Dykstra: Refining Your Stock-Picking - TheStreet

Dykstra: Refining Your Stock-Picking

While I may not be lacing up the cleats anymore, I still make it a point to self-evaluate. It's the best way to keep improving.
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Smart players don't take anything for granted. They never put it on autopilot and just punch a time clock. Winners want to keep winning and trying to improve all the time.

In my playing days, I would constantly analyze my mechanics. I wanted to make sure I was doing things the way I was supposed to and that I hadn't fallen into any bad habits. I would check to make sure I was shifting my weight correctly during my swing or getting the right jump off of first base when trying to swipe second. I wanted to make sure I was playing smart and paying attention to the count at all times.

The goal was easy: I wanted to be aware of any flaws in my approach so that I could tighten up parts of my game that may have gotten off track. Cuts and base-stealing I could correct if my physical mechanics were off. Keeping my head in the game was just a matter of focus. I prided myself on the fact that I always knew the situation.

After all, I was playing for real money -- money I would use to support my family. When it comes to money, there is no kidding around. I take money very, very seriously. So while I love the game of baseball, I also knew where my bread was buttered and I wanted to be the best I could be. I also wanted to be a good earner for my family.

So while I may not be lacing up the cleats anymore, I still make a point to self-evaluate. It's the best way to keep improving. When evaluating my deep-in-the-money options calls picks, I look at a number of things. I want to see if I am picking the stocks at the right time. I look to see if I reset my next buy levels correctly or if there is room for improvement. And I look to see how things are stacking up in the win/loss column because, in the end, isn't that all that really matters when dealing with investments?

So far this season, which began in late March, I have done well. The gains have been free-flowing. I currently have nine open positions, many of which have hit several re-buys, meaning I have continued to add to the positions as the prices have fallen. They include

Amdocs

(DOX) - Get Report

,

Archer Daniels Midland

(ADM) - Get Report

, and

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

.

However, the number of open positions is dwarfed by my gains. Simply put, for every seven picks I have made this season, six of those are already in the win column. These include

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

,

Parker Hannifin

(PH) - Get Report

,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

, and

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

.

Now if that were my win/loss ratio, that would be pretty good for most of the stock pickers out there. But it's not good enough for me and it's not my ratio. The fact is that while I may have some open positions that are in negative territory right now, I have zero losses on the books this year. That's right, ZERO losses. And, while the jury is ultimately out on the open positions, I still feel good about them and expect them to come around my way.

I have made 87 picks so far this year. Only 18 of those -- such as

Garmin

(GRMN) - Get Report

,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

,

Manitowoc

(MTW) - Get Report

, and

Manulife

(MFC) - Get Report

, haven't been filled. If you want to know how well I'm doing, you do the math.

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."