Tag Archives: Review Process

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! (Part 2)

 

Last week we looked at a simple method for classifying trades based upon a post-session assessment as to (a) whether or not the trade idea did offer edge, and (b) how well we performed in managing the trade.

Let's repeat the key points from that article (or click here to review it in full).

During your post-session review you classify them into one of three categories:

  • The Good – Trade ideas which DID have edge and were well managed.
  • The Bad – Trade ideas which DID have edge but were either poorly entered or poorly managed.
  • The Ugly – Trade ideas which DID NOT have edge.

 

Our aim is to seek constant improvement in our stats. When analysing the stats associated with larger groups of trades (20 minimum), we look for the following:

  • The Good – We want more of these. Always be aiming to increase the percentage of The Good within any sample of trades. And to increase the profit they provide.
  • The Bad – We want less of these. Always be aiming to decrease the percentage of The Bad within any sample of trades. And to reduce the damage they do to P&L.
  • The Ugly – Ideally, we aim for NONE of these. That might be tough. But it's the goal.

 

It's a continual striving for improvement in skill and expertise.

And of course we drive our performance improvement through an effective review process:

The Good:

  • How can I ensure I take more of these in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this could be one of The Good? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • How could I have have performed even better? Was there any way to have increased size (assuming you scale in and out)? Was there any time or place at which I could have added to the position? Was there reason to extend the targets even further?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Bad:

  • In what way did I underperform with this trade?
  • Why did this occur?
  • How can I ensure I do less of this in future?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which impacted upon my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Ugly:

  • How can I ensure I avoid these trades in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this WAS NOT A VALID TRADE? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • Why was I not aware of this at the time?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

In last week's article we reviewed on trade which I classified as one of "The Good" (click here to see the trade review again).

Now let's go on with one of "The Bad".

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

So technically, we had a sideways trend and I should be looking only for opportunity LONG off the lower range support and SHORT off the upper range resistance.

But here's where it gets a little more difficult.

In discussing the trend definition, the YTC Price Action Trader talks about subjectively over-riding the trend definition when we sense it as being wrong.

The fact is that all trend definitions break down at and around the points of transition from one trend-type to another.

And often, you'll see (or feel) something that is not yet visible in the chart.

I was sensing the rollover of price, transitioning from the sideways trend to a downtrend, effectively forming the rounded top that we saw earlier.

So I pre-empted the change. Price is not yet showing a downtrend. But I'll be operating as if it was about to make that change.

If I'm wrong, price will let me know. But if I'm right, I can get a nice and early entry into the new trending move.

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

Let's review the definition for one of "The Bad".

  • The Bad – Trade ideas which DID have edge but were either poorly entered or poorly managed.

 

Poorly managed!!!

"Poorly managed" includes failure to re-enter.

The Bad

The Bad

The Bad

Let it go. Move on. There are more trades coming and they need my full attention!

Trading is not a game of perfection.

But rather a game of managing my imperfection, within an environment of uncertainty.

So… just quickly… what about one of The Ugly trades?

These are the ones that, with the benefit of hindsight, just have no edge.

They're the ones that should never have been taken.

Like this…

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Ugly

The Bad and The Ugly… they happen.

It's a part of trading.

But while we accept that, we should always be striving for improvement in skill and expertise.

  • The Good – We want more of these. Always be aiming to increase the percentage of The Good within any sample of trades. And to increase the profit they provide.
  • The Bad – We want less of these. Always be aiming to decrease the percentage of The Bad within any sample of trades. And to reduce the damage they do to P&L.
  • The Ugly – Ideally, we aim for NONE of these. That might be tough. But it's the goal.

 

Best of luck, 

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

 

Here is another way to track and review trades… with a classification system that makes it a little bit of fun!

During your post-session review you classify them into one of three categories:

  • The Good – Trade ideas which DID have edge and were well managed.
  • The Bad – Trade ideas which DID have edge but were either poorly entered or poorly managed.
  • The Ugly – Trade ideas which DID NOT have edge.

 

Some clarification:

  1. "Trade ideas which DID have edge" – I need to do some more work on teaching this in the future. For now, consider them to be trades in which your hindsight review says, "Yes, taking this trade was the right decision". This does not necessarily mean it profited. You might have taken a loss. But without any doubt, it meets all your trading plan criteria and it's one you were right to have taken.
  2. "Trade ideas which DID NOT have edge" – Those trades which are clearly not a part of your trading plan. You had no right to be in that trade. This doesn't mean it lost. It may well have profited, but was still a poor trade (for example… a revenge trade that works!).
  3. Feel free to vary the definitions in any way that makes more sense to you. But keep them in three classifications – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

 

Our aim is to seek constant improvement in our stats. When analysing the stats associated with larger groups of trades (20 minimum), we look for the following:

  • The Good – We want more of these. Always be aiming to increase the percentage of The Good within any sample of trades. And to increase the profit they provide.
  • The Bad – We want less of these. Always be aiming to decrease the percentage of The Bad within any sample of trades. And to reduce the damage they do to P&L.
  • The Ugly – Ideally, we aim for NONE of these. That might be tough. But it's the goal.

 

It's a continual striving for improvement in skill and expertise.

And of course we drive our performance improvement through an effective review process:

The Good:

  • How can I ensure I take more of these in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this could be one of The Good? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • How could I have have performed even better? Was there any way to have increased size (assuming you scale in and out)? Was there any time or place at which I could have added to the position? Was there reason to extend the targets even further?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Bad:

  • In what way did I underperform with this trade?
  • Why did this occur?

  • How can I ensure I do less of this in future?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which impacted upon my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Ugly:

  • How can I ensure I avoid these trades in future? What signs were there pre-trade to suggest this WAS NOT A VALID TRADE? Consider both the market structure and the way that price was moving.
  • Why was I not aware of this at the time?
  • Were there any non-technical factors present which may have assisted with my decision making? How was my physical state? How was my mental state? How was my emotional state? How was my trading environment?

 

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

The Good

So… given that it's now closer to 4:30am… how about we come back next week with part two. We'll look at the earlier trade from this same sequence (The Bad). And I'll see if I can find you one of The Ugly ones as well.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trade Less; Review More!

 

Day Traders

If you're not currently profitable, or achieving the level of success you wish to achieve…

Is your current situation something like this?

Trade Less Review More

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

I know there is a LOT to be learnt through live trading. But it's the review process which drives growth and development.

You'll see things during a review session, after the fact and away from the emotion, which were not visible in the live market.

You'll discover things within your stats, which were not visible in the live market.

If you want to progress, time for an effective review session is NOT negotiable.

You must make a choice.

You either HAVE TO cut something from the time outside of trading, to allow for an effective review session and ongoing learning.

Trade Less Review More

Or you have to cut your trading…

Trade Less Review More

Trade Less Review More

Longer Timeframe Traders

The same applies to you.

If you're not currently profitable, or achieving the level of success that you wish to achieve…

Is your current situation something like this?

Trade Less Review More

If you want to progress, time for an effective review sessions is NOT negotiable.

You must make a choice.

You either HAVE TO cut something from the time outside of trading, to allow for an effective review session and ongoing learning.

Trade Less Review More

Or you have to cut your trading…

Trade Less Review More

We all want to trade more.

But if you're not yet consistently profitable, or not yet achieving the standards of success you believe you are capable of achieving, then your priority must be ensuring an effective review process as well as time for learning, testing and development.

You can always trade full-time again in the future.

But for now, less is more.

Trade less. Review more.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Review and Improve

 

You might like to consider your review process as the vehicle which drives your trading business to its ultimate destination.

Whether that destination is ongoing improvement and eventual success… or continued mediocrity, frustration and failure… is completely up to you.

If you've got nothing in place, here is a simple process to get you started.

Once you're comfortable with this, there is great scope to expand it to new areas of review. It doesn't solve everything.

But again, if you've got nothing in place, consider implementing this process RIGHT NOW.

Review and Improve

Look at your last 20 trades. Study them with the benefit of hindsight.

Examine 50 if you prefer. Or 100. Find the right compromise for sample size, which is large enough to be statistically significant and small enough to ensure your review process occurs on a regular basis. But not less than 20. I would suggest that is the absolutely minimum.

Once you've gathered all the trade data and charts, let's check the quality of the setups.

How many of your trade ideas were in chart areas which DID offer potential for multiple-R profits (2R minimum)?

It doesn't matter whether you actually managed to profit, or not.

We're checking the general concept. The trade idea.

We're making sure you're trading in the right areas of the chart.

Did price move from the setup area a sufficient distance to provide multiple-R returns?

Take note of all the trades within the sample which achieved this goal. And now let's check the quality of trade entry.

Now consider those trades that were in good multiple-R setup areas. How many were you able to enter at a place and time which offered good potential to catch those multiple-R profits?

