Although I have been fairly satisfied with my trading results as of late, I feel I have been limiting myself to some degree. I have hit at least 60 ticks a week for several months consecutively. For those who think this is meager, it does add up as you start leveraging contracts. I am still trading a small contract size because I had a specific time frame I wanted to prove to myself that I could consistently hit my goal and..that my system worked under all market conditions. I am very confident in that now. To trade large contracts in a system that hasn't been proven over a period of time is a very dangerous thing to do. I've made that mistake in the past.
Having said that, I noticed each day, there were numerous entries I could have taken that seemed like almost inevitable 10 tick winners. When you really get a feel for CL price action after years of screentime (which is way better than any lagging indicator), you can predict these little 10 tick pops. Many are little countertrend bounces of small pockets of support and resistance. Of course my stops are rarely higher than 10 to 12 ticks anyways, so these 10 tick wins still have a decent risk/reward ratio. However, since my system is predicated on having winners generally 20 to 30 ticks, I have been just ignoring all these 10 tick opportunities. I just reason, it's not worth it. But after being right in my predictions 100's of times, I decided to supplement my bigger winners with these scalps. Today, in addition to a 20 tick winner and a 30 tick winner, I nailed four 10 tick scalps and lost 1 for 10. Making 80 ticks in one day is really good for me. I don't usually do that. In fact, that's a good week for me.
So, now instead of just being a person who only takes a trade because I want 20 to 30 ticks, I will also take a few 10 tick scalps when I see them. I feel I will definitely be able to upgrade my weekly goal amount. No reason to limit oneself.
I know some think you are only a good trader if you hold trades for a 100 ticks or more. I guess I don't have the personality to be up 50 ticks on a trade..then suddenly be down 30 ..and then keep holding because I "just know the market has to go up" etc. Of course one of the best traders in the world, Paul Rotter just scalps small targets and makes millions a month doing it.
So, the bottom line is I will still go for the higher targets, depending on immediate market conditions..but will no longer ignore obvious 10 tick scalp setups.
Failure is not an option
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I feel I have refined my setups in the last few months and my consistency has greatly improved. Although, I have been hitting my tick goal every week for quite some time now, I was also taking several poor entries each week. I now have only a few setups that I use and they are very, very simple for me to spot. I also know the type of market conditions they work best in. From this, I have been able to achieve a much higher weekly goal now.
The setups are all variations of 3 basic types of trades....A pullback in a strong fresh move or trend, a double top or double bottom reversal, and a small range breakout. Again I have specialized techniques for this, but they are all based on these three types of moves. It doesn't get much easier than that.
The pullbacks may need to fail twice at an area before re-entering the trend..or it may be a type with a single fail. I have gotten a feel for this and have a pretty good hit rate on these type of trades. These are my bread and butter trades and Cl has patterns for this that are very obvious for me to spot. I do very little on the range breaks..unless my order flow tools show that it is a viable move. Too many breakouts on Cl tend to fail.
Since most of my trades make at least twice what they lose, just taking all great setups works out well from a mathematical standpoint.
I feel the simpler I've made this, the easier it has become to be consistent.
I have been on a few forums..before finding this one..and I see the same sort of traders on all of them. They are the proverbial "Seekers of the Holy Grail." Every week, they try a new indicator or chart setup. One week it's Renko bars, the next volume charts..or you name it. They can tell you the V-Wap for every day of the last two years..and every possible calculated pivot or fib level. But they never seem to have any consistent methodology. If you read their journals, their system changes every week. They never fail to grasp that their "system" may work in a nice straightforward volatile day, but totally collapse under erratic price moves. By viewing different types of charts everyday, they are never seeing price movement the same way..so they never learn to actually read market conditions. They think that their newest indicator..now set at it's newest calculation, will somehow provide their entry criteria. Then when it fails..it's off to another indicator and a new chart setup.
This is understandable when you are starting out, but some people stay stuck in this phase for years and years. If you look at the beginning of my journal, my methods have evolved quite a bit, too. But the charts are basically the same. This has helped me process the market through a similar vantage point for many years. If I had changed charts every few weeks..I seriously doubt I would now have the ability to hit my goals every week.
Failure is not an option
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So truly spoken, your whole posting. One has to progress and stick to one or a few things which are fitting. Starting out with a not-bad trading approach and refining it over a longer time opens the eyes to likely make it profitable. For myself since about two years I'm mainly sticking to a really simple approuch doing it on ES, CL and partly Forex-Pairs and together with daily experience I can't believe why I didn't do this long long time before. But I don't want to talk about me, your posting was just reminding me to myself getting back to the a 'simple' aprouch making it usable and stick on it without changing over and over.
I have found failing to quickly recognize my setups causes me to hesitate. I have also found changing chart time frames to be only cause confusion. I am trying to learn to make it simpler. I am continuing to try and simplify my setups and have clearly defined trigger and confirmation bars. When I make it simpler I find that I question myself. I have tended to think that analysis is the key to consistency. But I am learning it has nothing to do with it. Flawless execution is the key. I have even started to wonder if I need any analysis! For example, I have been trying to have a bias for the day...and I have found this doesn't seem to have any real value. Makes me wonder what I have been doing all these years...
The following user says Thank You to BlueRoo for this post:
Excellent points. Not too long ago, I scrolled through about 6 months of Cl charts and also reviewed some of my recorded sessions. On my 2 range entry chart, I saw what you almost might call Geometric patterns. I circled many of these patterns and studied them..where they were occurring, and what "wave" of the current trend they showed up. I also found corresponding patterns on 1 minute candle charts. I discovered when the two time frames were in sync with certain setup formations..and the market conditions had the type of volatility I look for..that I now had a high probability entry.
Now when I see it occur, I quickly run through a "checklist". What kind of immediate price congestion is in the way? Are we in a consolidated/chop period ? Is the the market too volatile and chaotic? (think first 5 minutes of an Crude Oil Inventory report) Is it too slow and lacks momentum ? If everything is a go, then when my price crosses the black spine ( on my 2 range) I enter without hesitation. My stop goes behind the last swing high or low of the setup. If it's more than a 15 tick stop, I will usually skip the trade. Occasionally on bouncy breakout trades, I will allow a 20 tick stop..but it's rare. And usually if price is going against me hard, I often exit with no more than a 10 tick loss.
I have found that having too much bias is not good for trading. No matter what I think is going to happen, I constantly run little "what-if" scenarios. In other words, what type of possible setup do I think could happen in the opposite direction of what I think is going to happen? I often have a strong bias concerning resistance or support levels and once I get close to these levels..I am certain they will get hit. But many times they don't and I miss reversal signals because I am only thinking in that one direction.
Anyhow, here is a couple of charts that might illustrate some typical setups I tend to look at. These are the same session on a 1 minute and a 2 range chart.
Failure is not an option
Last edited by lancelottrader; March 31st, 2015 at 12:33 AM.
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Sorry.Just noticed this post now. These are little charts I made from Ninja trader..I just open a 1 minute and a 10 second chart. Then I go into the Ninja default indicator list and select the Volume up down indicator. The next step is just to adjust the window of the chart so only the volume bars are showing..size it the way you want and voila!