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Nothing “Always” Happens

 

One of the essential breakthroughs we need to make in our journey involves learning to think in probabilities.

It's something that all traders say they understand. But, for most new traders, their behaviour and decision-making shows that it has not been accepted.

This came to mind when I received the following email question:

– – – start of email excerpt – – –

I’ve circled the “Spike Low”. You can see from the Volume that it spiked as well…. my understanding is that this is a “test” for higher prices. When I’ve observed this very thing (over several years) Price Action “always” moves HIGHER… Today, it Moved LOWER and wanted to educate myself on WHY…

Else, maybe I have the whole thing wrong…

If you can comment and/or direct me to something on your site, that would be great.

<image: The email chart...>

– – – end of email excerpt – – –

Here's the chart using my usual display format. I've added a higher timeframe support level and positioned the spike at the right hand side.

<image: The context...>

And zooming in to the spike itself…

<image: The spike pattern...>

The question again – "When I’ve observed this very thing (over several years) Price Action “always” moves HIGHER… Today, it Moved LOWER and wanted to educate myself on WHY…"

My big problem is with the word "always". Yes, it's in quotes. But it still concerns me.

Here's an excerpt from my reply (noting that at this stage I had no idea of the market or timeframe and was replying based upon the original black-background chart image above).

– – – excerpt from my email reply – – –

I can't really answer as to why this move went lower, being unsure of which market and timeframe and whether this price move coincided with any news event (planned or unplanned).

Typically we can't ever know with complete certainty the reasons for any price movement. Price moves where it does based upon the orders that hit the market. Why did it go lower? Because the net effect of all the orders was bearish. Any discussion as to why trade decisions were net bearish, is simply speculation.

The error in your thought process is when you use the word "always" in this sentence – "When I've observed this very thing (over several years) Price Action "always" moves HIGHER."

Does it really always move higher? Or were there actually some occurrences where it moved lower?

We're dealing with probabilities, not certainties. Nothing "always" happens.

Even if this was a 99% probability of moving higher (which it's not because nothing is that close to certain) then there would still be 1 out of 100 cases where it moves lower. This example was that 1 occurrence.

Let's say the pattern has actually 55% probability of moving higher, which might be more realistic. This example then simply sits on the 45% side.

So it's nothing unusual. And nothing that needs understanding "why".

What is important is firstly that you shift your thinking away from certainties to probabilities. And secondly, that if you're trading something like this and take a position LONG in expectation of movement higher, that you recognise as quickly as possible that this occurrence is falling on the losing side of the probabilities, and you adapt quickly and get out.

"Why" is not important. Recognising and adapting is important.

– – – end of reply – – –

Subsequent discussions confirmed the market as EURUSD, 1 minute chart, on 26th November 2018.

So let's finish up with two additional important points:

1. Knowing the market, date and time, I was then able to confirm that the price spike occurred just two minutes after 09:00 US Eastern Time (two minutes after midnight my time). Two minutes prior to that spike there was a scheduled speech by the ECB President. Given the high-impact potential for such an event (especially given the current Brexit negotiations) it's reasonable to expect that such an event could completely shift the sentiment in the market, rendering any prior analysis and levels as irrelevant. Just something to consider!

You have to be aware of scheduled news events. You can find the economic calendar I currently use on my Resources Page – http://yourtradingcoach.com/resources/

2. For those interested, I actually have no problems with someone entering LONG from that spike. The following are my thoughts regarding the price movement following the spike, looking purely from a price action perspective.

<image: My thoughts on the trade...>

<image: My thoughts on the trade...>

<image: My thoughts on the trade...>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Missed Opportunity Mindset Hack

 

<image: Missed Opportunity Mindset Hack>

<image: Missed Opportunity Mindset Hack>

<image: Missed Opportunity Mindset Hack>

The end result is that I still have a profit. And yet I feel crap. And my mind starts beating me up for not doing better.

All part of being human, I guess.

But not ideal if you wish to be an effective trader.

There is very little to be gained by carrying negativity into the rest of the trading session.

So here's what I do.

FIND A POSITIVE. ANY POSITIVE.

Break the cycle of negativity as soon as you can. Actively, consciously, seek out and focus on something positive.

Here's one I use in situations like the above trade example, where I've taken some good profits but left a whole lot more on the table.

Immediately… look left and find an earlier multiple-trade losing sequence.

Does the trade I just took completely cover that multiple-trade loss and still provide profits? If so, that's awesome. Great trade. Move on.

Let's check the charts…

<image: Missed Opportunity Mindset Hack>

If there isn't an earlier losing sequence, then find something else positive. Anything.

Even if it's just something basic like, "There was a time in the past when I wouldn't have caught that at all. I did today. Awesome! Great Trade! Move on!"

Whenever you find yourself with some negativity… break the pattern!

Find a positive. Any positive.

Enjoy the positive.

And consciously declare, "Great trade! Move on!"

There are more trades coming and they need your full attention, with a positive and focused mindset.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Counter-Intuitive Path to Trading Success

 

I recently received an email from a YTC reader with an incredibly important insight into trading success.

Here's an extract from the email:

Hi Lance,

I heard this recently while watching football.

It's not how many great plays you make, it's how few bad plays you make.

I immediately emailed this to myself because it is so applicable to trading. I know where the good places are to trade, but the key is waiting for price to get there and not "forcing" a trade.

It also ties in well to your Facebook posts last week and the latest blog article.

Here is the full quote I found online:

"Like I always say, it's not how many great plays you make; it's how few bad ones you make. I know fans, and even some losing coaches, are enamored with long pass completions or the great run plays, but that doesn't offset the interception or the fumble."… Jimmy Johnson 

Excellent!

I love it!

This is absolutely 100% applicable to trading.

It's the counter-intuitive path to trading success.

Reduce the number of bad trades.

How do we do that?

1. We limit our trading to our best setups only.

Get absolutely clear on what an A+ trading opportunity should look like. And then cut out anything that doesn't meet these strict requirements.

Define the context. Where will these trades be found within the wider market structure? Now limit trading ONLY to those places on the chart.

How should price be moving (speed, volatility, smoothness)? Define your ideal conditions and put in place controls to ensure you trade ONLY when those conditions are in play.

2. We have a predetermined plan for execution.

Now that we're limited to trading only within an ideal context (market structure and price conditions), you need to be completely clear on how you execute and manage your trade opportunity.

Consistency in execution requires standard default plans with regards to sizing, entry triggers, stop and target locations. Plus any additional techniques which might be relevant to your style of trading, such as when you will scale in or out, or under what conditions you will re-enter if stopped out. Your decisions may involve some discretion. That's fine. But this discretion should be built into your standard management plan.

You need to know what to do… and when to do it. No hesitation. 

3. We monitor our performance to identify and reduce errors.

Track everything! If you make an error or poor decision, record it.

Look to your longer term stats during your weekly or monthly reviews. If you find something repeating over time, then that is cause for celebration. You have found a way to improve your edge. Find a way to cut out the error, or at least reduce the likelihood or frequency of occurrence.

<image: Track Your Errors>

Image: Error tracking via the Trading Journal Spreadsheet!

It's not how many great plays you make, it's how few bad plays you make.

Along the same lines, but for those who are not into sport and perhaps relate more to art, I saw this quote recently which I quite liked:

"The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material."… Michaelangelo

Trading success is already there.

It's just hidden beneath all the errors and poor decisions. We just need to chisel away at them, getting rid of the bad trades and poor decisions, and allow the underlying success to reveal itself.

Trade well,

Lance Beggs

PS. See here also for the same theme – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/are-you-closer-to-profitability-than-you-thought/

 


 

Trading the Edges of a Sideways Market

 

When the market is stuck in a sideways trading range, the primary place to look for opportunity is at the upper and lower edges.

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

<image: Trading the edges of a Sideways Market>

When the market is stuck in a sideways trading range, the primary place to look for opportunity is at the upper and lower edges.

Important References:

Sideways Trend definition: Volume 2, Chapter 3, Pages 99-102

3rd & 4th Principles of Future Trend Direction: Volume 2, Chapter 3, Pages 145, 149, 150

BOF Setup: Volume 3, Chapter 4, Pages 28-31

LTF Pattern entry: Volume 3, Chapter 4, Pages 86-93

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Find Your A+ Trades

 

Let's continue this recent theme…

  • Focus on the areas of the market structure that jump out at you. The sequences that are so obvious, so easy, that you'd be kicking yourself if you missed the trade.
  • Identify them. Study them. Learn from them.
  • And then trade ONLY them… until you've got a proven edge.

 

These are potentially your A+ Trades. The ones you will aim to master.

In last weeks article, I shared what I consider to be one of my A+ trades – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/focus-on-catching-these-trades-first/

This was followed up with a social media post on Tuesday, comparing the trade sequence from that article with another from a previous article.

Note the similarity…

<image: Your favourite trades should all look the same>

The key point, repeated for emphasis:

These trades come easy to me. The ones that come easy to you might differ from this. Your job is to find YOUR OWN A+ opportunity and get to know it in detail. There are more trades coming soon. You need to be ready.

Do you want another one?

