up a copy of Charles Cottle's "Options Trading: The Hidden Reality" as it has been adapted from his earlier works to serve the needs of retail options traders. If at first it overwhelms you recognize that through the book Charles is working to expand your options consciousness. You are learning to think about options in new ways. It just takes a little work to get there.