Monthly Archives: June 2010

Sports and Trading – Finding Your Forté

Your trading timeframe, market and strategy MUST be matched with who you are as a person.

Until it does, I believe it’s impossible for you to achieve consistent success.

This is discussed below in a great email exchange with one of the YTC readers…


Hi Lance,

I actually read the three parts of “The Importance of Exit Strategy” before I signed up for your news letter and listened to your videos.

I have to say that I am quite taken with your altruistic approach to your website and your presentations. It is indeed refreshing and assuming your continuation along this vein, you are one in a million!

I do have a couple of comments but first I also want to tell you that I am an older man who has founded six high technology companies in Silicon Valley, so I understand looking at making money as a business. I also have been trading on and off for longer than I can remember but somewhere from the early 1980s.

I have never achieved any great or consistent success mostly because I have never had time to devote to trading as a real business as being an entrepreneur takes up most of a 24 hour day. Having said that however, I am now getting to a place where I intend to transition to full time trading and am getting very serious.

I was intrigued with your 12 elements of success especially about the question of identifying who one is and what kind of trading ultimately resonates with one. While I have not asked myself that question regarding trading, I have recognized the answer over my lifetime because I do react to my life in a very specific way.

When I listened to your 12 elements, I was struck that one way to equate or identify one’s style is to look at what sports one is drawn to and why. The answer for me is basketball! Why? Because it takes very sophisticated and unique personal skills, it is a fast game, the rewards or failures happen each time you move from one end of the court to the other, you have to be in superb mental and physical shape, you have to have a very high level of confidence in your own skills, you have to be quick, nimble, perceptive, cunning and etc. Contrast that to the very snail game of golf, baseball, even football etc. Not that those games don’t require some of the same attributes but nonetheless, they are SLOW and I don’t have the patience for them. I am totally bored with golf. I would rather search for lost golf balls than play the game!

Translating to the markets, you can see that a fast game has to be day trading, scalping, moving in and out in fast markets rather than trend trading, or investing, or option strategies such as iron condors, calendar spreads etc. where it takes a month to know if one wins or loses. etc.

I also like to create so I have written a plethora of indicators for Trade Station in an effort to understand the mathematics of the markets and the rhythm of how they move.

All in all, when I roll the “who I am” into what kind of markets make sense for me to trade, I know where I must go.

I just wanted to share the sports metaphor as I felt it may be a trigger for some of your readers in answering their own questions.

Thanks for a great site. I will continue to enjoy reading and listening to some of the terrific, psychological, Zen, strategic and well considered philosophies that you put forth.

Thanks for reading this far. I think I need to write a book! Just kidding.

Warm Regards,


Hi LY,

Thank you for your great email. You’ve made my day. You’re understanding of the concept is spot on.

One of the fundamental truths of trading is that you will not achieve consistent success if your trading approach is not a right match for your personality. Unfortunately most traders aren’t aware of this; and many will ultimately fail, leaving the game disillusioned after having struggled for so long in a game that just does not suit them.

You see this in so many people who apply themselves to sport, arts, university studies or careers, simply because it’s what their parents want or expect. Having ignored their own passions, they ultimately fail; or if they do achieve some measure of success it’s a hollow victory underscored by a feeling of emptiness and depression.

Common advice in the trading world is to avoid the lower timeframes because it’s too fast. They say that you should learn on daily charts first; their theory being that if you can’t trade the daily charts then you won’t be able to trade the faster intra-day charts.


I’m terrible at daily charts.

It’s too slow for my personality. I over-analyze. I second-guess, constantly. I have no patience, and I get incredibly bored. It’s just not fun.

Low timeframes fit my personality – I like the fact that I’m required to make fast decisions, take action, and then get almost immediate feedback. It’s how I work best.

Timeframe, markets and strategy MUST be matched with who we are.

I’m glad you’ve found signs pointing towards your preferred trading style through the sports analogy. Well done. Quite likely though you’ll also find similar patterns through other areas of your life as well. Perhaps in business. I imagine the personality type required to be involved in six startup high tech companies is very different from the personality required to manage a family business over a 40+ year working life. What characteristics of personality have led to your business success, and which trading approach does that point to?

Thanks again for your email, and all the best for your future trading,

Lance Beggs


How I Define the Trend

I occasionally get email requests asking how I define the trend, so to save on future email replies here’s the short answer…

It seems that perhaps many people assume I use an EMA, given that the charts shown in my newsletter typically display an EMA(20). That’s not my trend definition though.

I use fairly standard definitions.

  • An uptrend is a sequence of higher swing highs and higher swing lows.
  • A downtrend is a sequence of lower swing highs and lower swing lows.

So, let’s look quickly at how this works.

A swing high is simply any turning point where rising price changes to falling price. I define a swing high (SH) as a price bar high, preceded by two lower highs (LH) and followed by two lower highs (LH), as per the following diagram:



The Swing High is candle C. All other candles reference this one.

  • Candle A has a high which is LOWER THAN candle C’s high.
  • Candle B has a high which is LOWER THAN candle C’s high.
  • Candle D has a high which is LOWER THAN candle C’s high.
  • Candle E has a high which is LOWER THAN candle C’s high.


Likewise for the swing low.


Stay Ahead of the Aircraft

Some words of wisdom from back in my days as a pilot…

"Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier."

It’s essential as a pilot to stay ahead of the aircraft. This means projecting your awareness ahead of your current location. Anticipating what is coming, considering what that means and determining appropriate actions while there’s still time to do so.

Ideally you want no surprises.

In the Black Hawk, when we had a high intensity mission that felt like constant crisis management and last minute decision making, we’d refer to our performance as ‘hanging onto the stab’; the stabilator being the tail end of the chopper. In other words, we struggled to keep up.

The exact same principle applies to effective trading.

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

Stay ahead of the price action.

In conducting your analysis, think several candles ahead.

  • Where is it going?
  • How is it likely to act?
  • Why?
  • What price action will confirm this?
  • How should I react?
  • What will price look like if I’m wrong? What else could it do?

Let’s look at a chart.

Where’s GBP/USD going right now?