Category Archives: Trading Process and Strategy

Trading Process and Strategy – In this category we discuss all aspects of the trading process, including: (a) Technical analysis, (b) Trade Strategy, (c) Identification of trade opportunity, (d) Trade entry, (e) Trade management and exit.

If you find yourself out of your trade, the reality is that you won’t always find a way back in!

 

Hindsight analysis is always suspect. Our normal human biases have us believing that we would have made the optimal trade decisions. After all, they always look so simple with the benefit of hindsight.

So I'm always hesitant to provide my thoughts on someone else's trade review.

But it's the Christmas / New Year week and I'm feeling too lazy to think up a new article, so sharing some email Q&A solves that problem for me.

And it provides a good lesson – if you find yourself out of a trade, for whatever reason, the reality is that you won't always find a way back in.

If you've scratched a trade to reassess and decide that there is still potential, unless you're just willing to enter at market then and there, or place a limit order at some point closer to the stop area, you might not find a way to re-enter. Pattern triggers may not eventuate.

And that's fine. Review the decision that led to the initial scratching. And move on.

I scratch trades a lot. If I doubt a trade, I'll reduce risk through either a partial or full exit, and then reassess. If I'm happy with the premise, I'll look to get back in. But sometimes… there is no good way to get back in.

In developing as a trader and discovering whether you better fit the passive set and forget trade management style, or a more active style such as I use, this is a factor that you need to consider. If you find yourself out of your trade, the reality is that you won't always find a way back in.

Anyway, here's the Q&A from a trader who recently asked me to review one of their EUR/USD trades, in which they took profits early but then were unable to get back in.

The question was sent to me in image chart form. It's displayed here in smaller format, in order to fit. If you click on the image it will open a full-size version in your browser. All following images are already full size.

INITIAL QUESTION:

You won't always find a way back in

 

REPLY:

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in

You won't always find a way back in 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

“But it’s scary!” “What if it fails?”

 

I received some interesting comments about a trade in a recent article – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Here's an image from the article, showing the entry SHORT against a single wide-range bullish candle.

Single candle pullback

Review the original article if you want to see the context behind the trade.

For now though, I want to discuss some concerns that a few people expressed. Because I imagine there are a whole lot more who felt the same thing.

The feedback was quite varied in nature.

A couple of people really "got it". They understood that while the candle appears to show great bullish strength, the internal movement didn't necessarily suggest that was the case.

But many more expressed concern, either commenting on the post or via email. Some short extracts:

  • "I don't understand, how you are comfortable to take up the 2nd setup"
  • "But it's scary."
  • "What if it fails?"

 

I get it!

Here's the thing…

YES…

It is scary if all you see is the strong bullish candle.

BUT…

It's in a good contextual location. It has a good R:R. And I don't just place a limit order and let it get overrun. I'm watching and waiting to see some inability to continue further before placing the entry order.

SOME IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • These are some of the toughest trades that I do take (from a psychological perspective).
  • They're simple in concept. But they are not easy.
  • They're not for new traders.
  • If you're not comfortable with them, don't take them. Stick to the easier ones. But learn from them. Maybe take note of them when you do see them and then study them post-session. As you gain experience it might be something you one day add to your game plan.
  • Again… let me reinforce the last point. You don't have to trade these if your skill level is not ready for them. There are much easier setups available.

 

I went looking for something similar over the last fortnight, so that we could work through another example. But there hasn't really been a great example since then.

But then I thought maybe this one will help.

The context is different. But the fear is much the same.

Whenever I've posted these type of trades in the past I tend to get much the same feedback – "There is no way you can enter here!", "You're stepping in front of a freight train!", "It's too scary!", "But what if it fails?"

One other thing I like about this example is that it slows the process down, with the end of the pullback occurring over 3 candles. This might make things a little easier to see.

So anyway… here it is…

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

As we discussed here in these articles, until I see evidence of the break lower holding these levels, I'm expecting a break like this to fail.

 

It's a simple shift in mindset that makes these traps easier to enter.

