Category Archives: Trader

Trader – In this category our interest is in exploring all aspects of peak human performance, including: (a) Examination of the human body and mind and the ways that they impact upon our trading results, both positively and negatively. (b) Exploration of learning theory and the ways to maximise the development of knowledge and skill.

You Can’t Catch Them All

 

Never judge a missed trade by how it looks AFTER THE SESSION.

Always judge a missed trade by how it looked AT THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE SCREEN AT THE TIME OF ENTRY.

This article is in response to a question I received based upon the following image, from this prior article – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/how-do-you-find-time-to-plan-a-trade-on-a-1-minute-timeframe/

I didn't get an entry SHORT here... 

Here is the question I received:

  • Thank you Lance, again, for your recent article. One question that has stuck in my mind comes from the second image where you talk about the earlier missed entry. You said you can see it's an obvious trap entry point. But you weren't looking for that. Why not? Why did you miss the trade? Because, I agree with what you said. It looks obvious.

 

Check the prior article if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/how-do-you-find-time-to-plan-a-trade-on-a-1-minute-timeframe/.

Ok, this is a common error.

It's so easy to look back at a chart post-session and find the largest and smoothest price swings. And then analyse the entry point to find the obvious way to get into that trade.

Followed shortly after by calling ourselves all kinds of names for having missed such a blindingly obvious entry. And then vowing to never make such a newbie error again.

Let's try it with this trade…

You can't catch them all

You can't catch them all

You can't catch them all

But it's not like that.

Trades look different at the hard right edge of the screen.

Here is the same missed trade from a different perspective, looking back at some earlier structure and positioning the entry point at the right-hand side.

You can't catch them all

You can't catch them all

You can't catch them all

You can't catch them all

I'm ok with missing this trade. I feel my assessment at the hard right edge was reasonable. I accept that you can't catch them all. And this is simply one that was not mine to catch. Hopefully you were able to catch it and profit from the whole move.

YES… we must review our charts post-session.

And it's very important to review the strongly directional price swings that were missed.

But make sure that the primary part of this review occurs at the hard right-hand edge of the screen.

Is it really something you should have caught? Or are you influenced by the hindsight view of the trade outcome?

Because the simple fact is….

as much as you'd love to…

You can't catch them all.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Employing a Self-Distancing Strategy to Improve Journaling and Review

 

Close your eyes and imagine a really bad trading session. You might have a recent example you can use. Or if not, just make one up.

The details don't matter. They'll vary for each of us. Just make it bad.

Maybe this:

"I drag myself into the office and throw my bag on the floor. Feeling crap with a hangover and too little sleep due to last night's celebrations. It's 10 minutes till market open. No problems. I'll catch up on the pre-session admin later and just wing it. I'm on my third coffee already – this should help me make it through ok."

The market opens and drives higher with strength. "Suckers… it's right into resistance. I'll short here and catch the move back down to the market open."

Of course, it loses!

As does the second attempt. And the third. And the fourth, which had the stop pulled even higher, because "this damn thing is so overbought".

Or maybe your example is something much worse.

Whatever it is, close your eyes and visualise it. And feel every feeling that such a session would bring.

Disgust! Anger! Frustration!

Now, the session is over. You've smashed your keyboard and it's time for review. Close your eyes and imagine yourself critiquing your performance.

SERIOUSLY!

Close your eyes, visualise this scenario. And then critique your performance.

Now let's shift the scenario slightly.

This time the session went exactly the same, but you weren't the trader. The trader was the person you most love in life. Your partner. Your Mum. Whoever you care the most for.

And you're their coach. The person they come to after each session to discuss their performance and to plan the way forward.

Close your eyes and imagine how you would handle their performance review.

Visualise it.

Feel it.

If you've been honest with yourself, it's likely that the first scenario would have been far more emotional. Quite likely an explosive, self-critical and self-deprecating review.

Whereas the second, while still noting that the performance was unacceptable and must lead to change, would likely be more calm and rational. With a more considered review of both the reasons for the poor performance and the solution that is necessary to prevent recurrence.

This simple shift in the scenario has created some space, or distance, between our rational mind and the emotion associated with the trade performance.

 

Self-Distancing Strategies

I absolutely love this article by Brad Stulberg in NYMag.com:

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/02/self-distancing-will-help-you-make-smarter-deciions.html

Please read it. It will take about 10 minutes, tops.

Some key excerpts:

  • Collectively referred to as “self-distancing,” practices like those outlined above and Rusch’s “pretend you’re talking to a friend” allow us to remove our emotional selves from intense situations, paving the way for more thoughtful insight and subsequent decision-making.
  • Employing a self-distancing strategy allows you to evaluate activities or situations that are rife with passion from an entirely different perspective, one that includes logic alongside emotion.
  • “I talk to myself all the time,” says Rusch. “It’s just that when I talk to myself as myself, I tend to be negative and not so helpful. But when I talk to myself as if I were talking to a friend, my words are motivating, forgiving, and far more productive.”

 

Employing Self-Distancing Strategies to Improve Journaling and Review

I will be employing these ideas in two ways:

(1) Journaling

Here's another excerpt from the article:

  • Similar studies show that when individuals think, or journal, in the third person rather than in first person — for example, “John is running into challenges with his business that seem insurmountable” versus “I am running into challenges with my business that seem insurmountable” —they, too, evaluate themselves and their situations more clearly and with more wisdom.

 

I now journal in the third person.

Give it a try for a month. You can always go back to normal if you don't like it.

(2) Reviews

All reviews (session reviews and longer term reviews) will now be conducted as if I am the "Performance Coach" reviewing a trader within my firm.

Again, give it a try for a month. You've got nothing to lose.

And if you can separate your rational and logical side from the emotion of the session, just a little, there is a WHOLE LOT to potentially gain.

 

Why Not Get Started Right Now?

That trading you did so far this year is no longer yours. It was done by your best friend, your partner, or some other loved one.

You are now the performance coach.

And it's time for you to honestly review their trading business.

Close your eyes and imagine the review session. And answer the following questions.

  1. Did they approach these recent months with clear and realistic goals for growth and development?
  2. Did their performance drive them successfully towards achievement of their goals?
  3. Are the goals still appropriate, or do they need amending?
  4. What action must be taken in the coming months to take decisive steps forward?

 

Calmer. More rational. More logical.

And far more likely to lead to practical and effective decision making.

Give it a try!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

If You Suffer From Too Much Impulsive Trading…

 

The following was a social media post that I sent out just before my trading session on the 6th of February.

It was my first session following a two week holiday… and I was more than keen to get back into the markets.

If you suffer from too much impulsive trading... 

Click on the image or this link here if you wish to read the article – Patience is a Key Component of your Edge.

It was a simple reminder to myself that:

  • The real source of my edge is not in my strategy, but in ME.
  • Patience plays an important part in realising that edge.
  • And most importantly – I don't have to trade every price sequence.

 

In other words… knowing that I'm susceptible to emotional, impulsive trading when I first come back from a break, I reminded myself to slow down. And wait till I was truly in sync with the market.

As I write this it's now the 21st of February. It's the first trading day following a long weekend. I'm keen to trade. I'll be giving myself the same reminder pre-session.

And again next week. I'll be admitted to hospital next Tuesday for some very minor day surgery (nothing to worry about). But I'll likely need a day or two off trading as I recover. Again, I'll be giving myself this same reminder.

Slow down. And wait till I'm truly in sync with the market.

HOWEVER…

This is not all I do.

There is a simple "hack" which I've used for a few years now which provides exceptional help in overcoming my impulsive desire to trade.

I've thought about sharing it a few times, but to be honest it seems so obvious that I thought it would be a stupid topic for an article. My stats clearly show that readers prefer charts… and this is not a chart.

But it's so important. And such a great help. And given that I'll be applying the hack again today… I figure you should get it too.

This will be of most relevance to short timeframe day traders; those of us who "screen watch". But the general concept can be adapted for use by longer timeframe traders as well. We'll talk about that later.

Interestingly, there has been some exceptional discussion on this topic in other blogs in recent weeks. I'm not going to duplicate their advice. It's great work and you should go directly to their blogs to read their suggestions and solutions.

http://www.smbtraining.com/blog/a-solution-to-improve-your-patience-as-a-trader

http://tradingcomposure.com/traders-impulsivity/

Visualisation, meditation, mindfulness, and all the other methods discussed… they're very important and a key part of your solution. I particularly LOVE the technique provided by Dr Steenbarger, in the SMB Training link. I'll make you click to get that one! (Ha ha).

But I was surprised to see that my little impulsivity hack was not presented.

So here we go.

What is the solution? How do I reduce the likelihood of emotional, impulsive reaction to price movement?

I create a physical barrier between my desire to trade and my ability to execute.

If you suffer from too much impulsive trading...

In other words… I step back about a metre and conduct all analysis out of reach of the keyboard and mouse.

I know… right!

LAME!

No, seriously. Work with me here.

The key problem is NOT our impulsive desire to trade. It's the fact that we react to that desire by clicking the mouse and entering.

The solution is to put a barrier in place. Something that forces a break between your desire to trade and your ability to enter.

It does not need to be a massive barrier. This solution is about as small a barrier as we can get. It's simply space. And only one metre. But it's enough.

  • Step back from the keyboard and mouse.
  • Conduct your analysis.
  • When you feel that desire to trade, don't. You can't reach it. And you're not allowed to step forward. So just pause and reassess.
  • And ONLY step forward once that pause and reassessment screams out, "Yes! This is the opportunity I've been waiting for. This is an A+ setup. This does provide edge."

 

Discipline and patience are not just a function of willpower. You can create physical barriers to limit impulsive trading.

A physical barrier between your desire to trade and your ability to execute.

Just a small barrier. But just enough to have you pause and reassess.

Longer timeframe traders… clearly stepping back one metre is not likely to help you. After all, you've got a lot of time to make decisions anyway. But the same concept applies – adjust your environment to provide a barrier between decision and execution. One possible solution – conduct your analysis and trade decisions on a separate platform that does not allow execution. Once trade decisions are made and written down, open up your broker's execution platform and reassess the quality of your decisions. Only enter if they're still A+ ideas.

I'm sure you can find other solutions that better suit your particular trading setup.

The key concept applies though, regardless of who we are and how we trade – create a physical barrier between your desire to trade and your ability to execute.

It's not a full solution. See the links posted earlier for some other key parts in managing impulsivity. But it's a simple "hack" that I've found to be exceptionally effective.

I'll be using it tonight, as I trade the first session back after a long-weekend.

I hope you find the idea effective as well.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

I Was Wrong Again

 

You won't be successful as a trader until you're comfortable with the idea of being wrong.

I'm wrong EVERY DAY.

Numerous times.

I'm ok with that.

And that's part of why I'm successful.

Trading success requires that you accept and understand that success...

comes over a series of trades.

Individual trades are irrelevant.

You will be wrong!

I was wrong again.

Part of the position was stopped out at -2.0 points; the rest was at -2.25 points.

Whatever!!!

I step aside.

I regroup.

And I return and do it right.

Because, you know what? One trade does not define the success or failure of my trading business.

A trading edge plays out over a SERIES OF TRADES.

Often!

It took me two more trades to get back in front.

One that almost did it… it's just the commissions that kept me in slight drawdown.

Accept it. And...

What was I saying before about "right but mismanaged"?

Thankfully there was opportunity to re-enter!

learn to profit despite your imperfection in decision making and trade execution.

Yep… playing The Fourth Principle would have worked out so much better.

But instead, I'm left with a whole lot of IMPERFECT DECISION MAKING!!!

And yet… that's reality.

I'd love to show you only the "perfect" trade sequences.

But that would be doing you a disservice.

Reality is sometimes messy. You need to accept that.

And you need to learn to profit DESPITE your imperfection.

So if you find yourself overly frustrated after a trade loss, and unable to get back in while the premise is still valid, ask yourself why?

Do you not believe in your edge?

Do you not believe in your ability to trade your edge?

Are you trading too much size, such that a single loss actually HURTS?

Or have you not yet truly understood and accepted the long-term nature of this business (aiming for positive results over a series of trades rather than on every single trade)?

You won't be successful as a trader until you're comfortable with the idea of being wrong.

I'm wrong EVERY DAY.

Numerous times.

I'm ok with that.

And that's part of why I'm successful.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Fighting to Regain Losses

 

I had an interesting email exchange with a trader a couple of weeks ago, who is struggling with occasional massive losses.

email excerpts

email excerpts

I've had the opportunity to speak to a LOT of traders over the last 8 years of writing these articles. You'd be surprised at how common this problem is.

We discussed several options to investigate further, related to money and risk management, strategy, and of course psychology.

What I wanted to share with you all today though, was just one simple concept that might help, should you ever find yourself suffering from a similar problem.

It's just a slight shift in mindset. It may not be easy. It certainly won't be the full solution. But it could well play a part in overcoming the problem.

Here is what is happening right now:

The current plan

I get it.

Losing sucks. We don't want to lose.

And even more than losing, we don't want to admit we were wrong.

So we fight! We double down on our earlier decision, hoping, wishing and praying that the market will turn. Just enough to get us back to breakeven.

There is a problem though.

IT'S NOT WORKING.

You said that yourself!

But it's not working!

Sure, sometimes it will work out just fine, but it's only a matter of time till the market provides another extended drawdown which takes you out of the game.

Your current money and risk management plan provides you with NO EDGE.

And here's a key part of the problem:

Here is part of the reason why...

Let's repeat that for effect!

  • When you FIGHT to get back to breakeven, you're doing so at a time when the market environment is NOT working in your favour.

 

Seriously!

You're fighting against a strong and persistent trend!

I'm not saying don't fight. But if you're going to fight to get back to breakeven, let's see if we can do it a bit smarter. Let's rethink this concept.

Let's break the current plan into three stages.

The current plan (in stages)

What if we planned our fight differently?

A better plan

Use HOPE as the trigger.

Any time you find yourself HOPING that an extra "unplanned" entry might just help you get out at breakeven… EXIT.

Take some time out to clear your mind.

And resume the fight at a time and place when the market movement and price conditions are IN YOUR FAVOUR.

Don't make this game any harder than it needs to be. Fight to regain losses at a time and place of YOUR CHOOSING.

It's the same challenge; taking a drawdown back to breakeven and maybe even positive territory. But you're doing so when the odds are more in your favour.

And even if four out of five times the market would have got you out at breakeven, had you just entered one more time, ignore it. Remind yourself that averaging down has proven to have NO EDGE. Because the fifth time will not only blow out to a huge loss, but will also take away all these previous gains.

If you're going to fight to regain losses… do so at a time and place of YOUR CHOOSING.

Step aside. Clear your mind. And resume the fight at a time and place when the market movement and price conditions are IN YOUR FAVOUR.

It's just a slight shift in mindset. But it can make a really big difference.

Good luck,

Lance Beggs

 

PS. A pro-trader will NEVER EVER let a single trade, or a sequence of trades, take them out of the game. Always, before any other goal, your priority is to survive to trade another day. If your current money management plan involves adding to positions just based out of hope and fear, then your money management plan sucks. Fix it. Or you're unlikely to last long in this business.

 


 

It’s Not About Being Right

 

One of the great things about being involved in trading education is that it provides me with the ability to chat with a LOT of developing traders.

Common themes appear over time. This is one of them…

"Can you review this trade. It's a trade idea which I thought was good, but it just didn't work out."

They want to know where they failed with their analysis or decision making. They want to know what they did wrong.

But often, there was nothing wrong with their analysis or decision making.

Here's the reality of this game – we won't always get it right.

But we don't have to.

That is not what this game is about.

I can understand it. We're wired that way. We like to win. We don't like to lose.

We like to be right in our analysis and trade decisions. We don't like to be wrong.

And there's a whole technical analysis and trading education industry out there, which promises to "show you how to find winning trades".

But that's not what this game is about.

It's not about being right.

Not EVERY TIME.

It's about profiting over a SERIES OF TRADES.

A series that includes both winning trades AND losing trades.

It's about ensuring that when you are right you take as much out of the market as you can. And when you're wrong you cut the loss as much and as quickly as you can. So that, when the whole series of trades is done, the end result is a profit.

Let's look at a very short series of trades from Wednesday night. It's a sequence in Crude Oil which occurred in the hour immediately following the Crude Oil Inventories report.

This is a very low timeframe. And it's high volatility, fast pace stuff. Don't be put off by that if you trade other markets, other timeframes, or in fact other strategies. The concept still applies. It's not about being right. It's about managing the winners and losers such that you profit over a series of trades.

In this sequence, EVERY TRADE ENTRY DECISION I MADE, EXCEPT ONE, WAS WRONG.

But it still provides a profit.

It's not about being right!

This was the only entry decision that actually worked out according to plan

Arrgggggh! Wrong direction!

Wrong!

Wrong!

And wrong again!

And yet the whole sequence shows a profit!

Stop trying to be right.

Instead, try to find the places on the chart where you can win bigger (when right) than you lose (when wrong).

It's only a slight shift in perspective. But it makes a massive difference in how you see this game.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

Related Articles:

 


 

Why Did I Not Enter Short on Rejection from Resistance?

 

This short article is to share some excellent Q&A following our recent series on "patience".

Check out the prior articles if you missed them:

Part 1 – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/patience-is-a-key-component-of-your-edge-part-1/

Part 2 – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/patience-is-a-key-component-of-your-edge-part-2/

In particular, it relates to last week's trade sequence:

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

 

Q. Why did I not enter SHORT on the initial rejection of session high resistance?

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

I was really happy to get this question. It shows people are thinking!  🙂

Here's an excerpt from the email:

(more…)

A Tactical Withdrawal

 

This short article is to share some excellent Q&A following our recent series on "patience".

Check out the prior articles if you missed them:

Part 1 – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/patience-is-a-key-component-of-your-edge-part-1/

Part 2 – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/patience-is-a-key-component-of-your-edge-part-2/

In particular, it relates to the period of "emotional reaction" in last week's trade sequence:

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

 

Q. Won't I be annoyed if I don't take a third attempt short and the market moves lower without me?

So this is what we're talking about here:

This is what happened

But what if this happened

Would I be annoyed?

(more…)

Patience is a Key Component of your Edge (Part 2)

 

Last week we discussed the idea that PATIENCE plays an important role in trading.

A key component of edge comes from recognising and accepting that you do NOT have to trade every price sequence.

When the bias is unclear, stand aside or trade another market.

When the pace of price flow is too fast or too slow for your liking, stand aside or trade another market.

When the price action is choppy rather than flowing smoothly, stand aside or trade another market.

And we looked at an example in which I waited on the sidelines for over an hour, before finding price movement that was screaming out to be traded. Good pace, good structure and easier to read. Something that I felt nicely in sync with.

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

Check out that article first, if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/patience-is-a-key-component-of-your-edge-part-1/..

So I closed out that article by promising that we would discuss another session in which I did not act with good patience, but instead reacted emotionally and chased opportunity where there was none.

In fact, it happened the day immediately following our prior example.

The session started in a quite similar fashion with a strong bearish drive. My expectations were exactly the same – look for PB/CPB trade opportunity.

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

YTC Price Action Trader references:

The First and Second Principles – Volume 2, Page 145-148

The PB & CPB Setups – Volume 3, Pages 34-40

The market pulled higher to offer the first trade entry.

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

I should have got it. But I didn't.

That's fine. Let it go.

Let's see what follows…

(more…)

Patience is a Key Component of your Edge (Part 1)

 

You might recall this previous article which talks about the fact that the real source of my edge is not my strategy, but rather it's me. The knowledge, the skill and the attitude which I bring to the market each day.

I'd like to touch on a part of this edge today and then again in a followup article next week.

In particular just one simple idea.

The fact that PATIENCE plays a key role in this game.

A key component of my edge is in recognising and accepting that I do NOT have to trade every price sequence.

The same applies to you. You do NOT have to trade every price sequence.

When the bias is unclear, stand aside or trade another market.

When the pace of price flow is too fast or too slow for your liking, stand aside or trade another market.

When the price action is choppy rather than flowing smoothly, stand aside or trade another market.

The game is hard enough. Don't make it any more difficult than it needs to be.

Remain focused. Remain alert. But remain patient.

Watch and wait. If it's not right, stand aside.

And when it is right, when it's screaming out to be traded, attack and destroy that opportunity.

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

YTC Price Action Trader references:

 

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

Patience - you don't have to trade every price sequence

For the lower timeframe view, let's use the YTC Scalper templates for a change. I don't do that often enough. The reasoning behind timing of the entries should be obvious to anyone who uses this variation of the YTC lower timeframes.

(more…)