Tag Archives: Post-Session Procedure

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

 


 

What Puts You In Sync (or Out of Sync) With Price Flow?

 

I sent out the following post via social media earlier this week. It's a theme I've pushed quite a bit over the last few years because I feel it's incredibly important.

No matter what markets you trade. No matter what timeframe you trade. No matter what strategy you trade.

There will be price sequences where you are in sync with the movement and smashing it out of the ballpark.

And there will be price sequences where you are out of sync and just nothing seems to ever go right.

Here's the post:

<image: Not all conditions are equal>

Why is this important?

The quicker you can recognise change to favourable or unfavourable conditions, the quicker you can adapt tactics to suit.

In response to the post, I received the following question on twitter:

  • What are some things one can do to put together a framework for identifying these transitions?

 

Great question!

Here's one thing that you can do…

Before you can study the transitions, you need to know what type of price sequences lead to you underperforming. And which lead to exceptional performance. From that foundation, you can study the transitions in and out of these sequences.

So here is the plan…

Something you might want to consider post-session…

Examine the price sequences where you just couldn't read the market bias!

These are the sequences where you have no idea what is going on. "It's bullish. No… it's bearish. No… wait.. hang on…it's going… damn it! I have no idea at all."

The sooner you can recognise this (and accept it) the sooner you can stand aside and limit damage, waiting until some clarity returns to the market.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in complete uncertainty about the directional bias.

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 sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you found yourself fighting the bias for multiple trades!

These are the sequences in which you were confident that you had picked a market direction, but then got stopped out of one trade… and then another… and maybe more… as you fought what was in reality a completely opposite bias. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. But it's also where we learn. Study these sequences and learn what puts you 180 degrees out of sync.

Post-Session:

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 sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you read the market bias well but just couldn't execute in sync with the market!

These are the sequences in which were 100% spot-on regarding the market bias, but just couldn't get those trades going. Choppy price action leading to hesitation. Or maybe tripping stops and leaving you watch from the sidelines while it goes to the target without you.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in a correct bias but a complete inability to profit from your market read.

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 sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you read the market bias well AND executed well.

These are the sequences in which you just smash it out of the ballpark. Not only can you see the market bias, but every fibre of your being senses it as well. And your timing just fits perfectly.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in A+ trading and clear outperformance.

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 quickly in sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and exploit the situation more quickly in future.

A whole lot of work, but it will pay you back a thousand-fold.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Mindset of a Champion

 

This social media post from last Sunday is just SO IMPORTANT, I thought we should expand upon it and get the ideas out to the whole YTC audience.

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

This is just a perfect example of a growth mindset, viewing losses as feedback that serve to drive further improvement and growth.

There are two things that I love about this.

1. It is SO ACTIONABLE.

Look to your own post-session procedures and ensure that you are approaching your review in the same way.

Serena Williams:

  • "I'm already deciphering what I need to improve on, what I need to do, what I did wrong, why I did it wrong, how I can do better…"

 

Let's make this relevant to our job:

  • What decisions were less than ideal? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What alternate decisions would have improved my performance?
  • What can I do to ensure I make better decisions in the future?

 

2. It finishes with POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT.

After the review is complete and steps for improvement have been identified…

Serena Williams:

  • "OK, I do improve with losses. We'll see how it goes."

 

"I do improve with losses."

Beautiful!

Zero baggage carried forward into the next game.

Consider adding that to your own post-session procedures:

  • "I do improve with losses. Let's see how it goes tomorrow."

 

But Wait… Let's Make this Even Better…

Sunday's post also featured some great points from Nicholas…

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

<image: The Mindset of a Champion>

If you want to be great you cannot settle for "good enough". You need to CONSTANTLY PUSH TO BE GREATER.

So let's improve the earlier post-session review items, ensuring they consider all sessions regardless of whether we outperformed or underperformed.

Step 1:

  • What decisions were less than ideal? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What alternate decisions would have improved my performance?
  • What can I do to ensure I make better decisions in the future?

 

Step 2:

  • What decisions were excellent? (Consider all aspects of today's trading, including your physical, mental and emotional state, your work environment, your ability to analyse the market, to get in sync with the price action, to recognise opportunity and to execute on that opportunity.)
  • Why did I make these decisions?
  • What can I do to ensure I continue to make similar decisions in the future?

 

If you want to be great you cannot settle for "good enough". You need to CONSTANTLY PUSH TO BE GREATER.

Growth will be found at and beyond the edge of your comfort zone.

Welcome the frustration!

Welcome the pain!

Welcome the challenge!

And use it to DRIVE YOURSELF TO HIGHER LEVELS OF PERFORMANCE.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

If you are not growing as a trader, then this is the problem…

 

I received the following message via social media late last year.

