Tag Archives: Growth

What if you Redefined your Primary Role as a Discretionary Trader?

 

Most discretionary traders see their job like this:

<image: What if you redefined your primary role as a trader?>

What if you switched this around a bit?

What if you redefined your job as follows:

<image: What if you redefined your primary role as a trader?>

Is it possible that relentless focus and commitment to the processes and routines which guide your decision making and behaviour… might just see improvement in the actual trading results?

This doesn't mean we're no longer discretionary traders. Discretion can be built into processes. But how we come about our trade decisions, is standardised and made as consistent as possible.

The following post was shared recently on social media:

<image: What if you redefined your primary role as a trader?>

Essentially, we're expanding upon this idea.

For each of the areas listed in that post, we aim to:

  • Seek excellence in development of routines and processes for carrying out that role, and
  • Seek consistency in implementing the routines and processes.

 

It's said, "That which is measured, improves".

But ONLY if that which is measured is applied consistently.

And consistency will only occur if the process is clearly defined.

So maybe consider a little shift in how you define your role as a trader.

Primary role: Development, out-of-session, of world-best routines and processes for (a) finding and exploiting edge, and (b) reviewing and driving growth.

Secondary role: Trading, for the purpose of implementation, validation and testing of the routines and processes, defined above.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Thoughts Leading into the New Year

 

My performance last year… NO LONGER MATTERS.

WHAT MATTERS… IS WHAT I DO RIGHT NOW!

I am scheduling time during my Christmas and New Year break for three major areas of focus:

1. REST

I don't yet know the challenges that I'll face in the new year, but I know that I will be ready.

As the opening bell rings on day one, I will be primed for peak performance.

Physically, mentally and emotionally recharged.

Confident, alert and FOCUSED.

2. REVIEW

I don't yet know the market conditions that I'll face in the new year, but I know that I will be ready.

And I will have learnt from the lessons of the past.

My performance and process reviews will have identified both successes and failures.

That which I did poorly… I'll know exactly how to improve.

And that which I did well… I'll know exactly how to do better.

3. PREPARE

I don't yet know the price sequences that I'll face in the new year, but I know that I will be ready.

Clearly defined goals.

Clearly defined routines.

All set for quality decision making and process-driven focus, no matter what the markets throw at me.

Rest… review… and prepare!

When the new year comes… I'll be ready.

Will you?

Lance Beggs

<image: Rest - Review - Prepare> 

 


 

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/

 


 

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.

 


 

Chasing Performance

 

Here's a little post-session exercise which may help stretch your performance to "never-before-reached" profit levels.

Pick a target just above your all-time-high for a trading session. Whatever that is – $100, $500, $1000, $5000 or more.

And ask yourself the following.

Looking at the chart for today's session, with the benefit of hindsight, how could I have achieved an all-time high in profits?

It's not about beating yourself up for having failed to reach new highs. Most days you won't reach them.

But it's about pushing yourself. Never settling for mediocrity. Always stretching to achieve more.

Look at the chart. Look at your trades.

Were there were price sequences which you failed to see? Is there some way you could you have captured them?

Were there price sequences in which you underperformed? Could you have taken more out of the move? Could you have increased size somehow? Could you have re-entered if stopped out? Could you have extended the targets or trailed price differently?

If you somehow did manage to squeeze all the profits out of your strategy that day, then ask if there were other ways could you have viewed price and profited? Operate from an assumption that there WAS some way to have achieved new all-time highs today. NOW FIND IT.

And just maybe… next time… you'll take the lessons learnt and actually push through to achieve these new levels of performance.

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

LWP Reference (for those who want to review the concept) – Vol 3, Ch 4, pp 72-77

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

Post-session:

Consider your outcome. And compare it with your all-time high.

Review the charts and find ways you could have stretched yourself to never-before achieved levels of performance.

Perhaps next time, this exercise might just help you reach the new target.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Slow, Steady, Incremental Progress

 

Excerpt from an email from J.L.

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

 

Let's write one now…

Do NOT rush.

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

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

So aim for slow, steady, incremental progress.

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

 

Stage 1 – Historical Chart Study

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Stage 2 – Simulation – Proving Edge

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

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

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stage 3 – Live Environment – Proving Edge

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

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

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

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stage 4 – Live Environment – Improving Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

Two final points here.

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

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

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

Best of luck with your journey.

Remember, there is no hurry.

Slow and steady!

Incremental progress!

Lance Beggs

 


 

What if you Narrowed Your Focus?

 

For those day traders who might be stuck in a cycle of continual failure… what if you narrowed your focus?

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

Some days there might be no opportunity. That's fine.

Other days there might only be one trade opportunity. Again that is fine.

The idea is that this is not necessarily a permanent change to your trading.

It's simply a narrowing of focus to ONE key segment of the trading session.

Master this one key segment – the opening hour.

Prove you have edge in managing the opening sequences of your trading session.

And only then expand to further opportunity.

Let's look at another session:

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

And again:

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

<image: What if you narrowed your focus?>

For those who trade differently, whether through higher timeframes or multiple markets or in fact any other difference, see if you can adapt the same general concept to your own trading.

Narrow your focus. Build expertise and prove edge in ONE key sequence at a time, or ONE market at a time, or ONE A+ setup type. Whatever works for you.

Narrow your focus.

And fight to get off that cycle of continual failure.

Best of luck,

Lance Beggs

 


 

30 Days to Becoming a Better Trader

 

Before departing on holidays recently I preloaded Facebook and Twitter with 30 posts to help improve your trading business.

And it seems that people loved them. I had a few requests to put them all together in one group.

So here they are. (Also in PDF form here if you prefer – http://www.yourtradingcoach.com/products/ebooks/30-days-to-becoming-a-better-trader.pdf)

They're all quite simple. Just 30 questions to get you thinking about your trading business. If something catches your attention, explore the idea deeper. It might lead nowhere. But it might also lead to improvements in process or even new sources of edge.

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

<image: 30 days to becoming a better trader>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Never Stop Experimenting

 

Growth never stops.

Schedule some time to play. To experiment. To explore.

Often it will lead nowhere.

But sometimes it might create new insights which transform your trading and your life.

Persistent thought 1: "Is there any reason why I have to wait till 0930ET (12:30am my time)? When "life" allows, why don't I trade the currencies from 0800 to 0930 and then shift across to my normal market?"

Persistent thought 2: "I really need to explore the idea of scaling in – spreading an entry across a zone rather than going all-in."

If you're like me you'll find thoughts and ideas repeatedly competing for your attention.

Don't discard them. Their might be gold in those ideas.

But don't let them distract you from your main job of trading your current defined strategy.

Schedule some time outside of normal work hours for play and experimentation.

You never know what you'll discover.

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

<image: Never Stop Experimenting>

Persistent thought 1: "Is there any reason why I have to wait till 0930ET (12:30am my time)? When "life" allows, why don't I trade the currencies from 0800 to 0930 and then shift across to my normal market?"

I enjoyed this. It's been quite a long time since my last play with currencies.

And while life doesn't usually allow me to be ready for trading by 11pm, I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn't consider trading the currencies on those odd occasions when it does. It certainly beats sitting and waiting for another hour and a half.

Persistent thought 2: "I really need to explore the idea of scaling in – spreading an entry across a zone rather than going all-in."

I've tried this several times in the past, but always abandoned it. It's clear my strength is precision entries, all-in, with imperfection managed through scratching and re-entering as required.

And yet the idea keeps persisting. I will likely play with this more, as time allows. But I have to make sure that when I feel the trade tipping in my favour, I've got to get full size on.

In any case… today's goal of simply experimenting in the hour and a half prior to the US emini open… was a resounding success.

If you're like me you'll find thoughts and ideas repeatedly competing for your attention.

Don't discard them. Their might be gold in those ideas.

But don't let them distract you from your main job of trading your current defined strategy.

Schedule some time outside of normal work hours for play and experimentation.

You never know what you'll discover.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs