Tag Archives: Situational Awareness

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

 

This is a question I get from time to time.

Quite a reasonable question, I guess, for anyone used to trading on much longer timeframes.

The answer is simple. And if you do it right you'll find that there is plenty of time. Even on a 1-minute chart.

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

Let's repeat that for effect…

Lower timeframes require that you see the trade setup in your mind, well before it shows up on the chart.

In fact, I'd suggest that this is good practice, regardless of your trading timeframe.

It's a matter of visualisation – plotting in your mind the most likely path for the next couple of price swings. And becoming clear in your mind about EXACTLY what you need to see if these price swings could offer a trade.

Think of it like a visual form of an IF-THEN statement. "IF price goes here and looks like (this) THEN I will have potential trade opportunity."

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

How Do You Find Time to Plan a Trade on a 1-Minute Timeframe?

Focus is always kept AHEAD OF PRICE.

In this case, the trade planning was carried out 2-3 minutes prior to the setup actually occurring. That's quick. Often a trade idea might be visualised 5 or even 10 minutes before price sets up for entry.

Either way, it's plenty of time.

Trade entry should not be a 100% reactive process. It should be forward looking. Pre-considered and pre-planned. And only acted upon if price should subsequently prove your forward planning to be correct.

The same goes for trade management. Keep your focus and planning ahead of price.

Where is price going if the trade premise is still valid? How will this look on the charts? How will you manage your stop and target orders if this happens?

And where is price going if the trade premise is no longer valid? How will this look on the charts? How will you react if that happens?

Keep your focus and planning ahead of price.

If you can do that, then there is PLENTY of time to plan your trades, well before price actually gets to the entry point.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Key to Early Recognition of Potential Change in Structure

 

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure is in observing and identifying "SOMETHING DIFFERENT".

I absolutely love this example which has been building now since the beginning of the year.

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure

This does not mean that the uptrend will end.

It's just a warning sign.

A clue that the sentiment driving the market prior to this date has changed in some way.

A clue that there is "potential" for a change in market structure.

And for those of you who recognise this clue, the potential to more quickly adapt to any change in structure as it happens, or even before the technical change has occurred.

(By the time I publish this article the market may well have made this change. Be sure to check out the charts if you wish to see what happens next.)

For those of you who wish to join the ranks of professional traders, this is a skill you need to build. Quickly recognising and adapting to changes in the market.

And step one in that process is early recognition of "something different".

All markets.

All timeframes.

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure

I'm just stunned by that last fact.

Skip the table below if you wish, but I personally find it amazing!  (Yep… I'm a charting nerd!)

3rd Jan: Mid-Close Range 1st Feb: Mid-Close Bull 1st Mar: Mid-Close Bull
4th Jan: High-Close Bull 2nd Feb: Low-Close Range 2nd Mar: Low-Close Range
5th Jan: High-Close Bull 3rd Feb: Mid-Close Range 3rd Mar: High-Close Range
6th Jan: High-Close Bull 6th Feb: High-Close Range 6th Mar: High-Close Range
9th Jan: High-Close Bull 7th Feb: Low-Close Bull 7th Mar: Low-Close Range
10th Jan: Mid-Close Bull 8th Feb: High-Close Range 8th Mar: Mid-Close Range
11th Jan: High-Close Range 9th Feb: High-Close Bull 9th Mar: High-Close Range
12th Jan: High-Close Range 10th Feb: High-Close Bull 10th Mar: Mid-Close Bull
13th Jan: High-Close Bull 13th Feb: High-Close Bull 13th Mar: High-Close Bull
16th Jan: Low-Close Range 14th Feb: High-Close Bull 14th Mar: High-Close Range
17th Jan: Mid-Close Bear 15th Feb: High-Close Bull 15th Mar: High-Close Bull
18th Jan: High-Close Bull 16th Feb: Mid-Close Range 16th Mar: Mid-Close Range
19th Jan: Mid-Close Range 17th Feb: High-Close Bull 17th Mar: Low-Close Range
20th Jan: Mid-Close Range 20th Feb: High-Close Bull 20th Mar: Mid-Close Range
23rd Jan: High-Close Range 21st Feb: Mid-Close Range 21st Mar: Low-Close Bear
24th Jan: High-Close Bull 22nd Feb: High-Close Range  
25th Jan: High-Close Bull 23rd Feb: Mid-Close Bear  
26th Jan: Low-Close Range 24th Feb: High-Close Range  
27th Jan: High-Close Range 27th Feb: High-Close Bull  
30th Jan: Mid-Close Bear 28th Feb: Mid-Close Range  
31st Jan: High-Close Range    

 

(See here if you're not familiar with this form of candlestick classification – Parts: One Two Three Four Five )

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure is in observing and identifying "SOMETHING DIFFERENT".

In a stable trend, watch for changes in volatility, or in the pace of the trend. Watch for changes in the way that price swings project beyond the previous swing high or low. Or in changes to the depth of pullbacks. Or, as in today's example, watch for a sudden and strong move counter-trend.

In a stable sideways market, watch again for sudden changes in volatility. Or sudden and dramatic increases in volume. Or (one of my favourites) watch for signs of price compression towards either the upper or lower boundaries of the range.

Something different in the way that price has been moving.

Observe it.

Question it. What could it mean? Could this in any way provide a clue to a potential change in structure?

Now… watch and adapt.

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure

The key to early recognition of potential change in structure

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Start Your Session With IF-THEN Scenarios

 

Last Sunday I shared one of my old articles via social media.

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Click on the image, or this link here, if you wish to read the old article.

This is such an important part of my pre-session preparation.

Why?

It simply aims to get my session off to a good start – so very important for maintaining an effective mindset throughout the trading day.

This is not prediction. This is simply forward planning… developing “IF-THEN” scenarios based upon your assessment of the likely future price action.

If your “read” of price movement proves correct, you will have trade opportunity. If it proves incorrect, you stand aside and reassess.

This will ensure your actions in the market are pre-considered and your trades only occur when the market has confirmed your expectations.

And you will be less likely to be caught in a trap through impulsive reaction to unexpected price movement.

NOTE: What I am doing here with my IF-THEN analysis is NOT the same as the Game Planning / Hypos that you see other traders doing. Typically they're looking at much higher timeframes or Market/Volume Profile tools to determine a likely hypothesis for the WHOLE DAY.

I'm looking at the trading timeframe and where the market opens with respect to key levels, and assessing likely movement for the OPENING FEW PRICE SWINGS ONLY.

There is of course nothing to stop you using both. Whole session, higher-timeframe game planning plus opening sequence trading-timeframe IF-THEN scenarios.

It's just important here for me to point out the difference.

These are not meant to define the whole session. They just aim to get you off to a good start.

And from there, the picture keeps updating bar by bar in accordance with the YTC Six Principles of Future Trend Projection.

Anyway, let's look at my opening IF-THEN scenarios for the week to date, in the emini-NASDAQ (NQ) market:

Monday – 13th February 2017

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Tuesday – 14th February 2017

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Wednesday – 15th February 2017

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Thursday – 16th February 2017

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

Start your session with IF-THEN analysis

So as we head towards the open on Friday, why not consider creating your own IF-THEN statements for the opening couple of price swings.

They won't always be right.

But when they are, it means that your actions in the market are pre-considered and your trades only occur when the market "makes sense".

And when the market offers something different, you simply stand aside and reassess.

It's all about getting your session off to the best start possible, through minimising emotional reaction to surprising and unexpected price movement.

Give it a try. You may just like the idea.

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.

 

 


 

Anticipate – Don’t React

 

Here's a great question I received recently from another trader.

Anticipate - Don't React

Let's start by defining the terms, as it's obvious that any decision to enter must be a reaction to some "decision making input". But that is not what was meant.

The question is asking:

  • Do I anticipate every setup, meaning that it's pre-considered and pre-planned ahead of time before price gets to the area? For example… "The rally is slowing. If we get weakness on a break of the next swing high I'll be looking to enter SHORT."
  • Or do I sometimes just react emotionally to the current price bar without any pre-considered thought and planning? For example, "Wow… that's a huge red bar… I'm getting in SHORT!".

As I mentioned in response to the question… I always anticipate.

Let's look at a recent example. It's a sequence from last week which nicely illustrates the concept of "Anticipate – Don't React", showing how keeping my focus ahead of price ensures I don't chase or emotionally over-react to any sudden movement.

As a bonus it also demonstrates the idea that "sometimes a trade idea requires more than one entry attempt!"

Anticipate - Don't React

Anticipate - Don't React

We pick up the sequence with price rallying up towards area F.

We'll view this sequence via the 30 second chart rather than the 1 minute (trading timeframe) chart. It provides a little more feel for the internal movement of the TTF and will make the article a little shorter than if I shared a combination of TTF and LTF each time (I'm all about saving time & effort!).

Anticipate - Don't React

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IF-THEN Analysis at Session Open

 

Continuing a theme from previous articles – here and here.

  • Keep your focus ahead of price
  • Never let price action take you somewhere your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier.

This is not just a concept to apply during the trading session.

It also applies at session open.

Start the session with some thought as to likely expectations for the type of environment and for likely initial price action sequences.

This can be done for markets which have a defined pit-session opening time and for 24 hour markets at the time of major session openings (eg. UK, US forex session opening times).

  • Where is price going?
  • How is it likely to act? Why?
  • Will that provide trade opportunity?
  • What will it look like if my analysis is correct?
  • What will price look like if I’m wrong?
  • What else could it do?

This is not prediction. This is simply forward planning… developing “IF-THEN” scenarios based upon your assessment of the likely future price action.

If your “read” of price movement proves correct, you will have trade opportunity. If it proves incorrect, you stand aside and reassess.

This will ensure your actions in the market are pre-considered and your trades only occur when the market has conformed to your expectations.

And you will be less likely to be caught in a trap through impulsive reaction to unexpected price movement.

(** Important Note: This is only our initial expectation. Ongoing bar-by-bar analysis will adjust our expectations if price provides something different from our initial analysis. Don’t rigidly stick to your initial expectations against all evidence to the contrary.)

We saw an example of an opening IF-THEN scenario in last week’s article where we discussed an early-session trade opportunity in the SPI futures.

late session breakout provides early session opportunity

See here if you wish to review that article in full: http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/late-session-breakout-early-session-opportunity/

But let’s look at another example.

This time from the Crude Oil market as it opened today, Monday 9th June 2014.

We’ll start with the Higher Timeframe in order to get a picture of the structure of the market.

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Staying Ahead of Price

Never let price action take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.

Keep your awareness ahead of price with a clear idea of expectations and a plan of action for whatever eventuates.

In conducting your analysis, think several candles ahead.

  • Where is price going?
  • How is it likely to act? Why?
  • Will that provide trade opportunity? What will it look like if my analysis is correct?
  • What will price look like if I'm wrong? What else could it do?

This is not prediction. This is simply forward planning… developing "IF-THEN" scenarios based upon your assessment of the likely future price action.

If your "read" of price movement proves correct, you will have trade opportunity. If it proves incorrect, you stand aside and reassess.

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When Fighting the Trend… (Part Two)

We finished up last weeks article (which you'll find here if you missed it) with the following image…

fighting the trend

Well, my post-session review did consider this question.

In fact, the answer was obvious to me even as I traded the session. I knew I was fighting an obvious uptrend from maybe the second or third trade, and yet I still didn't flip my bias and operate LONG.

Why?

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Situational Awareness for Traders

Situational Awareness is a concept which has been instrumental in shaping how I conduct my market analysis. Many of you may not have heard of this concept, so I thought it would be good to provide a brief introduction today. And if there’s interest from readers we can go a little deeper into the topic in future articles.

This is a concept I’ve borrowed from my previous career in the aviation industry, where it is one of the key components taught in the field of Crew Resource Management and Aviation Safety.

Situational Awareness, as defined by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) in their Industry CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) Task Force is…

  • “… an accurate perception of the factors and conditions currently affecting the safe operation of the aircraft and crew.”

 

You may be familiar with the statement that we don’t trade the markets, but rather our mental interpretation of the markets. Situational Awareness is about providing you with the knowledge and skills to ensure that not only is your mental model based as much on reality as possible, but that it also updates in real-time as the price action evolves.

To apply the concept to trading, I find it easier to bypass the official definition above and use the ‘working definition’ provided by Endsley (1988). Situational Awareness is…

  • “the perception of elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the future.”

 

This definition has three key components – perception, comprehension and projection.

  1. Perception – Being capable of accurately perceiving the information that the markets are providing.
  2. Comprehension – Understanding, or interpreting, the information available from the markets.
  3. Projection – Anticipating future trade setup opportunities based on your understanding of the market movement.

 

Perceiving market movement, understanding what that means, and knowing how that will most likely develop in the future.  In other words, just knowing what’s going on… or market analysis!

So in applying the Situational Awareness concept to the conduct of my own market analysis, I break the task into three distinct phases:

 

Perceive the Market Environment

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