Monthly Archives: December 2016

If you find yourself out of your trade, the reality is that you won’t always find a way back in!

 

Hindsight analysis is always suspect. Our normal human biases have us believing that we would have made the optimal trade decisions. After all, they always look so simple with the benefit of hindsight.

So I'm always hesitant to provide my thoughts on someone else's trade review.

But it's the Christmas / New Year week and I'm feeling too lazy to think up a new article, so sharing some email Q&A solves that problem for me.

And it provides a good lesson – if you find yourself out of a trade, for whatever reason, the reality is that you won't always find a way back in.

If you've scratched a trade to reassess and decide that there is still potential, unless you're just willing to enter at market then and there, or place a limit order at some point closer to the stop area, you might not find a way to re-enter. Pattern triggers may not eventuate.

And that's fine. Review the decision that led to the initial scratching. And move on.

I scratch trades a lot. If I doubt a trade, I'll reduce risk through either a partial or full exit, and then reassess. If I'm happy with the premise, I'll look to get back in. But sometimes… there is no good way to get back in.

In developing as a trader and discovering whether you better fit the passive set and forget trade management style, or a more active style such as I use, this is a factor that you need to consider. If you find yourself out of your trade, the reality is that you won't always find a way back in.

Anyway, here's the Q&A from a trader who recently asked me to review one of their EUR/USD trades, in which they took profits early but then were unable to get back in.

The question was sent to me in image chart form. It's displayed here in smaller format, in order to fit. If you click on the image it will open a full-size version in your browser. All following images are already full size.

INITIAL QUESTION:

You won't always find a way back in

 

REPLY:

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Stretching to the Next Level – Followup

 

Let me start by sending out a massive THANK YOU to the whole YTC community.

I believe last week's article set a new record for the amount of feedback it received.

And all positive, which is nice to see!  🙂

Check it out here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/stretching-to-the-next-level/

The aim of the article was to have you bring your goals closer.

Closer in time. And just a small stretch above and beyond your current capabilities.

This ensures that you receive quicker feedback. And most importantly, that you have a greater chance of achieving the goal.

Small wins, received often, do wonders for your mindset and self-belief.

Plus… it's just the way that progress works. So many things in life are achieved through small, incremental steps. For some reason we tend to forget that when it comes to trading.

I was most excited mid-week to see a new blog post by Dr Brett Steenbarger, which ties in nicely with our "stretch goals". Dr Steenbarger has for a long time been one of my favourite trading educators. His writing is of the highest quality. Every blog post is something I never miss.

I recommend reading the post in full here – http://traderfeed.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/how-to-trade-with-peace-of-mind.html

But the key points, as they relate to our article last week are:

  • "…the way in which we set goals greatly impacts the probability of our success and the mindset we're likely to come away with."

  •  "…the importance of keeping goal-setting flexible and doable. Flexible means revising goals at intervals: for example, setting monthly goals rather than annual ones. Doable means that both the number of goals and their difficulty be set in such a way as to set us up for success rather than frustration. Many big goals can be broken down into a sequence of smaller ones that create an ongoing sense of progress and momentum."

  • "Over time, the accumulation of small goals creates large changes. The idea is to make each day a win, regardless of the P/L of the moment. That creates peace of mind, and peace of mind frees us up to trade with open minds."

I'd like to also share with you an extra step to the "stretch goals" which I shared with a couple of traders via email last weekend.

It's the idea of having TWO TIERS of goal-setting.

Why?

To ensure an even greater likelihood of success and peace of mind.

The aim of our "stretch goals" last week was to ensure that it targets something only a slight reach beyond current capabilities. But this of course doesn't mean we'll achieve it.

Stretching to the next level

And that's fine. The reality is that we won't always achieve this new level of performance.

But we will learn. And we can review our plan for achievement of the goals. Or even amend the goals themselves, bringing them another step closer. And then we launch ourselves off on another attempt.

The problem is…

Stretching to the next level

This is where it can help to have two tiers of goal setting.

Our stretch goal is the second tier. It's the one we're really pushing for. It's the one we put all our focus and attention on achieving.

But it's also something that we completely accept we may not achieve. Or may not achieve, just yet.

But we NEVER judge our self-worth on achievement of this goal. EVER!

Because, although it's just a small stretch, it might take a lot longer than we expect.

This is where the first tier can help.

Set something that is so damn easy that you absolutely should achieve it.

Something like SURVIVAL.

