Dykstra: How I Trade - TheStreet

I get questions every day asking all sorts of things -- everything from my predictions for this year's pennant race to specifics on individual options trades to how many wins I have this season.

All of them are great, and I really appreciate hearing from my readers and fans. Today I thought I would share a couple of recent questions I received because I think you will find them both entertaining and useful.

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And if you have any questions about my newsletter,

Nails on the Numbers

, or general questions you would like to ask me, please drop me a line.

Now, on to the questions!

What do you mean when you say you have picks that have not been filled?

I make picks three times a week, and I identify the stock I want to buy, the strike price of the option and the price I am willing to pay for the option. I place a limit order to purchase at the price I set. Sometimes, there are no sellers at that price I am willing to buy. Therefore, my order goes unfilled. If it does not get filled within one week of publication of my column, I automatically recommend that you cancel your order and move on.

This doesn't happen often but it does happen. It's expected and part of the system.

And it's not necessarily a bad thing if a pick is canceled. I identify a company and a price I find attractive. In most cases. I'm not going to pay more just to get my order filled. If I can't get it at the price in my column, it may not be worth picking.

It's similar to batting. You need to have a good eye and not swing at bad pitches just to try to get a base hit. In many cases, a walk is as good as a hit. You can take that money and live to fight another day with another play.

I was just wondering if your picks are for short- or longer-term plays?, i.e., weekly trades or intraday or six months out

.

My picks generally are set with a time frame of four to seven months at most, although I have had some picks recently where I went all the way out to January 2010 to give myself a little extra flexibility if needed. Now, some of my picks turn around in a single day, and many of my good ones this season have turned around in just a day or two. It can take on average less than a month for a successful pick.

So in short this is a stock-replacement strategy and is generally considered a short-term philosophy. It is not meant for buy-and-hold investors.

I am seriously considering joining your newsletter, Nails on the Numbers, but I have a question. Can you explain how you reach your goal of $1,000 gain per position? And how often are you in contact with those folks using your service?

My methodology is the same with each of the plays. I generally place a limit order to buy 10 option contracts of the company I like on that particular day. Each contract basically gives you exposure to 100 shares of the common stock of that company. I seek to get a $100 increase in the option price, which translates into a $1,000 gain.

In answer to the second part of your question, I usually provide three exclusive picks a week via my newsletter. And on Friday I write a roundup column reviewing my past activity for the week. Readers are updated via email with a link to that day's column.

In addition, I provide my scorecard, which is under the "recent plays" tab of my site. This provides automatic updates on when to add to a position in order to better position yourself for a win.

Always remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!

At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for TheStreet.com, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."