Of course, it's never completely comfortable.

The move down to the level does display some bearish strength. And as readers of my ebook series will note, I'm not a fan of fading strength.

But in the case of a break of a level like this, at the end of a long move, it's the behaviour of price AFTER THE BREAK that really matters.

Will price show continued bearish strength and drop like a ton of bricks? Or will it stall and then break back higher?

As I noted earlier, I do NOT just place a limit order in a situation such as this and hope that it all works out ok.

I watch. I wait. And if I see evidence that the selling is perhaps all done, only then will I consider entry.

Let's move forward and see what happens.

But it's scary! What if it fails?

But it's scary! What if it fails?

Here's the outcome:    (clearly underperforming when you see the TTF eventually break to new highs… but still it's a good trade!)

But it's scary! What if it fails?

I mentioned earlier…

It's in a good contextual location. It has a good R:R. And I don't just place a limit order and let it get overrun. I'm watching and waiting to see some inability to continue further before placing the entry order.

This applied with the trade two weeks ago.

And it applied with today's trade.

This is what gives me confidence to enter.

And if it fails?

So what? It's one trade.

If it loses, I'll keep the loss small.

This is not a game of certainty. The market environment is uncertain. Some trades will win. Some will lose. Work to keep the average loss smaller than the average win.

But it's scary! What if it fails?

Let's wrap up…

Yes, it's hard to enter against a break. Or against a strong single candle pullback.

If you're not comfortable with this, stand aside and wait for something easier. But observe them. Make decisions as you watch them live. And take notes. Study them post-session. As you gain confidence, you might want to consider sim trading a few. And eventually trying them live (small size).

But if it's in a good contextual location. And if the R:R is acceptable. Then watch. And wait. And if price shows that it's given all it's got, and appears unable to move any further in the pullback direction, then take the trade.

Manage it.

Keep the losses tight. And if it wins, then squeeze it for all the profits you can get.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Other Trader (4)

 

Let's continue with the metagame concepts discussed in recent months.

Here – The Other Trader
Here – The Other Trader (2)
Here – The Other Trader (3)
Here – Metagame Trading

And of course based upon concepts from here: YTC Price Action Trader

Here is the basic idea…

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

Here's how we do it.

 

1

Identify a potential trap

 

Identify a potential trap

Identify a potential trap

Identify a potential trap

Identify a potential trap

Identify a potential trap

 

1

Feel the pain

 

Feel the pain

Feel the pain

Feel the pain

 

1

Spring the trap

 

Spring the trap

For those with the YTC Price Action Trader:

  • Setup – See Volume 3, Chapter 4, Pages 28 to 31
  • Entry trigger – See Volume 3, Chapter 4, Page 87, Figure 4.63 (third entry in the table)

 

If you're not achieving the results you wish to achieve, consider placing more thought towards who is on the other side of your trade.

It may be the paradigm shift you're seeking to take your trading to new levels.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Using Pre-Session Data to Confirm Levels

 

The following text and image were shared recently through both the YTC facebook and twitter pages.

  • My first action on Monday mornings upon opening my charting platform…

 

My first action on Monday mornings upon opening my charting platform...

Actually, it's one of the first things I do every day.

This is the key part we're discussing today:

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

Let's stick with the same timeframe but move forward to the market open at 09:30am.

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

Sometimes analysis of pre-session data offers nothing at all to confirm the relevance of previous session levels.

Sometimes it will allow us to invalidate these levels, when we see price slice through them with absolutely no reaction at all.

And sometimes, like in this case, it helps to validate a level as being still "potentially" significant.

Friday's low will be on my mind as I commence trading today.

Let's see how the opening sequences played out on the trading timeframe.

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

(If you're not sure what I'm looking for, see here to find out how I trade!)

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

Using pre-session data to confirm levels

Sometimes analysis of pre-session data offers nothing at all to confirm the relevance of previous session levels.

Sometimes it will allow us to invalidate these levels, when we see price slice through them with absolutely no reaction at all.