  • I am frustrated. Despite all knowledge on stock analysis, momentum indicators, writing journal I make losses. Whereas I know person with nothing of these making huge profits everyday. She goes and buy stock and it would fly higher. When she sells stock would go down. I am beginning to believe in luck.

 

This was my immediate reply:

 

We've covered this topic several times over the last couple of years but I continue to see evidence that more work is required.

Let's examine my response in a little more detail.

First, my writing was "lazy" in suggesting that success is not a result of knowledge. Nor of simply working hard.

Of course, there is some level of knowledge required. And of effort.

I simply made an assumption that the trader had reached adequate levels of both knowledge and effort. Perhaps this is wrong. I have no idea. They mentioned the stock market, but I have no insight into their strategy, their level knowledge, nor their levels of skill.

However, regardless of this deficiency in my reply, the last part is the key.

  • 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.

 

Frustration for someone already possessing the necessary knowledge and effort, will typically be a result of deficiency in strategy, processes or skill.

Regardless of the cause, an effective review process will make this clear.

Ensure your trading process captures sufficient data to provide meaningful feedback.

Ensure your review processes adequately assess this feedback in order to understand the cause of the current results and identify potential areas for growth.

Growth requires an effective feedback loop.

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

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

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.

Ensure your trading process captures sufficient data to provide meaningful feedback.

Ensure your review processes adequately assess this feedback in order to understand the cause of the current results and identify potential areas for growth.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Why You SHOULDN’T Get Anyone to Review Your Trade

 

I receive a LOT of requests to review people's trades. Rarely winning trades. Almost always a trade which either lost or was scratched at or near breakeven.

  • "Was this a good trade?"
  • "Was I right to take this trade?"
  • "Should I have (entered earlier / entered later)?"
  • Or any other variation of these type of questions.

 

I get why. We're all trying to improve and so it makes sense to seek guidance from another trader.

And I don't mind people sending them.It's really cool. I like looking over them.

But I'm very hesitant to offer any real guidance, unless I can see something that is either ridiculously lacking in edge or completely reckless and irresponsible from a money management perspective.

Why?

Not because I don't want to help.

But because I recognise the danger of focusing on one individual trade – the fact that any advice I offer has just as much potential to damage their edge as it does to improve it.

The thing is, I am COMPLETELY LACKING in some very important information.

As discretionary traders, we are ALL unique in so many ways.

Even those who trade based upon my approach and the ideas I share through my site. No-one can become a perfect clone of me. And no-one should expect to. Those who I've seen have the most success are those who intentionally aim to blend some of my ideas and methods with their own. But even those who try to trade "exactly" like I do, I'm always blown away by the variation in how we read the markets and how we exploit edge within that "read".

Everyone is unique.

We all have our own preference for different types of trades. And different environments. The conditions that I find most favourable, might be the conditions in which you struggle the most. The conditions in which I underperform, and which I seek to avoid at all cost, might be the exact conditions that you excel in.

If I try to force you into my view of the markets, based upon review of only ONE SINGLE TRADE, I might completely mess up your trading.

Let's try a really simple example, so that this will hopefully make sense to you.

Let's say for example that I excel in with-trend setups. I feel the price flow really well. I'm in sync with the market. It feels fun. And kind of easy. But at the same time, I tend to grossly underperform whenever I find myself trying to enter counter-trend. I don't read them well. I'm rarely in sync with price movement. It's not fun. And results show it's never easy.

And then let's say you send through a trade. You guessed it – counter-trend. And of course, it lost. And you asked, "Lance, can you share your thoughts on this trade? Can you see where it went wrong and what I should do to improve?"

Have a guess what my immediate thoughts will be.

"Well there's the obvious problem. You're fading the trend. Hey, don't feel bad. Everyone seems to want to fade the market. But the odds are always better in the with-trend direction. Why don't you try to restrict yourself to the with-trend direction instead."

Ok, maybe this would help them. But maybe not.

I don't know this person. I have no insight into their unique blend of knowledge, skill and attitude. I have no insight into their preferred style of trading. Or which market environment or conditions best suit them and their style of trading.

It might be that this trader naturally struggles to trade with-trend. But they have some exceptional and natural skill at recognising exhaustion at the end of a price swing and timing a counter-trend entry for a fade back to the mean (and sometimes a complete reversal).

Yes, this one trade lost. But what if any sample of 20 counter-trend trades from this trader's journal includes not only a number of losses just like this one, but also sufficient winners to not only cover the losses but also provide a nice positive expectancy outcome.

Or (far more likely) if they're still developing and not quite profitable yet, sufficient potential to achieve those winners with only a small amount of further growth and development.

If I convince this trader to abandon their approach, or in fact vary it in any way that seems "obvious" to me from one single trade example, I could be setting them back months as I lead them blindly in the wrong direction.

It doesn't matter if it's me you're asking for the review. Or any other trader.

ONE TRADE is insufficient information for me, or any other trader, to provide you with any real value.

I'm sure this opinion is unpopular. Clearly I expect many will disagree with me.

But that's fine.

Because you shouldn't need to send any single trades through to me. Or to any other educator or trading mentor.

Let me share with you a better plan.

Let me share the response I sent out to a trader this week, who sent me a trade with a few questions about (a) the quality of the trade idea and (b) whether or not he'd be better skipping first entries and waiting instead for second-chance entries.

I'm not picking on this guy. I actually quite like his trade. The entry at least. It didn't reach the target but his timing was good enough that the market offered enough movement and time to scratch the trade or take small profits. (He got out at breakeven so no harm done).

I share this (with his permission) simply because I thought my response was important. I wanted to share it with all of you.

This trader says he's coming along quite well. In his words, he's "finally starting to see how this might work". He's found a method that seems to fit his personality, but is still requiring improvement in some areas.

The following chart shows the trade sometime well after the entry. It was eventually scratched for breakeven. The notes have been added by me.

It's not actually important you see his trade. It's my response that's important. But hey… no-one likes trading articles that don't have a chart in them. So here it is:

<image: Breakout Failure Entry>

Here's an excerpt from my email response (with a little editing to improve it):

– – –

These are difficult questions to answer. Let me explain why.

What if I tell you not to take these trades because I don't like factors a, b & c. But what if also I don't see factors x, y & z, that you do see. It might be that you're good at picking these trades in which 6 out of 10 may fail, but 4 out of 10 may go on to give 5R winners. If I tell you not to take them, I could be destroying an edge that you have but which I just cannot see.

(An example here would be… what if I told you not to take counter-trend trades because they're far more difficult… stick to with-trend trades. But I'm basing this off one single trade example. Where it could be the fact that you're quite skilled in picking the turn points and do have an edge over a longer series of trades. If I tell you not to take them, I could be destroying an edge that you have but which I just cannot see from one single trade example.)

Analysis of one trade is largely irrelevant. Look to stats for groups of trades.

When you have group stats then you can look for what is working and what needs to be changed. Without that foundation I'm just poking around in the dark. I'm lacking context with regards to the desired outcome.

So, my question to you is, based upon your 20 trade stats analysis, what part of your trading are you trying to improve? And why? Only then will analysis of this one trade make any sense.

I'm not blowing off your question. You're seeking answers in the wrong place. (I really need to do further training on how to grow and develop. Almost everyone gets this wrong.)

For a good starting point, until I get time to prepare this training, see these articles for a simple example of how to guide your growth and development:

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level/

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level-examples/

Perhaps here as well:

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/consistency-its-a-necessary-part-of-the-process/

So here's a better plan:

  • Get absolutely clear with how you want to trade the next group of trades. 20 minimum, but feel free to adjust that number higher if you prefer. I'll use 20 in the example. As much detail as you can – what type of trades are you taking? What are you trying to achieve in taking these trades?
  • Now take 20 trades. Your individual post-trade review is not important, beyond just confirming CONSISTENCY in sticking to your plan. By all means look deeper into each trade if you wish, but the priority is just to ensure that you're achieving some degree of consistency in your trade sample.
  • Don't concern yourself with profit or loss (providing of course you're not breaking any risk or money management drawdown limits).
  • On completing the full sample, analyse the statistics related to the full group of 20. There are no shortage of stats, but the absolute minimum should be the Win% and the Win/Loss Size Ratio (WLSR) (or it's component parts being the Average Win and Average Loss).
  • Find where you are underperforming. Which statistic is most in need of improvement. If you're underperforming in multiple areas, pick one for now.
  • Dig into the individual trades and charts comprising your 20 trade sample to understand WHY they gave that statistical outcome. And WHAT you can do to improve that outcome in the next 20 trade sample.
  • If you wish (and I highly recommend this) the same can be done for any area which really outperformed this time. Find out why and see if there is anything you can do which increases the likelihood of similar outperformance in future.
  • Now repeat.

 

This is the path.

Most people just trade, review that trade, and then move on to the next trade and repeat the process. Progress is very difficult this way, as you get bogged down in individual trade problems, when they might not be an issue that impacts edge at all when considering a larger sample.

Trade larger samples. Look to the stats. And use them to drive your trade review process and define the path forward.

You don't need to ask my opinion. Anything I offer. based upon one single trade, risks being irrelevant or wrong when considering a larger sample of trades.

Plus, you have all the necessary information. The group stats will identify the area that needs examining. And the charts and journal data will provide the information necessary to understand what happened, why and what needs to be done to improve.

If stuck… sure… seek advice. But it's got to be based upon larger group stats analysis and not just ONE SINGLE individual trade.

So take 20 trades and examine the stats.

Find the underperforming statistic (Win%, Average Win or Average Loss). Look to the trade data to find out why it produced this outcome. And what can be done to improve.

Trade larger samples. Look to the stats. And use them to drive your trade review process and define the path forward.

I hope that helps.

Now, having said this, let me just finish up with a few thoughts that do somewhat answer your questions.

I do actually quite like your trade location and entry. I'd like to think I might have taken an entry there as well.

And yes, second chance entries are often a much better trade. The problem with waiting for a second chance entry is that you miss a lot of good trades though, when the first entry might have worked. Hence my preference for scratching a first trade when I suspect it's not working, but watching closely for re-entry opportunity if there is another one set up. Maybe you could consider something similar. This does has it's own downside, in that sometimes I scratch and can't get back in. Ha ha. Nothing's ever easy in this game.

Summary: Again, I actually do quite like the trade idea and entry (original and second chance). But this is all irrelevant. Take 20 or more of these trades and look at the stats. Does it provide edge? If not, where do the stats suggest underperformance? Why? And then what can you do to improve the performance over the next 20 trades.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

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

 


 

Reviewing Key Price Action Sequences

A great way to learn to read price action is to review your historical price charts, with a focus on the price action at key structural locations.

Find and review anything which fits these categories.

  • tests of significant levels
  • breaks of significant levels
  • traps
  • transitions between trends and ranges
  • transitions from volatility contraction to expansion
  • and in fact anything else that stands out on the chart

 

Each day, identify a key price sequence.

Study it and learn.

It only takes a minute.

Let's look at an example in which Crude Oil breaks higher in Monday's session, into layered levels of range resistance, before falling back into the range.

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Post-Session Chart Review

We recently shared some post-trade reviews from Josh, who is doing exceptional work in creating a trade review journal for his longer timeframe forex trading (daily charts).

See the trade reviews here if you missed them: http://www.yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/Trade-Review-Examples/

But a trade review journal is not the only option you have.

Today I'd like to share a chart that came to me with some email Q&A, from Greg, who also operates in the forex markets but on much shorter timeframes.

What I like about this is the fact that Greg produces a chart like this after EVERY session. He keeps them in a personal blog; but you could do the same via any journaling application or even printouts stored in a binder. 

Greg displays the trading timeframe chart overlayed with the following information:

  • Key support and resistance levels

  • One or two key price action or market structure observations (eg. something that stands out with regards strength / weakness analysis, traps or price interaction with key levels)

  • Setup opportunity (with a hindsight bias)

(more…)

Trade Review Examples

The following trade review examples have been taken (with permission) from some email conversations with Josh, a trader of the YTC Price Action Trader methodology.

He's still in the early stages of his development, developing confidence in his strategy and processes through historical chart review. He's doing this using ForexTester software which allows for trading of historical charts as if it were a live market environment.

Josh has been making tremendous progress. The two most recent months results were as follows:

March:

  • 25 trades
  • 16 winners
  • 9 losers
  • Average win: $249.42
  • Average loss: $141.94
  • win%: 64%
  • win/loss size ratio: 1.75 : 1

April:

  • 13 trades
  • 9 winners
  • 4 losers
  • Average win: $401.72
  • Average loss: $190.28
  • win%: 69%
  • win/loss size ratio: 2.11 : 1

In both cases the win percentage is really healthy. And the winners are significantly larger than the losers. Too many people over-analyse their individual loses in attempt to avoid them in future. By all means analyse them and improve your knowledge and skill. But accept as well that you'll always have losses. And as long as you manage them, as Josh has been doing (ensuring they're cut short and that the winners are held for larger profits) then the losses are quite acceptable.

What is not to love about those stats. Josh has a great edge here… evidenced as well by the nicely rising equity curves for each month, and the distribution graph showing larger bars on the winning size (also included in his email but not shown here).

This is great trading.

My advice to him: Continue exactly as he's been going.Set this as his benchmark (or even set slightly worse) and continue from here aiming for consistency in results. If he can maintain this approximate performance for another 18 hindsight based months, I'd want to then see him transition to forward testing. (Note: a month of hindsight based trading using forextester does NOT take a month… just in case you were worried about how long this might take!)

But that's not the point of this article!

Rather, I want to talk about a key part of the process that Josh used to get to this point.

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How Could I Have Analysed This Better?

Here's an example of someone who's coming along quite nicely with their development as a trader.

The following two images are from a YTC Price Action Trader reader who sent an email, asking the following:

I'm not sure if this method of thinking can be used to go against my premise in the future? What I was really wanting to see was a spring bear trap to go long.

Thank you Lance

B.M.

reader analysis - image 1

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