<image: Your favourite trades should all look the same>

<image: Your favourite trades should all look the same>

<image: Your favourite trades should all look the same>

Note again how similar it looks in structure to the prior two trades. Your favourite trades will all share similar qualities.

And this first pullback after a change in structure IS one of my favourites.

It might not be one of your favourites. And that's fine. The idea is not that you should start trading these setups.

You need to find your own.

  • Focus on the areas of the market structure that jump out at you. The sequences that are so obvious, so easy, that you'd be kicking yourself if you missed the trade.
  • Identify them. Study them. Learn from them.
  • And then trade ONLY them… until you've got a proven edge.

 

If you're struggling, then please note that this could be the key insight you need. 

I received some great feedback from a YTC reader, TK, in response to last weeks article. Here's an excerpt from his email:

Hi Lance,

I just wanted to thank you for the last Friday's article and let you know that I find articles on this theme of great value.

This is exactly what makes all the difference for me. The shift in mindset that made me focus on the moves that I find obvious and easy has greatly improved my trading. I regularly come back to the article "Focus on the obvious moves first" that was the first article that made me review my trading and think about whether I take mostly the obvious trades or not. This has helped me to get rid of many marginal trades.

Last week's article reinforced this practice for me. I think that this may be a key thing that developing traders need to focus on. If I may, I would suggest that you follow up with more articles like this, that would be great.

This is the article he referred to, as being originally responsible for the new and better understanding – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/focus-on-the-obvious-moves-first/

Be sure to read it.

Why?

Repeating the key point from the email: "This is exactly what makes all the difference for me. The shift in mindset that made me focus on the moves that I find obvious and easy has greatly improved my trading."

Could this be the difference you need as well?

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Focus on Catching These Trades First

 

There are some trade ideas you look at with hindsight which are quite complex and which may have been difficult to execute.

And there are others which jump out at you as being really simple.

If you're not yet profitable, then focus on the SIMPLE trade ideas.

Identify them. Study them. Learn from them. And then trade ONLY them… until you've got a proven edge.

What you see as simple may be different to what I see as simple. But essentially, we're talking about those you would call your A+ trades.

Look at any historical chart. They're the trades which your eyes go straight to. The ones that are immediately obvious. The ones that you'd be kicking yourself if you missed.

They're the simple ones.

They're the ones you need to focus on first.

For me… one of my favourites is the first pullback following a significant change in structure.

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

This trade… and every trade like it… jumps out of the chart at me.

If there is a "first pullback after a change of structure" trade that I miss, I'm seriously not impressed with myself.

Here's what I was seeing as it unfolded:

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

<image: Focus on catching these trades first>

What trade opportunities jump out of the chart to you?

Identify them. Study them. Learn from them. And then trade ONLY them… until you've got a proven edge.

They're the simple ones.

They're the ones you need to focus on first.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

Additional Notes:

1. YTC Price Action Trader readers – From the YTC PAT perspective the trade is simply the first PB opportunity after a transition from uptrend to downtrend. The classification of uptrend is not immediately obvious due to the lack of structure this early in the session. In the absence of any pre-session data, I will usually make use of any opening gap and also an opening range bias. With both being bullish in this case, I'm happy to call an uptrend.

2. Note the similarity with the trade in this post. Even though it's pattern sets up on the higher timeframe chart, the concept is exactly the same. You'll start to notice that after a while – all your good trades share similar qualities.

3. The reference to 11:30 is of course my timezone (UTC+10). The time at the exchange is 09:30. This is the time that stocks commence trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

 


 

Order Entry Error – Again

 

I seem to average an order entry error maybe once every two months. That's not too bad considering entry is via a single click. But it's something I will continue to work at improving.

In the meantime, it's an opportunity to again present my ideas on how to best manage those times when you somehow find yourself trading in the wrong direction.

Those times when order entry gives way to confusion, as things just don't look right, and then to shock as you realise you're short when you expected to be long (or vice versa).

Common advice is to IMMEDIATELY hit the CLOSE button. Accept any loss (or bonus profit). It's not part of your edge so you have no business trading it. Then try to get back in; this time in the right direction.

If you want to do that – fine. There are no problems with this.

I prefer something a little different. Maybe the idea will appeal to you as well.

The general idea is to use your skill to make a real-time contextual risk management decision. You can do this. Your brain is better at pattern recognition than you realise.

  • Is the position in immediate threat? (ie. Is price likely to continue to move against you?)
  • If so, then exit immediately
  • If not, then see if you can actively work a better exit, or even turn it into a profitable trade.

 

Think of it this way. What percentage of your trade ideas lose?

50%, 40%, 30%?

Whatever it is, there's a reasonable chance that this trade idea could fall on the losing side.

Which means, now that you're trading in the wrong direction, you might actually be able to get a profit.

Low odds perhaps. But you've found yourself in this situation. So why not try to turn it into a positive.

Don't jump straight for the CLOSE button if there is no immediate threat.

Pause. Assess the situation. And allow yourself to make a real-time decision as to whether to close or whether to manage any further risk and opportunity.

Here's the trade idea:

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

Reference for CPB setup: YTC Price Action Trader Vol 3 Ch 4 P38

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

<image: Order entry error - and how I manage it...>

Use your skill to make a real-time contextual risk management decision.

  • Is the position in immediate threat? (ie. Is price likely to continue to move against you?)
  • If so, then exit immediately
  • If not, then see if you can actively work a better exit, or even turn it into a profitable trade.

 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

A Shift in Mindset – 2

 

Last week we discussed a common problem with new and developing traders – difficulty accepting losses as a normal part of the game.

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

And we discussed a simple idea for moving beyond this problem, through seeking profits over a larger series of trades rather than any individual trade.

You can see last week's article here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/a-shift-in-mindset/

Today, let's discuss another exercise which might help.

PAIRING WINS AND LOSSES!

Let's look at your last twenty trade results. It might be something like this.

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

This is the game. This is how your results will (typically) display over any series of trades.

The number of trades on each side will naturally vary. Sometimes you'll have more winners than losers. Other times more losers than winners.

But any series of trades will likely include both WINNERS and LOSERS.

They're a normal part of the game.

The aim then is to approach trading such that anything on the left side (losses) is small enough to easily be covered by one good trade on the right side (wins).

Let's pair them off…

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

<image: Losses are a part of the game>

Of course… if you end up with excess on the left then this sequence of trades has no edge. And you've got more work to do.

But this is the ultimate aim. A series of trades which includes both winners AND losers, in which pairing them off leaves you with an excess of winners. Achieve this consistently and YOU'VE GOT EDGE.

It might help you to carry out this exercise each weekend, creating a table with your results from the prior week. Firstly to reinforce the fact that it's ABSOLUTELY NORMAL to have both losses and wins. But secondly, to give you a feel for how much of an edge you have. Or how close you are to achieving edge.

Or… for some of you… it might help to carry out this exercise live. In real-time. As you trade each day. Add your losses to the losses column. Add your profits to the profits column. And pair them up whenever you can. The aim being to keep your losses small enough so that they are easily covered by a single win. And more importantly, achieving a confidence boost when you get a profit on the right side of the table, and have no losses available to pair it with.

Give it a try if you think it might help you visualise your "series of trades". And hopefully reduce any concern over losing trades. After all, they're just a normal part of the win/loss table and easily covered by pairing up with the next win. They're no problem at all. Take the hit. Focus. And move on.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

A Shift in Mindset

 

I love this comment in response to last week's article (see the article here if you missed it).

<image: A Shift in Mindset>

This was the trade Steve is referring to:

<image: A Shift in Mindset>

Too many traders take the loss personally. As Steve says, they're stuck in the mindset of "Aaargh, I did it again."

Their focus is on themselves and their feeling of intense injustice and frustration.

Their focus is NOT on the price movement.

And so they miss the next opportunity, which spirals them into even greater depths of despair, especially when that opportunity is back in the original direction in which they entered.

LOSSES ARE A PART OF THE GAME.

Take the hit. Refocus yourself. And move on. (Provided session loss limits are not hit, in which case you shut down for the day!)

We've talked quite a bit over the years about the fact that trading is NOT about individual trades. Instead it's a game of profiting over a SERIES of trades.

Individual trade results are irrelevant. Series of trades are what matters.

And here's the thing – every series of trades will likely contain a combination of both winners AND losers.

LOSSES ARE A PART OF THE GAME.

Take the hit. Refocus yourself. And move on.

I shared a simple concept once before, which may help create a shift in mindset for some who read it. Let's repeat the idea today.

What if you stopped trying to find winners?

<image: A Shift in Mindset>

Why is that?

Because…

<image: A Shift in Mindset>

<image: A Shift in Mindset>

It's an important difference.

A novice trader is trying to find a trade that will win.

I'm trying to find a trade that is worthy of being one in a series of twenty. 

I don't need a winner.

I place all the odds in my favour. And I take the trade.

If it's a loss, I take the hit, refocus and move on.

It's a slightly different mindset… but one with a whole lot less fear.

I want to share one more idea which might help create this shift in mindset. But this article is long enough already.

Let's continue next week.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs