Yearly Archives: 2019

Trader Motivation

 

For the first time in maybe a decade I'm not writing a post this week. Not because I lack motivation. But rather, because I've come across an exceptional resource (from Alex Vermeer) that I want to share with you.

The journey to becoming a trader is a long and frustrating one. So the more you can provide yourself with knowledge and skill in maintaining motivation, and in overcoming lapses of motivation, the faster and more effectively you will progress.

If this is an area you feel you can improve, please review and make use of the following information.

Step 1: Read the following two preliminary articles… and implement the advice they offer.

(a) Part one – Things we can do IN GENERAL to reduce procrastination

(b) Part two – Things we can do RIGHT NOW to reduce procrastination

Step 2: Go to the following webpage to download a copy of the summary "How to Get Motivated" poster. Save it and make use of it to trigger changes in behaviour, whenever you need a motivational boost.

Link: https://alexvermeer.com/getmotivated/

Scroll just over half way down the page to find the posters in various sizes.

<image: Trader Motivation>

(Source: https://alexvermeer.com/getmotivated/)

I hope this helps provide you with some clear and actionable plans for beating procrastination and doing the work necessary to make this year the best yet.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

PS. I discovered this great resource through the weekly newsletter provided by Recomendo – https://www.getrevue.co/profile/Recomendo

 


 

Traps Just Before RTH Open – 4

 

Traps immediately before the open… we've discussed them a number of times over the last year.

Here are some of the previous discussions, if you missed them:

 

And you'll probably find a few more examples if you scroll back through the social media feeds.

The thing is though – the market keeps presenting us with this great opportunity. And they do say that repetition is the mother of all learning. So let's look at another example, from last Monday.

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

From a YTC Price Action Trader perspective, it's simply a first PB in a new trend. But as the last image states – it was caught because I recognised the trap before RTH open, which had me primed, ready and waiting for the opportunity LONG.

Trades like this ONLY happen because of my Market Structure & Price Action (MSPA) Journal. If you don't have one, then I highly recommend you start. Every day – make at least one entry into the journal. Find something interesting within either the structure of the chart, or the way price moves, and document it.

Over time, you'll start to notice repetition of ideas.

And that is where you find opportunity.

Study them inside and out. Set up rules or guidelines for ways to exploit that opportunity. Implement, test and develop.

Today's article gives you two areas of exploration, in starting your own MSPA Journal.

(1) Traps before (or immediately after) RTH Open.

(2) Opening Momentum Drives.

If you follow me on social media, you will recall the following two posts in recent weeks:

<image: Opening Drive Study>

<image: Opening Drive Study>

Well now you have a third opening drive to study. And I promise you the market will provide more.

This is the path to learning.

Every day – find something interesting. Document it. Study it. And then when you start to see repetition of ideas – dig deeper and find a way to exploit that opportunity.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.

 

I'm displaying charts without any trade markers here, so that you can focus on the price action without any distraction.

Because there is a very important fact that not everyone gets. And rarely is it displayed in such a simple and obvious manner, as it is with the two charts we'll discuss today.

That fact is that NOT ALL DAYS ARE EQUAL.

Regardless of your approach to trading, some sessions will provide structure and conditions which are highly favourable. In these sessions you want to actively and aggressively engage the markets. You want to press your advantage.

Some sessions will be highly unfavourable. In these sessions you want to step back and limit engagement. Your primary aim is to minimise any damage and survive to trade another day.

And of course the majority of sessions will fit somewhere in-between – at times slightly more favourable – and at times slightly more unfavourable.

Your job is to recognise the current conditions. And adapt.

Most people focus far too much on their setups. And focus far too little on the context of the market – the background structure and conditions within which they're seeking to trade their setups.

The following two charts display the E-mini NASDAQ (NQ) 1-minute chart from 09:30 till midday. This is my primary trading period. The two charts cover Monday the 2nd and Tuesday the 3rd of December. Of note, the vertical price scale (RHS) is the same on each chart.

<image: Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.>

<image: Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.>

Perhaps what you consider favourable and unfavourable will differ from my preferences Perhaps if you have a preference for counter-trend mean-reversion scalping, then you'll prefer Tuesday's action to Monday's.

Regardless… the same point still applies.

Most people focus far too much on their setups. And focus far too little on the context of the market – the background structure and conditions within which they're seeking to trade their setups.

Spend some time identifying the structure and conditions in which you're most in sync with the market and most easily able to trade. And also, the structure and conditions which cause you problems.

Set up "rules" to allow quick recognition of the current state of the market. And guidelines for how you will trade.

The sooner you can recognise the current state of the market, the sooner you can adapt.

And perhaps you can stop giving back all of your "favourable day profits" when you find yourself chopped up in an unfavourable session.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Step Back – Define the Edges – and Wait

 

Let's talk about recovery from a poor start to a trading session.

