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Ep. 428: Disruptive Innovator with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Never Punt!

Never Punt!

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Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel speaks to the timelessness of being a contrarian. He starts off sharing a recent email received. The email suggested Michael tone down the trend following talk and work with people to help find their calling in life. This email dovetails into an excerpt Michael plays of high school football coach, Kevin Kelley.

Coach Kelley is a contrarian thinking football coach. He is known for never punting and onside kicks after every touchdown. Coach Kelley ran the numbers and figured out the probability of winning with punting as opposed to going for it. He has had tremendous success from doing things differently and creating his own answers on the field.

Next Michael reads an article from Andy Staples, “The power of not punting: Why a college coach should adopt Kevin Kelley’s unconventional philosophy.” Andy Staples, a writer for Sports Illustrated, was curious about Coach Kelly and his unconventional coaching, so he visited one of Coach Kelley’s games. During that game, Coach Kelley had to give in and punt on one of his fourth downs. Andy asked, “How hard was it for you to do that?” Coach Kelley replied, “I didn’t really hate it at all. It is what it is if the situation dictates it is something that we have to do. It’s all about winning. It’s never been about anything else.” Coach Kelley’s players don’t win because they never punt and always onside kick, they win because the offense plays as if they are always going to lose. He turns the psychological tables on his opponents, and bases everything off of mathematical statistics. The math indicates that punting is actually the riskier choice.

Michael stresses that no matter how much fundamental information you think you may have, you are lying to yourself. The only thing that you can rely on in the markets is the price data. The only way to get ahead is to be a contrarian. Michael ends paraphrasing Ed Seykota, “Everyone gets what they want, win or lose. If you lose a lot you got exactly what you wanted, to lose.”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Math in football
  • Thinking like a contrarian
  • Risk management
  • Fundamentals

“I am the type of guy that believes humans make mistakes when they make decisions off of emotion.” – Kevin Kelley

“Doing something different just to be different, that can’t sustain itself. It has to contribute to winning or it falls by the wayside.” – Kevin Kelley

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