And sometimes, like in this case, it helps to validate a level as being still "potentially" significant.

If you prefer to trade with RTH data (pit session data) in order to take advantage of opening gaps, that is absolutely fine.

But at least take a quick look at the ETH data (overnight). See where it has traded with respect to the prior day. Where did it find movement quite easy. And where did it find did it find support or resistance.

This might just provide important information that can help once the opening bell has rung and trading has commenced.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Wait till the Reversal Trader is Trapped

 

I am quite a fan of Al Brooks' first book, "Reading Price Charts Bar by Bar", despite the fact that we trade very differently.

Out of close to 400 pages, there is the one idea which has stuck with me more than any other. From page 384:

"Countertrend setups in strong trends almost always fail and become great With Trend setups…"

The idea is simple.

In a strong trend you will find all manner of reasons to suspect that the trend is ready for reversal. And you'll find yourself easily tempted to enter counter-trend.

But more often than not, it's a trap.

When you feel this strong desire to trade counter-trend, do NOT trade. Be comforted by the fact that others will notice it as well. And that they'll enter.

Then watch their position, waiting patiently until they're trapped.

The failure of their counter-trend position will often provide a great entry for you, back in the with-trend direction.

Those who trade the YTC Price Action Trader methodology will be very familiar with this concept – timing our entry off the failure of "the other trader".

This concept came to mind on Tuesday, as I felt a strong desire to enter counter-trend against a strong bearish trend in NQ.

Let's look at the charts.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Don't fade a strong trend... wait for the trap and enter with-trend.

Actually, I'm not happy with the exit decisions. But that's something for me to explore in my trade review process.

In terms of setup and entry… I love this one.

"Countertrend setups in strong trends almost always fail and become great With Trend setups…"

Keep this in mind next time the price bars scream out for you to fade a strong trend.

Is it actually a trap?

And is better opportunity perhaps available if you stand aside and wait for the "other traders" to be caught?

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Open Drive – First Pullback

 

When the market drives in one direction straight from the open, I’m ALWAYS watching the first pullback for trade opportunity.

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

Open drive - first pullback

A strong open drive might only happen a couple of times a month.

But when it happens, I'm ALWAYS watching the first pullback for trade opportunity.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trader Performance Drills – Part Two

 

It's six years since we last looked at this topic. Wow!

So it's definitely time to revisit it.

Check out the prior article if you want to see the original drills – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/trader-performance-drills/

Today we'll discuss a drill that I've quite enjoyed from time to time over the last six months whenever I've had a spare hour or so to "play".

It provides practice and learning opportunity in real-time assessment of context and market bias. And like all good practice drills you'll received rapid feedback on your decisions.

In particular this drill works to develop the following skills:

Entry:

  • Skill in timing an entry close to the turning point through recognition of signs that either (a) the context suggests further movement is unlikely, or (b) the nature of price movement suggests that the move has exhausted it's potential.

 

Trade Management & Exit:

  • Skill in contextual placement of price targets.
  • Skill in real-time assessment of the ongoing validity of these targets, or the need to amend them.
  • Skill in real-time recognition of danger and the need to either partially reduce risk or immediately scratch a position.

 

Let's set it up…

 

The Chart Overlay

  • Open a five minute chart. Clear it of all indicators and overlays.
  • Add an EMA(5) based upon the high price (not close price). I colour it green but this is not important to the drill.
  • Add an EMA(5) based upon the low price (not close price). I colour it red but this is not important to the drill.

 

The result is a very tight channel around price as shown in the image below.

The chart overlay

The indicator parameters

 

The Performance Drill

Open your Market Replay application.

Select any random date and time.

Now trade with the following plan:

(a) You can ONLY enter trades at or beyond the channel boundaries. You can ONLY enter short ABOVE the channel. You can ONLY enter long BELOW the channel.

(b) EXIT TRADES anywhere you feel necessary in order to both minimise loss and maximise gain.

(c) AIM TO PROFIT over whatever series of trades you complete during this drill exercise.

Entry zone - short

Entry zone - long

Exit as necessary to minimise loss...

... but also to maximise gain.

Additional notes:

1. By all means examine your usual charts alongside this. Feel free to refer to your usual higher and trading timeframe charts for context. And your usual lower timeframe chart to fine-tune your decision making. Market internals or orderflow tools are fine as well. In fact… whatever you normally use for your trading is absolutely fine for this drill. The 5 min EMA channel only provides the limits to the buy and sell areas.

2. I highly recommend speeding up the replay at all times except in the entry zone. For entry, set the real speed so that you can "feel" the movement of price as it would feel in a live environment.

3. You do NOT have to enter on every excursion beyond the channel. In some cases you will miss it anyway as price just tags the channel and moves back away from it. In other cases it would be wise to stand aside, such as fading a strongly directional market. Avoiding a very low probability trade is a good decision!

4. Stop losses – I like to keep this tight in order to practice timing the entry as close as I can to the extremes. I set them at around half the width of the channel. NOTE: Re-entry is always an option if you get stopped out.

5. Remember – the aim is not to profit on every trade. Just like real trading, we aim to profit over the larger series of trades. So take your losses but keep them small. One or two winners should more than compensate for these losing trades.

 

Real-time Contextual Decision Making

At times this will be easy.

At other times, it will be quite a challenge.

Your only restriction is that you must enter at or beyond the channel boundary. Ideally with quite a tight stop.

Everything else is open to your best judgment, based upon your assessment of context and real-time reading of market bias.

How will you enter?

Will you place a limit order and let it be hit? Sometimes this will give incredible entries. Other times you will be run over, if you misjudged how far price would extend beyond the channel.

Will you wait to see how price behaves beyond the channel before entering at market? Sometimes this will result in a missed trade, when price just tags the entry zone and rapidly moves back into the channel.

Will you scale in? Or go all in on one single entry?

There is no right or wrong.

Just play!

And learn!

That's the beauty of the replay tool, allowing you maximum trade entry and management decisions by speeding up the data in-between trade opportunities.

And in providing rapid feedback to each and every decision you make.

This is not something you will do every day. No-one has time for that. But from time to time when you find yourself with an hour or two available, and a desire to play with some historical price charts, go for it.

And who knows… if you enjoy this you might just be able to expand the rule-set and create a whole trading methodology out of it.  🙂

Other markets

Other markets

Other markets

And other timeframes

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

You WILL Have Trade Sequences Where You Are Out Of Sync With The Market

 

Let's examine the opening hour and a half of the emini Dow from Tuesday's session.

As seen in the charts below, the session commenced with a sequence of trades where I was out of sync with the bias of the market. And then another when I was completely in tune with the market.

You WILL have trade sequences where you are out of sync with the market.

So you'd better learn to recognise this ASAP in order to minimise any damage.

Ok, so the sequence where I was out of sync still resulted in a small profit. That's cool. I'm certainly not complaining.

But the fact is that there is potential for significant damage to an account balance if you don't quickly recognise and adapt to this "out of sync" issue. In the past, I'd usually take several losses out of a sequence like this, typically trying to fade the move two or three times before giving up in frustration.

So, there are some lessons to be learnt.

First though… what exactly was going on that resulted in me being out of sync with the bias?

Let's start with the daily and 30 minute charts, in order to get some context.

You WILL have trade sequences where you are out of sync with the market.

You WILL have trade sequences where you are out of sync with the market.

You WILL have trade sequences where you are out of sync with the market.

There is a saying in the trading industry:

  • "Trade what you see, not what you think"

 

What this means is… since I can see the the market is moving higher with a BULLISH bias then I should trade from the LONG direction. It doesn't matter at all what I think the market should be doing. Trade what I see.

And yes, normally that is not a problem. I'm usually ok with dropping my expectations and trading in accordance with the market bias.

But not this day. The feeling was too strong.

And although I was able to enter LONG on two really good signals, I just wasn't able to hold. The trades were scratched for small profits.

So I decided to stand aside and wait for the market to turn.  (Accepting of course that if it just trended higher all day then I'd miss the bulk of the move. No problems. I'm fine with that.)

As a discretionary trader, you WILL have trade sequences in which you're completely out of sync with the market movement. It's a fact!

This internal feeling of unease WILL act as an input to your decision making. And it will influence both entry and trade management decisions.

Your job is to learn to recognise this as quickly as possible. And if you can't shift to the correct bias then take immediate action to mitigate the risk. Otherwise… you may find yourself quickly on the way to your session drawdown limit.

Set a trigger to catch yourself as soon as possible, when you do find yourself fighting the market.

One of our recent articles is perfect for this – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/two-attempts-then-reassess/

After two poor trades… pause and reassess.

Is your gut feeling about market direction causing you problems? If so, take action to limit the risk.

Possible actions:

  • Reduce position size for all further trades.
  • Limit trade direction to the with-trend direction only, and adopt a passive hands-off trade management style. Set the trade and walk away.
  • Or… best of all… just stand aside and wait for something easier. You don't have to trade every day. There is always more opportunity coming along in future.

 

You should aim to stack the odds as much as possible in your favour. A MASSIVE part of that is having a good read on market bias.

So you'd better learn to recognise this ASAP in order to minimise any damage.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

PS. To take it to the next level, consider adding this to your post-session routine:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in multiple attempts to trade the market from the wrong side.

2. Review the conditions – market structure, price action and human performance factors – which may have influenced your decision making.

3. Document your findings.

4. Over time, you'll start to identify those conditions which have the potential to put you out of step with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

 

 


 

Where Price Can’t Go

 

I'm always VERY interested in these places on the chart – the places where price can't go. The places where it tries… it pushes… but it just can't go there.

This is opportunity.

Let's start with the Higher Timeframe chart…

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Let's switch now to the trading timeframe… 

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Where Price Can't Go...

Reference… this is a BOF Setup as described in YTC Price Action Trader Volume 3, page 28.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading the Retest of a Point of Structural Change

 

One of our aims in trading the financial markets is to make sure that we're trading in the right places on the price chart.

Places which make sense when viewed from the perspective of the psychology of the market participants.

Places which make sense when viewed from the perspective of the structure of the market.

Today we look at one of these places – the retest of a point of structural change.

We've addressed this concept briefly in the past. If you haven't seen this prior article you may wish to review it first.

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/retesting-the-point-of-structural-change/

The prior article summarised the concept as follows: 

Retesting the point of structural change

All examples in that article dealt with structural patterns on the trading timeframe.

But the same concept can be applied across a much larger time scale, with trade opportunity found as markets retest a point of higher timeframe structural change.

That was the idea behind the following trade.

We'll start by examining a much higher timeframe in order to see the structure develop over the prior four days.

Retesting the point of structural change

Volatility contraction is never fun to trade. Monday was slow and boring. Tuesday was worse.

But in the back of my mind at these times is an expectation that this volatility contraction must end at some stage.

And the expansion of volatility on a break from these patterns can provide great
trading conditions.

So let's move forward to Wednesday to see how the breakout eventually occurs. And to see whether or not it then offers us a nice BPB setup entry long.

Retesting the point of structural change

Damn! We missed it.

Or maybe not?

Let's move ahead 30 minutes into Wednesday's session.

Retesting the point of structural change

From a structural perspective, this is a beautiful place to be seeking opportunity long. Previous resistance often provides support once broken and retested.

From the metagame perspective, it's also a beautiful place to be seeking opportunity long.

Anyone with a bullish bias who missed the overnight breakout has now been gifted an ideal "second chance" entry opportunity.

Those already holding a long position have been provided an ideal scenario to add to their position.

And for those who managed to get short from the open on Wednesday, the market is at the ideal area for profit taking (ie. buy orders).

There is good reason to be buying here.

Let's look to the trading timeframe to see how it played out.

(more…)