Like this one…

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

So here's the plan in three stages…

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

<image: Step Back - Define the Edges - and Wait>

Whenever you step away from a chart and miss a sequence of price action, you can almost always look back at it with hindsight and see opportunity that you could have taken.

Ignore it.

It wasn't yours to take.

When you've started a session poorly and have struggled to get in sync with the price movement, your job is to step back and clear your mind. Any opportunity you miss during that period of recovery is irrelevant. Let it go.

Step back. Clear your mind.

Define the edges of the structure which caused you problems.

And then wait until price has broken that structure and the market has shown you the directional bias.

Only then is it time to trade.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Traps Just Before RTH Open – 3

 

This has been a favourite topic of mine throughout the last year. We explored the idea here and here, along with a bunch of other examples on social media.

But then the market just keeps providing more examples.

So let's look one more time.

The general concept is a trap that occurs through failure of a significant break, very late in the pre-session market and just before RTH Open (RTH = Regular Trading Hours; ie. the pit session).

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

Our most recent example fits in the second category – a break to new overnight highs, failing on or shortly after the session open, giving us opportunity to enter SHORT.

Let's begin… with the NQ 1 minute chart on Friday 15th November, 2019.

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

<image: Traps Just Before RTH Open>

I've written a lot about displaying patience at the open. About waiting till the bias is clear and trading conditions are favourable.

But there are some situations where I don't display patience.

Where I'm keen to get a trade on as soon as I can.

No patience. No delays. It's game on!

One of these situations is when the market sets up a trap just before or just after the RTH Open.

Keep an eye out for similar opportunity in your own trading.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

One Winner One Loser

 

A question received last Monday: "Are you trading today? It's a holiday but the market is open."

For future readers… Monday was 11th November 2019. Veterans Day.

And yes, the economic calendar which I use also has this listed as a US holiday. But the market is definitely open all day (or at least the index futures which I trade).

Here's my plan for holidays, because as the question noted, there are different kinds of holidays:

  • Holidays where the market is closed – no trading!  (Duh!)
  • Holidays where the market is open for one of those "half day" sessions – no trading! I don't care if it does move. That's the low probability outcome. More likely it will be dull, lifeless, narrow range chop.
  • Holidays where the market is open all day – My preference is to avoid it, but if I've got nothing better to do then let the opening structure play out and then make an assessment.

 

I had nothing better to do. So I let the opening structure play out. And then assessed.

How much opening structure? There's no rule here. Make an judgment call as to how much is necessary to see if there is sufficient liquidity, pace, volatility etc.

If the market opens with a gap outside the prior day's range, and outside any higher timeframe congestion, I might be satisfied just with the opening TTF price swing, or just waiting a short time period like 5-15 minutes. Then assessing.

Or on days like today, where the market opened within the prior days range, I will wait a bit longer.

<image: One Winner One Loser>

 

I was completely comfortable with no trades. But if I could see edge, then let's play.

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

 

For readers of the YTC Price Action Trader – The Principle being applied here, and in fact the reason for the whole trade, should be obvious. If not, email me.

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

<image: One Winner One Loser>

 

One winner. And one loser. Just a small day, but it is a "holiday" session and I'm happy with nothing.

Of great importance though – the loser is much smaller in size than the winner.

Which reminds me of one of the most important points I've shared over the years at YTC, accepting of course that a two trade sample size is way too small (but the concept is what is important)… what if you could be happy with a 50% win rate, and learn to profit from a positive Win/Loss Size Ratio?

Ok, so back to the main point of the article:

Here's my plan for holidays, because as the question noted, there are different kinds of holidays:

  • Holidays where the market is closed – no trading!  (Duh!)
  • Holidays where the market is open for one of those "half day" sessions – no trading! I don't care if it does move. That's the low probability outcome. More likely it will be dull, lifeless, narrow range chop.
  • Holidays where the market is open all day – My preference is to avoid it, but if I've got nothing better to do then let the opening structure play out and then make an assessment.

 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart

 

I was recently asked on Twitter about my pre-session analysis. My response was simply that I've outlined the process in detail in the YTC Price Action Trader.

However, since publication, I have added a couple of minor steps. Let's look at one today.

It occurs just once a day, right at the beginning of my analysis process.

It involves the daily chart. And about 5 to 10 seconds of work.

Not for levels, or structure, or trend. We get those from our normal Higher Timeframe (HTF) and Trading Timeframe (TTF) charts.

The daily is used to provide a "best guess" as to the potential range of movement we can expect in the upcoming session.

There is no great accuracy required. I don't need to get it right within a small number of ticks. It's just a quick assessment based upon experience. Part of building our bigger-picture contextual awareness.

It allows me to operate throughout the day with some sense for whether the market has more room to move, or whether the market is possibly close to it's expected range already.