Again, it doesn't matter if you achieved a profit or a loss.

With the benefit of hindsight, given where you entered, is it reasonable to expect that a successful trader could manage that position to achieve multiple-R profits?

How many of these trades would you classify as having a good entry?

Take note of them… and let's move on to check the trade management.

Now consider those trades that were in good setup areas and which were entered well. How many of these were successfully held from entry to the first target level?

How many were you able to hold open to the initial target point, avoiding all temptation to scratch the position early?

And then…

Of those which did achieve the initial target, how many of these were held to a further "hindsight perfect" exit point?

Again, take note of how many achieved this aim.

And now let's use this information to drive our business forward.

Looking at these figures, which area do you need to improve when trading the next sample?

It's important that we focus on one area at a time.

And that we work in order.

Get the setups right first. Are you happy with the number of trade ideas that are actually providing multiple-R profit potential? If not… focus on improving the quality of your trade ideas.

Then work on entry.

Then initial management.

And then ongoing management.

Find the first area that disappoints you. Examine why. Determine a course of action for the next 20 trade sample.

And repeat.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Seeing the Market in New Ways

 

An amateur and a professional trader can look at the same price charts and see completely different things.

The difference is not as simple as the professional having a better strategy, but rather that they have superior mental models and belief systems.

They see the market in ways that the new trader cannot yet comprehend.

A lot of my writing has been with the intent of helping shift the way you view markets and price movement.

A key goal with the YTC Price Action Trader was to help you see this trading game in a superior way; playing the metagame rather than the usual pattern-based game that most play.

  • Seeing the charts from the perspective of "traders making trading decisions" rather than just as somewhat random price movement.
  • Feeling the hope and fear within the other traders; especially at the point where they get trapped in a low probability position.
  • And using this information to profit from their loss.

 

The obvious section to reference is the whole of Chapter Two, but the concept underlies all the material which follows through chapters three to six.

Much of the last eight years of the YTC article archives was also devoted to helping you see things in new ways.

Just recently there has been a focus on the following:

 

And a key aim with the upcoming video course will be redefining how you apply deliberate practice principles to drive your growth and development. A recent insight led to a new level of understanding that has completely shifted the way I manage my own progression. I can't wait to share it. More on that later.

Until then though, let's see if you can trigger your own paradigm-shift!

I'd like you to consider the idea that maybe your next improvement in results will not come from a new system, or some new knowledge, but rather from changing perspective and learning to see some particular aspect of this business in a new way.

It's not easy. You can't force new insights. They typically come at unexpected times.

And they often need a trigger to shift your perspective and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

The good news… there is one method that can help provide this trigger… assuming you do have the required foundation of knowledge and experience.

Schedule some time to question your beliefs and assumptions.

You may find they're quite valid. But you may also find a new way forward.

You may find that something you held to be true, is perhaps not 100% certain. 

Time spent questioning your beliefs or your assumptions, is NEVER time wasted.

Consider the following areas of your trading business:

  • Your understanding of how and why price moves.
  • Your understanding of how and why you expect to profit from price movement.
  • Your reasons for market and instrument selection.
  • Your personal routines for achieving and maintaining a peak performance state.
  • Your routines for pre-session preparation.
  • Your method of position sizing.
  • Your method of assessing market conditions and selecting appropriate tactics for those conditions.
  • Your method for rapid recognition of a change in market conditions and adjustment of tactics to suit the changes.
  • Your method for real-time contextual reading of market bias.
  • Your method of identifying trade opportunity.
  • Your method of entry.
  • Your method of risk management.
  • Your method of trade management.
  • Your method of trade exit.
  • Your routines for post-session review.
  • Your routines for longer-term review… and the way you use this to drive further growth and development.
  • Your routines for ongoing personal and professional development.

 

For each of these areas of your business, question your beliefs:

  • What are your beliefs about this aspect of your business?
  • Why do you have this belief?
  • Is there evidence to support this belief?
  • Is there evidence which suggests that it's wrong? Or incomplete?
  • Is it possible that this belief is only valid in a certain context? Only in particular times, or places on the chart, rather than being an always 100% certainty?
  • Imagine a professional trader who has mastered this aspect of the business. Are they likely to operate with the same belief? If not, what would they have to believe in order to operate more effectively?
  • Can you adopt this new belief? What can you do to test this new belief for validity? What actions can you take on a regular basis to reinforce this new belief and instil it into your daily habits and routines?

 

Time spent questioning your beliefs or your assumptions, is NEVER time wasted.

Schedule some time this weekend to question your beliefs.

All the best,

Lance Beggs

 

PS. YTC Price Action Traders: If you need a new way to "question" price movement at the hard right edge of the screen, try the questions listed in section 3.9, on page 209 of Volume 2.

 


 

It’s Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level – Examples

 

Last week we added some structure to our growth and development as a trader, exploring how we could use our review process to drive our progress along the development pathway.

Check it out here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level/

It's Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level

The summary version of the plan was as follows:

(1) Find where you currently reside on the above pathway.

(2) Determine the Win%, Loss%, Average Win and Average Loss stats for your most recent trades (20 trade group… minimum).

(3) Identify the next level you hope to achieve.

(4) Determine how your step (2) stats will need to change in order to place you within the next level of the pathway.

(5) Immerse yourself into a review of the trades making up your most recent sample, to identify the reasons for failing to achieve the required statistical outcome, and the changes necessary to take you to that next level.

(6) Implement the changes and apply them as you trade your next group of trades (20 trade group… minimum).

(7) Repeat

 

Let's work through a couple of hypothetical examples, in order to make the process clearer.

Example 1:

(1) Find where you currently reside on the pathway.

You already know this. You're stuck at the very first stage. Sim trading with spot forex mini-lots… and still losing. Not losing badly mind you. But just slowly grinding your way to a smaller and smaller account.

No problems. That's absolutely fine. We all start there and build our way higher.

First things first though, you recognise that you need to quantify the problem and get some useable stats. So you document your plan as best you can and complete a sample of 20 trades.

The P&L clearly shows a negative result, down 100 pips ($100) over the sample of trades. So yes… it's confirmed… we're in stage one. It's all upside from here! 🙂

(2) Determine the Win%, Loss%, Average Win and Average Loss stats for your most recent trades.

Let's examine the stats a little closer though.

Win% = 55%

Loss% = 45%

Average win = 10.91

Average loss = -24.44

Expectancy = (Win% x Average Win) – (Loss% x Average Loss)

Expectancy = (0.55 x 10.91) – (0.45 x 24.4) = -4.98

You're losing almost five dollars per trade!

Ok this is not the end of the world. This is something you can work with.

(3) Identify the next level you hope to achieve.

(more…)

It’s Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level

 

Feedback from a recent article has been so incredibly positive, with a number of emails coming through saying that this was EXACTLY what these people needed to hear right now. It seems one of the most popular articles of the last 12 months.

Check it out here if you missed it – Are You Closer To Profitability Than You Thought?

So let's explore an idea expressed in my favourite line of the article.

And that's the following:

  • "… right now it's time to end the mediocrity. It's time to fight to get to the next level."

There are various levels to pass through on the way to consistent and increasing profitability.

It's Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level

For most of us, there are no short cuts!

There are no Game Cheats that can jump you straight to the end goal.

It's Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level

It's a step by step process of growth and development.

It's Time to Fight to Get to the Next Level

Progress will be slowed (or completely non-existent) if you're plan for progression is unstructured and random.

Here's how to provide some structure.

(1) Find where you currently reside on the above pathway.

Look at results over a recent sample of trades. What you did three years ago is irrelevant. We want to see what you're achieving NOW.

Take a recent sample… 20 trades minimum. And look at the P&L. Where does that place you on the above pathway? (Note: the sample chosen must also represent "typical" current results. If you fluked a massive winner through poor practice (and if you're honest with yourself you'll know if you did that) then exclude that trade. You'll only be cheating yourself if you include it.)

Wherever you are… accept it. There's no point denying it. This is your starting place. You build from here.

(2) Determine the Win%, Loss%, Average Win and Average Loss stats for your most recent trades (20 trade group… minimum).

If you don't have sufficient stats to determine these… you need to keep better stats. Start again with a new 20 trade group and keep better stats.

(more…)

Are You Closer To Profitability Than You Thought?

 

If you've been trading for quite a while and seem to be stuck, consider the possibility that the next stage in your journey may not require further knowledge or skill development.

Instead, maybe it requires CUTTING POOR PRACTICE from your business?

Do you know what will happen if you cut areas of underperformance from your business? You'll be left only with areas of best performance. Areas of current best practice. Areas which you already manage well. Areas which, if enhanced even further, may be sufficient to transform your business and take your results to the next level.

Look within your stats and your journals. Find where you currently perform best. And focus exclusively on that area of your business.

Look within your stats and your journals. Find where you perform poorly. And cut it from your business. Implement procedures or controls to avoid it, or to mitigate the risk.

Do you struggle with a strong trend due to a tendency to always try to fade the trend? Stop promising yourself that "Damn it… Next time I'll just trade with-trend!" You know that you won't. If you could, you already would. You've promised yourself that you would do that too many times already. Focus instead on identifying those conditions in which you outperform… perhaps ranging action or slow and stable trends… and ONLY TRADE AT THESE TIMES. Develop rules for quick recognition of suitable trading conditions, and to alert you to those times when you should just walk away. Specialise in ranging market conditions. Or specialise in slow and stable trends. Whatever works best for you! But recognise and avoid the strong, fast trends if they're destroying your edge.

Do you struggle in choppy, sideways price action but outperform in directional markets? Identify structural features that suggest initiation of a new trend. Wait for these to develop… confirm the trending action… and engage the market. But otherwise, stand aside.

Do you underperform in volatile conditions? Measure market volatility and stand aside when it reaches these higher levels.

Do you underperform in markets suffering low levels of volatility? Again, measure market volatility and only trade at times when the market is moving.

Do you struggle in conditions of low liquidity? Stop trading markets or times which suffer from low liquidity.

Do you find yourself underperforming in slow and thick market conditions with high overlap between price bars? Then implement some method of identifying and trading only when price has some directional conviction and is flowing smoothly.

Do you struggle in timing tests of support or resistance, when price turns just before the level? Then forget about them. Cut them out of your business. Don't trade unless price breaks the level, focusing solely on breakout failures or breakout pullbacks.

Are pullback entries destroying your edge, when there is no structure to lean against? Then only trade a pullback when it moves into areas of prior structure (swing highs or lows). Or require that it develops it's own structure first before considering pullback entry. Only enter when you have some level to lean against.

Do you trade multiple strategies? Is one underperforming? Cut it. Focus on what is working best.

Do you trade one strategy across multiple timeframes? Perhaps a "daily chart" strategy alongside intraday swing trading? Is one destroying your profitability? Cut it. Focus on what is adding the most to your profitability.

Do you trade multiple markets and find that some only contribute breakeven results AT BEST. Cut them. Focus on those that you read the best.

Do you have a tendency to often give back profits during the afternoon? Stop trading at midday! Or set a session P&L trailing stop.

Are the opening sequences consistently putting you in a hole, requiring that you spend the next couple of hours fighting just to get P&L back into the green? Then stand aside at the open. Let the market create some structure first.

You don't have to do it all. Cut areas of underperformance. Or if not possible, then work to limit their impact.

And work to specialise in areas of your current strengths.

Is there one setup in which you perform the best? What could happen if you focused exclusively on that setup for the next few months?

Is there one type of environment in which you perform the best? What could happen if you focused exclusively on that environment for the next few months?

You may be thinking, "But won't this seriously limit the number of trades I take?"

So what!

Are you here for lots of trading action? Or are you here to become a trader?

Look within your stats and your journals.

Find where you perform best.

Cut the rest and FOCUS only on developing and enhancing that which you already do best.

You can always address the areas of poor performance later, if you choose to do so.

But right now it's time to end the mediocrity. It's time to fight to get to the next level.

Cut what's not working. And focus only on areas of current best practice.

Perhaps you are closer to profitability than you thought?

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.

(more…)

Learning – When the Markets are Closed

Even when markets are closed there is great potential to improve as a trader.

Here are a few options, aside from the obvious which is reading trading books (especially this one).

Market Replay – Missed Sessions

We discussed market replay previously (see here).

This is by far the greatest tool available to you for after hours learning.

Here's one way you can use market replay to improve your skills…

I don't like to ever miss a trading session. Sometimes though, life gets in the way and it's unavoidable. This is where market replay helps me out. Later, when time comes available, that session is replayed as if live.

Last week I missed Friday's session. My family and I had to depart early on Saturday morning to travel several hours for a family function later that day. Given that my timezone (Australian east coast, UTC+10) means that Friday's session commences at midnight Friday night, I made the decision that it's wise to miss this session. Travel is never fun after only an hour or two of sleep… plus it's just not safe.

On return home late Sunday, after the family was in bed, I replayed the opening hour from Friday nights emini Russell session.

(more…)