However you want to define that is fine. For me it would be – "My aim this week is to ensure that my family is safely provided for and my trading business is not threatened in any way. I survive to trade another week!"

Stretching to the next level

Don't under any circumstances allow failure to achieve Tier 2 to influence your self-belief. You achieved Tier 1. That is awesome. Well done. Now, examine Tier 2 and find out why you didn't achieve it. And set in place plans for the next assault at that target.

It's all about maintenance of a positive mindset, while at the same time always pushing yourself to expand to new levels of performance and skill.

Tasks for the Christmas / New Year week:

  1. Review the prior article, if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/stretching-to-the-next-level/

  2. Review Dr Steenbarger's blog post. And subscribe to his RSS Feed, or find some other way to get all his future posts.  http://traderfeed.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/how-to-trade-with-peace-of-mind.html

  3. Consider the use of two-tier goal setting in order to maintain a positive mindset, while still stretching to reach the next level.

  4. And set your goals. Trading recommences in early January. What are your goals for the first week? Do not start trading until they're clearly defined.

Go for it!

Lance Beggs

 


 

Stretching to the Next Level

 

Do you have trading goals?

Stretching to the next level

Whatever it is, that's fine.

As long as you're making progress towards that goal.

Let's be honest though… are you actually making progress?

I hope you are!

But I speak to a lot of developing traders and the fact is that MOST are not making progress.

Here is a problem I see over and over again:

Stretching to the next level

The target is just too far away to be able to see any real progress.

And even worse, there is no solid plan for how to get there.

Stretching to the next level

Wrong!

Stop it!

Let's fix this now!

How?

Step 1: Bring your goal closer in time.

Much closer. No more than a month away. Ideally weekly.

Let's say for example that your goal is to achieve $100k per annum. But you're not yet able to ever achieve a positive week.

GOAL: $100k per annum

"That's too far away. Bring it closer."

GOAL: Ok, I will aim to achieve $8k months.

"Which is how much per week?"

GOAL: I will aim to consistently achieve a weekly average of $2k.

Step 2: Reduce the size of the goal till it's just a slight stretch beyond your current capabilities.

A goal of $2k per week is fine. But if you're not yet even achieving positive weeks, it's kind of pointless.

If your goal cannot be reached from your current location, within three or four attempts, then your goal is crap. You'll just churn away week after week getting more and more frustrated. 

Your goal should stretch you just beyond your current capabilities.

And it should be something you feel that, with improvements in process, you might have a chance of achieving in three or four attempts.

GOAL: Ok. Let's reduce the weekly target to a much more achievable $1k.

"Too much. You can't even achieve breakeven."

GOAL: Fine. My goal this week is to achieve a breakeven week.

"Good. You're close to that already. It's just a small stretch. Remember, when you achieve that, and can prove it repeatable, you will then set further goals to stretch to the next higher level. And so on and so on until eventually you're achieving your original goal."

Step 3: Focus on process improvements required to achieve this outcome.

Break the trading process down into as many smaller sub-processes as you can.

Find the one part that, if improved, will provide the greatest impact upon results.

And then set your goal to improve that part of the process.

It might not be sufficient in and of itself to reach your monetary goal. But it's a start. Once achieved, with consistency, you can then find the next area of improvement.

"Break the whole trading process down into parts for me. However it makes sense to you."

"Ok. How about (a) quality trading ideas, (b) quality entry and (c) quality trade management."

"Fine. Which area is currently contributing to your inability to achieve a breakeven week?"

"All of them. But ok, perhaps the trading ideas. Too many, when looked at with hindsight, are just in poor chart locations. Far too late in the move. In retail zones, I guess you could call it. Definitely not where the professionals are trading."

"So what process changes can you make, and what daily goals can you set, to give you greater chance of trading in good chart locations?"

"I can spend some time this weekend defining "quality trade locations" including the point at which entry is too late. I can put something in checklist form. And then I can then work this week with the following goal:"

GOAL: This week I will focus SOLELY on ensuring the vast majority of my trades are attempted in quality trade locations, in accordance with my new checklist. Quality entry and management are of little importance. I can work on them next. But first, I will aim to ensure I'm at least trying to trade in the right areas. I will consider this a success if by the end of the week, 80% of the trades are in areas that meet my definition of "right area" as best it can be determined at the right hand edge of the chart.

"Awesome."

Ok, I totally made up that conversation. You knew that right!  🙂

But the point is that it takes the goal from something outside the realm of immediate possibility, to something that is much more achievable in a short timeframe.

Progress won't be guaranteed, of course. It might take three to four attempts, with further improvements to the process each weekend.

But if progress is not seen after several attempts, break down the process goal even further to something even smaller and more achievable. Your aim is to start accumulating small wins in the direction of your original and ultimate goal.

And if our trader achieves consistency in trading in better trade areas, but still fails to achieve breakeven weeks due to poor entry or trade management, then the process goal shifts to these areas. At some point, a breakeven week will be achieved. The goal might shift then to repeating this same level of performance, just to prove it's not a fluke.

And then… maybe aiming for something greater. Maybe three out of four weeks positive, with the losing week smaller than the average winning week.

Each step just slightly beyond the current level of achievement.

I don't know what your goals are. And I don't know your current level of performance. But whatever they are, if you're just churning away week after week without any clear evidence that you're closing that gap, you need to take action.

Step 1: Bring your goal closer in time.

Step 2: Reduce the size of the goal till it's just a slight stretch beyond your current capabilities.

Step 3: Focus on process improvements required to achieve this outcome.

Stretch… just a little bit.

And fight to get to this new level.

Stop accepting failure. Redefine your goals so that you can achieve small incremental wins.

One step at a time.

Stretch!

You can do it!

Lance Beggs

 


 

“But it’s scary!” “What if it fails?”

 

I received some interesting comments about a trade in a recent article – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Here's an image from the article, showing the entry SHORT against a single wide-range bullish candle.

Single candle pullback

Review the original article if you want to see the context behind the trade.

For now though, I want to discuss some concerns that a few people expressed. Because I imagine there are a whole lot more who felt the same thing.

The feedback was quite varied in nature.

A couple of people really "got it". They understood that while the candle appears to show great bullish strength, the internal movement didn't necessarily suggest that was the case.

But many more expressed concern, either commenting on the post or via email. Some short extracts:

  • "I don't understand, how you are comfortable to take up the 2nd setup"
  • "But it's scary."
  • "What if it fails?"

 

I get it!

Here's the thing…

YES…

It is scary if all you see is the strong bullish candle.

BUT…

It's in a good contextual location. It has a good R:R. And I don't just place a limit order and let it get overrun. I'm watching and waiting to see some inability to continue further before placing the entry order.

SOME IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • These are some of the toughest trades that I do take (from a psychological perspective).
  • They're simple in concept. But they are not easy.
  • They're not for new traders.
  • If you're not comfortable with them, don't take them. Stick to the easier ones. But learn from them. Maybe take note of them when you do see them and then study them post-session. As you gain experience it might be something you one day add to your game plan.
  • Again… let me reinforce the last point. You don't have to trade these if your skill level is not ready for them. There are much easier setups available.

 

I went looking for something similar over the last fortnight, so that we could work through another example. But there hasn't really been a great example since then.

But then I thought maybe this one will help.

The context is different. But the fear is much the same.

Whenever I've posted these type of trades in the past I tend to get much the same feedback – "There is no way you can enter here!", "You're stepping in front of a freight train!", "It's too scary!", "But what if it fails?"

One other thing I like about this example is that it slows the process down, with the end of the pullback occurring over 3 candles. This might make things a little easier to see.

So anyway… here it is…

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

As we discussed here in these articles, until I see evidence of the break lower holding these levels, I'm expecting a break like this to fail.

 

It's a simple shift in mindset that makes these traps easier to enter.

Of course, it's never completely comfortable.

The move down to the level does display some bearish strength. And as readers of my ebook series will note, I'm not a fan of fading strength.

But in the case of a break of a level like this, at the end of a long move, it's the behaviour of price AFTER THE BREAK that really matters.

Will price show continued bearish strength and drop like a ton of bricks? Or will it stall and then break back higher?

As I noted earlier, I do NOT just place a limit order in a situation such as this and hope that it all works out ok.

I watch. I wait. And if I see evidence that the selling is perhaps all done, only then will I consider entry.

Let's move forward and see what happens.

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

Here's the outcome:    (clearly underperforming when you see the TTF eventually break to new highs… but still it's a good trade!)

But it's scary! What if it fails?

I mentioned earlier…

It's in a good contextual location. It has a good R:R. And I don't just place a limit order and let it get overrun. I'm watching and waiting to see some inability to continue further before placing the entry order.

This applied with the trade two weeks ago.

And it applied with today's trade.