This is the chart layout I use:

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

 

Let's have a look at how it is constructed.

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

 

And the Three Step process for using this data.

 

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

<image: Pre-Session Analysis Starts with the Daily Chart>

Summary:

  1. My expectation for today's potential range starts as the Average Daily Range.
  2. I increase this slightly in an expansion environment, and decrease slightly during contraction.
  3. And adjust again as required, if a quick assessment of daily price action suggests good potential for either a wide-range trend day or narrow-range consolidation.

 

And of course, update throughout the day as more data unfolds.

Don't expect perfection.

It's just "background" contextual information that can be used as an input to your trade selection and trade management decisions.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

5 Steps for Daily Improvement

 

The following screen capture was sent out via social media a fortnight ago.

I think it's so important that I want this to go out to everyone on the newsletter list as well. Plus an entry into the blog for future readers.

It's a quick response to an exceptional question – what are five things I do every day which have got me to where I am.

Thanks Alessandro. Great question!

Enjoy…

<image: 5 Steps for Daily Improvement>

Add these steps into your process, if they're not already there.

And repeat.

Every day.

This is the path to trading success – incremental improvements in skill driven by a quality review process.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Bridging the Gap between Sim and E-minis

 

I make it a practice to never recommend any particular market as being suitable for your trading. It's none of my business what you choose to trade. I don't offer financial advise and to do so would be completely irresponsible as I have no insight into your individual needs or circumstances. (For more, see here for my Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions.)

However, I do care that you survive the learning curve.

So if you've made an independent decision to trade a market, and there is a lower risk option available, then please start there.

Prove success at the smaller level first. And build up to full size contracts and larger position sizes.

E-mini traders – don't trade the E-mini's until you've confirmed you can trade the Micro E-mini's. Forex traders – don't trade full size lots until you've confirmed you can trade the mini or micro lots.

If you do have edge, you'll transition quickly to larger size.

But until that is proven, please:

LOWER RISK.

AND INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF SURVIVING THE LEARNING CURVE.

The gap between sim and full-size contracts is quite large (in terms of risk). Make use of these "smaller" markets to bridge the gap and make the transition to live trading just a little smoother.

I was contacted by a trader who has recently gone live but then preceded to bleed his account into a 30% drawdown.

He's not trading the YTC strategy. I was pleased to hear that!

And I was most pleased to hear that he was smart enough to stop trading at 30% loss.

But here's what really annoyed me.

Although his 5-figure account size is sufficient for trading E-minis with 3 contracts, as a new trader he has no right to be starting there when other options are available.

New traders – PLEASE – always start live with the smallest position sizes available. And build from there, slowly and incrementally, as success and consistency are proven at each level.

Since May, the CME has offered Micro E-mini contracts.

MES – Micro E-Mini S&P 500 – the micro equivalent of the ES

MYM – Micro E-Mini Dow – the micro equivalent of the YM

MNQ – Micro E-Mini NASDAQ – the micro equivalent of the NQ

M2K – Micro E-Mini Russell – the micro equivalent of the RTY

All micro contracts being 10 times smaller in size than the equivalent E-mini.

See here for contract specifications – MES, MYM, MNQ, M2K.

Yes… the same markets… almost exactly the same charts… but 10 times smaller.

The number one rule for trading is to survive to trade another day (IIRC this was a lesson I got from Larry Williams). I highly recommend you adopt this rule in your own trading. But as a new trader who has yet to establish a proven track record, it's even more important.

Start small. And build from there slowly and incrementally.

I've finally managed to play with the MNQ in recent weeks.

The following was the 14th October, the Columbus Day holiday. Holidays are typically a "stand aside" day for me due to the potential for low volume, narrow range and largely unfavourable conditions.

So I just "played" with MNQ while doing other work.

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

<image: Micro E-Mini Futures>

 

I'm going to use MNQ for testing, alongside NQ. New trade ideas. And different trade management plans.

I've never been good at trading multiple markets at once, on these low timeframes. But with this idea the analysis for both is essentially the same, so I'm aiming to trade NQ and "test and develop" MNQ at the same time.

I'm also going to include more MNQ trades in the newsletter and blog, to hopefully show you that it's not only ok to trade, but a damn good market for bridging the gap from sim to E-minis.

Back to our trader with the drawdown.

He's taking a break to:

  • Clear his mind
  • Replenish his funds
  • Review the cause of his failure
  • Define solutions
  • Restart on sim
  • And transition to micro contracts, building slowly from there, increasing size incrementally as success and consistency is proven at each level.

 

A smarter plan.

A more survivable plan.

If you're just starting out, or approaching the stage where you transition from sim to live markets, consider adopting a similar slow and steady progression plan.

Lower risk. And increase your odds of surviving the learning curve.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs