Monthly Archives: March 2018

A Small Hack which has GREATLY Improved Consistency

 

For years now, I have been trading with a 5-minute countdown timer.

When it counts down to zero it sets off a buzzer before resetting and starting again.

<image: A small hack which has greatly improved consistency>

This served two purposes.

(1) It brings my focus back to the markets, in the event that it's slipped away (not unusual given that I trade overnight).

(2) It reminds me to carry out a process checklist which cycles through various aspects of higher and trading timeframe analysis. The aim here is to maintain some "bigger picture" situational awareness.

But here is the problem…

The buzzer has become such a common occurrence that it tends to slip into the background of my awareness. Especially if I'm getting tired. I effectively just IGNORE it.

Damn you brain!!!

It worked great for the first few months.But for quite a long time now, it just hasn't been effective. (The buzzer, I mean. Not the brain!)

So here's a little hack. It's an idea I got from the TV show "Lost".

In "Lost" there is a countdown timer that must be reset every 108 minutes, otherwise the world ends. The important difference is that this timer must be reset BEFORE it hits zero. It's not reset AFTER reaching zero, like my little timer.

So what if I did the same thing?

What if my intent was to complete my regular "situational awareness" routine and manually reset the timer BEFORE it hits zero, or else the world ends and we all die in a fiery inferno?

Disclaimer: The world doesn't really end. It's just a game!

Sounds good so far. Apart from the dying bit.

The results have been tremendous.

Simply shifting my intent from "taking action AFTER the buzzer goes off" to "taking action BEFORE the buzzer goes off… or else everyone dies", has dramatically improved my consistency.

It's turned the process into a game. Into a bit of fun. I can maintain a higher state of focus for most of my trading session. And it REALLY annoys me when I slip up and let it hit zero.

Particularly because I changed to the standard Windows-10 Alarms & Clock app. When it hits zero it sounds an alarm and displays a pop-up notification, and DOESN'T STOP until I manually stop it. It's damn annoying.

<image: A small hack which has greatly improved consistency>

If you also struggle with consistency in applying regular routines or procedures, consider trying this little hack.

It kind of adds to the enjoyment of the day.

But more importantly… it seems to work.

Give it a try. Reset that timer. And help me keep the world safe.

Lance Beggs

 


 

Inside Bars at the End of a Price Swing

 

By far the majority of my trading decisions are based upon TTF setup areas and LTF pattern-based execution (or scalper-channel execution).

Very rarely do I enter based upon the TTF price action alone, without any real reference to the lower timeframe chart.

When I do though, it's almost always due to the presence of a narrow-range Inside Bar.

<image: Inside Bars>

The concept is simple – volatility contraction leads to volatility expansion. And yes, an inside bar is an example of volatility contraction. It's simply occurring over a very short time scale.

Look to the context of the market and decide – avoid it, take a breakout long, breakout short, or bracket it for either direction.

You can't just trade them all. If they appear in the middle of any extended sideways chop, then just stand aside.

And you've always got to watch for a fake-out, where they break one direction and then immediately turn to move out the other side.

Where I like them best is in a smooth-flowing market, at the end of a price swing. They can often provide a simple trigger to enter into the next price swing.

And more importantly – good Reward:Risk potential.

Let's look at a couple of examples…

<image: Inside Bars>

The market is flowing nicely.

YTC PAT traders – note the weakening trend via reducing projection just after 10:00 (two occurrences both with nice lower-tail rejection). Note also the strength of the price swing off the lows.

For these reasons, the Second Principle applies and I'm not interested in SHORT here. I'll wait for a complex correction.

Normally, this wouldn't imply entry LONG. However, the inside bar has tempted me. Given it's nature (volatility contraction leads to volatility expansion) any push higher will not only provide the second swing that is needed for my complex pullback, but also potentially break the prior swing high (and the trend definition as well). It could get quite a nice pop higher.

From a setup name perspective, it's pretty far from being a textbook perfect example. But it is a very shallow (single bar) pullback LONG pre-empting a change of trend. Yeah, not something we would take every day. But in a smooth flowing market, with strength off the lows and expectation for a second leg higher, with potential to break the trend change point, let's give it a go.

<image: Inside Bars>

Moving on…

<image: Inside Bars>

<image: Inside Bars>

<image: Inside Bars>

<image: Inside Bars>

As always, context is essential.

And the market "should" be flowing nicely.

Given these conditions, if you get a TTF narrow-range Inside Bar in the right area, consider whether any short-term volatility expansion might offer trade potential.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Remain Focused and Get In on the Retest

 

The aim of today's post is to highlight two lessons we discussed in previous years, which came into play in a recent price sequence.

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

<image: Two lessons from the YTC archives>

We don't profit from regret. We profit from quality decisions in the NOW.

So when you miss a price sequence that you feel you "should have" caught, you need a way to move past it quickly to ensure that it doesn't negatively affect further decision making.

I find these two lessons quite effective in helping me get over missed opportunity: 

Lesson 1: It wasn't mine to catch. If it was, I would have caught it. Let it go.

Lesson 2: Remain focused. There might just be an opportunity to get in on a retest.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

Related article: It Wasn't Mine to Take but the Next One Will Be

 


 

You’re Fired!

 

I sent the following short message out via social media just over a week ago.

<image: You're Fired!>

This was my favourite reply:

<image: You're Fired!>

Ha ha! Awesome.

All jokes aside though, I think this is just so important. I feel we need to discuss it in greater detail (and get it out to thousands of you via the newsletter, rather than just a few hundred via social media).

That is what we are aiming to achieve – consistent, high-quality implementation of processes on a day-to-day basis.

So, here is the original post again:

If you employed someone to trade your money for you, would you be happy if they prepared for today's session the same way you just did?

Let's extend that idea to all aspects of our daily operations. (Of course, adapt as required to suit your business.)

  • Would you be happy with the way they prepared themselves physically and mentally for the upcoming session?
  • Would you be happy with the way they analysed charts in preparation for the upcoming session?
  • Would you be happy with the degree of focus they applied during the trading session?
  • Would you be happy with the consistency they applied to following any workflow cycles throughout the trading session?
  • Would you be happy with their ability to follow your analysis and trade checklists or routines throughout the trading session?
  • Would you be happy with the way they documented their trade outcome and performance.
  • Would you be happy with the way they reviewed their daily performance and planned for improvements the next day?

 

NOTE that none of the above is concerned with the outcome of trades. Win or lose is irrelevant in this case. I'm concerned here ONLY with how well your employee is implementing your daily processes and routines. If they're providing quality implementation and the results continue to be poor, then that is on you (the employer). You need to provide your employee with an improved plan. For today though, our concern is only with how well they are carrying out your current plan.

You may wish to consider adding a step to your post-session routine, for you (the employer) to grade your trader in all aspects related to quality, consistent implementation.

<image: You're Fired!>

Update daily. Improve daily.

And most importantly, watch for problems which continue to appear on a regular basis. They will need priority attention.

Now, accepting that most of us are both the employer and employee, let me finish with an important point. 

Do not be overly critical of yourself. You need to be as positive and encouraging as possible. But you MUST set clear boundaries as to what IS and IS NOT an acceptable standard of behaviour and effort. And work to improve daily.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Structure within Structure

 

The following image was sent out via social media on the 14th of February.

And shared again in last week's newsletter (23rd of February).

<image: Emotion can be a great driver of the market>

In response to these postings, I received the following question via email:

  • "Wondering about today's FB post about emotion driving the market. In the chart example you have given, is there any entry for YTC traders at all?"

 

Great question!

And very applicable, not just to this example, but to ANY TIME when a news reaction completely disrupts the normal price structure.

The quick answer is yes, there are YTC trades here.

Firstly, let's note that this was a 5 minute chart, in order to fit all the data on one picture. Those trading lower timeframes will have additional structure to work with.

As I trade the 1 minute timeframe, I'm going to use that timeframe for all further charts. However, the same concept applies no matter what timeframe you use.

Here's the structure at the time of RTH open (09:30am ET).

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

<image: Structure within Structure>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

References:

(a) Sideways Trend Definition – Page 101 (and Fig 3.44) of Chapter 3 of the YTC Price Action Trader.

(b) Uptrend Definition – Page 92 (and Fig. 3.34) of Chapter 3 of the YTC Price Action Trader.