Monthly Archives: July 2018

Slow, Steady, Incremental Progress

 

Excerpt from an email from J.L.

  • Finally, do you have any articles that could be helpful going from sim to live?

 

Let's write one now…

Do NOT rush.

The markets will always be there, ready and waiting for when YOU are ready.

The journey takes as long as it takes. And the psychological challenge is different at each level of risk.

So aim for slow, steady, incremental progress.

Let's break the journey into stages, noting that this is for discretionary traders. Systems traders will use a different process.

 

Stage 1 – Historical Chart Study

Stage 1 involves study of past data in order to achieve the following two aims:

  • Understanding the strategy – HOW to trade it and WHY it should work.
  • Confirming potential for edge through study of historical chart sequences.

 

This stage takes as long as you need it to take, until the point at which you you understand the strategy and believe it has potential for edge.

The key word above is "potential". Any edge you perceive through historical study is only a potential edge. It needs to be proven at the hard right-hand side of the screen, with real-time data. This will be done in the following stages. For now – just confirm that all evidence appears to show edge.

The more thorough your work at this stage, the greater the likelihood that you'll not be wasting your time in the following stages with a strategy that does not offer any real long-term sustainable edge.

 

Stage 2 – Simulation – Proving Edge

Stage 2 involves operating the strategy in a simulated environment in order to confirm the edge is real.

Some people are tempted to skip this stage, through concern that a simulated environment does not offer the same psychological challenge of a live environment. But that is exactly the reason why you should start on the sim – keep it simpler. Why risk actual funds when the edge is not yet proven. Take the time to prove the edge in the simpler and safer environment, without this higher degree of psychological challenge. Then, once proven, you can advance to the live environment with a greater degree of confidence in the strategy and your ability to trade it.

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

We will be analysing our trade performance in groups of trades. So you need to start by determining a suitable group size for analysis of stats, ensuring that groups will contain no less than twenty trades. It doesn't really matter whether your groups contain a variable number of trades (perhaps weekly groups, or daily for more active traders who complete dozens per day), or whether your groups contain a fixed number of trades (20 or 50 or 100 trades). Pick something that makes sense for your frequency of trading. Just ensure it's no less than 20 trades. And be consistent.

Trade a complete group, recording your individual trade results in your Trading Journal Spreadsheet. While trading a group your concern is not profitability but rather consistency of process and quality of execution. Your trading should be carried out with minimum size, simulating the EXACT processes you will follow when you first transition to the live environment.

Only when the whole group is complete should you concern yourself with performance. Analyse the stats for the group, in particular the win percentage and win/loss size ratio. Confirm whether you have proven edge across this sample of trades.

If edge is not proven, determine which group statistic is underperforming. And then study the component trades to identify (a) one potential cause of this underperformance, and (b) a plan to improve performance over the next group. Now document the changes and start again with the next group.

If edge is proven, congratulations. Now do it again.

Repeat the process until you can prove edge in terms of profitability and consistency, maybe five times in a row. Only then should you consider transitioning to a live environment.

 

Stage 3 – Live Environment – Proving Edge

Stage 3 takes you live, with the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM exposure to risk that your strategy and your market allows. That is, the smallest position sizes possible.

The aim is to trade in exactly the same manner as just carried out in the simulated environment. The only change should be live execution and the additional psychological challenge of having money at risk.

Be completely clear regarding your maximum acceptable drawdown during this stage. And commit to dropping back to the sim again, should this limit be hit.

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

Performance will again be assessed in groups of trades, using the same group size as when sim trading.

Trade a complete group, recording your individual trade results in your Trading Journal Spreadsheet. While trading a group your concern is not profitability but rather consistency of process and quality of execution.

Only when the whole group is complete should you concern yourself with performance. Analyse the stats for the group, in particular the win percentage and win/loss size ratio. Confirm whether you have proven edge across this sample of trades.

If edge is not proven, determine which group statistic is underperforming. And then study the component trades to identify (a) one potential cause of this underperformance, and (b) a plan to improve performance over the next group. Now document the changes and start again with the next group. If performance is completely unacceptable then consider dropping back to the sim.

If edge is proven, congratulations. Now do it again.

Repeat the process until you can prove edge in terms of profitability and consistency, maybe five times in a row. Only then should you consider increasing risk.

 

Stage 4 – Live Environment – Improving Edge

Stage 4 is a never-ending process of stretching yourself to new levels of performance.

Identify the change you wish to make, ensuring that it is in ONE PART of the process.

The obvious example here is an increase in size. Make it a small and incremental increase.

But this may also be any changes to process. Keep it small and incremental. One change at a time.

Performance will again be assessed in groups of trades, using the same group size as in previous stages.

Trade a complete group, recording your individual trade results in your Trading Journal Spreadsheet. While trading a group your concern is not profitability but rather consistency of process and quality of execution.

Only when the whole group is complete should you concern yourself with performance. Analyse the stats for the group, in particular the win percentage and win/loss size ratio. Confirm whether you have proven edge across this sample of trades.

If edge is not proven, determine which group statistic is underperforming. And then study the component trades to identify (a) one potential cause of this underperformance, and (b) a plan to improve performance over the next group. Now document the changes and start again with the next group. If performance is completely unacceptable then consider rolling back the changes in order to return to something that was working, before again attempting change at some point in the future.

If edge is proven, congratulations. Now do it again.

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

Two final points here.

Firstly you should never completely trust an edge. Maintain constant vigilance. Continue to monitor the stats for your groups of trades, in order to confirm not just profitability but also some degree of consistency from group to group.

And secondly, if you're not growing as a trader, then the problem is that your review processes are not driving any growth. Fix your review processes.

<image: If you are not growing as a trader, this is the problem...>

Best of luck with your journey.

Remember, there is no hurry.

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Other Trader (6)

 

Let's continue with an old article series – the metagame – trading AGAINST other traders who find themselves on the wrong side of the market.

Because…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

You can see the prior articles here if you missed them – OneTwoThreeFourFive.

Here is the general concept for today's trade…

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5> 

In playing the metagame, we aim to place ourselves in the mindset of any trader who bought late in the move, at or soon after the breakout. Feel their stress build as price stalls. And stalls. And stalls. Feel their pain as their "sure thing" collapses back below the stall region. And find a way to profit from their pain.

Yes, trading is a predatory game!

Let's see some charts.

We'll be seeking BOF Setup opportunity at this point here:

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

 

The key part I want to emphasise today is the following:

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6> 

 

Let's play the metagame and put ourselves in the mindset of those who entered LONG on the breakout.

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6> 

 

Trading the metagame…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

Let someone trap themselves in a low-probability position.

Place yourself into their mindset.

Feel their pain.

And when it gets to the point where they've lost all hope, STRIKE.

Go get 'em,

Lance Beggs