This is what gives me confidence to enter.

And if it fails?

So what? It's one trade.

If it loses, I'll keep the loss small.

This is not a game of certainty. The market environment is uncertain. Some trades will win. Some will lose. Work to keep the average loss smaller than the average win.

But it's scary! What if it fails?

Let's wrap up…

Yes, it's hard to enter against a break. Or against a strong single candle pullback.

If you're not comfortable with this, stand aside and wait for something easier. But observe them. Make decisions as you watch them live. And take notes. Study them post-session. As you gain confidence, you might want to consider sim trading a few. And eventually trying them live (small size).

But if it's in a good contextual location. And if the R:R is acceptable. Then watch. And wait. And if price shows that it's given all it's got, and appears unable to move any further in the pullback direction, then take the trade.

Manage it.

Keep the losses tight. And if it wins, then squeeze it for all the profits you can get.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! (Part 2)

 

Last week we looked at a simple method for classifying trades based upon a post-session assessment as to (a) whether or not the trade idea did offer edge, and (b) how well we performed in managing the trade.

Let's repeat the key points from that article (or click here to review it in full).

During your post-session review you classify them into one of three categories:

  • The Good – Trade ideas which DID have edge and were well managed.
  • The Bad – Trade ideas which DID have edge but were either poorly entered or poorly managed.
  • The Ugly – Trade ideas which DID NOT have edge.

 

Our aim is to seek constant improvement in our stats. When analysing the stats associated with larger groups of trades (20 minimum), we look for the following:

  • The Good – We want more of these. Always be aiming to increase the percentage of The Good within any sample of trades. And to increase the profit they provide.
  • The Bad – We want less of these. Always be aiming to decrease the percentage of The Bad within any sample of trades. And to reduce the damage they do to P&L.
  • The Ugly – Ideally, we aim for NONE of these. That might be tough. But it's the goal.

 

It's a continual striving for improvement in skill and expertise.

And of course we drive our performance improvement through an effective review process:

The Good:

  • How can I ensure I take more of these in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this could be one of The Good? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • How could I have have performed even better? Was there any way to have increased size (assuming you scale in and out)? Was there any time or place at which I could have added to the position? Was there reason to extend the targets even further?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Bad:

  • In what way did I underperform with this trade?
  • Why did this occur?
  • How can I ensure I do less of this in future?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which impacted upon my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Ugly:

  • How can I ensure I avoid these trades in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this WAS NOT A VALID TRADE? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • Why was I not aware of this at the time?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

In last week's article we reviewed on trade which I classified as one of "The Good" (click here to see the trade review again).

Now let's go on with one of "The Bad".

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

So technically, we had a sideways trend and I should be looking only for opportunity LONG off the lower range support and SHORT off the upper range resistance.

But here's where it gets a little more difficult.

In discussing the trend definition, the YTC Price Action Trader talks about subjectively over-riding the trend definition when we sense it as being wrong.

The fact is that all trend definitions break down at and around the points of transition from one trend-type to another.

And often, you'll see (or feel) something that is not yet visible in the chart.

I was sensing the rollover of price, transitioning from the sideways trend to a downtrend, effectively forming the rounded top that we saw earlier.

So I pre-empted the change. Price is not yet showing a downtrend. But I'll be operating as if it was about to make that change.

If I'm wrong, price will let me know. But if I'm right, I can get a nice and early entry into the new trending move.

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

Let's review the definition for one of "The Bad".

  • The Bad – Trade ideas which DID have edge but were either poorly entered or poorly managed.

 

Poorly managed!!!

"Poorly managed" includes failure to re-enter.

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

Let it go. Move on. There are more trades coming and they need my full attention!

Trading is not a game of perfection.

But rather a game of managing my imperfection, within an environment of uncertainty.

So… just quickly… what about one of The Ugly trades?

These are the ones that, with the benefit of hindsight, just have no edge.

They're the ones that should never have been taken.

Like this…

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Bad and The Ugly… they happen.

It's a part of trading.

But while we accept that, we should always be striving for improvement in skill and expertise.

  • The Good – We want more of these. Always be aiming to increase the percentage of The Good within any sample of trades. And to increase the profit they provide.
  • The Bad – We want less of these. Always be aiming to decrease the percentage of The Bad within any sample of trades. And to reduce the damage they do to P&L.
  • The Ugly – Ideally, we aim for NONE of these. That might be tough. But it's the goal.

 

Best of luck, 

Lance Beggs