I think you perhaps shouldn't be looking at trading "a few contracts" at all, let alone with different profit targets, as a way of passing a Combine: what you need is one simple method with a proven edge, reliably and consistently applied, to get you through a Combine by applying its edge to the market often enough, even with onecontract.
Question: do you have a proven edge, here? Do you have, outside of Combine attempts and outside of TopStep, a series of 200+ consecutive trade results of your own (on either a real account or even a simulated/demo one) that shows an upward curve without any big drawdowns? I don't suggest that you necessarily need to answer this question in public, of course, but it's clearly a question you need to be able to answer for yourself, and confidently.
If you do, and duplicate it with appropriate position-sizing during a Combine, you can pass a Combine.
If you don't, then actually we're talking about "How to trade profitably" rather than "How to pass a Combine", I think?
Sorry if I sound pedantic about this, but I think you really do need complete clarity on this point, before trying to pass a Combine.
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Really good advice here, from both guys. I've read tons of posts on this forum so I know their average contribution is pure gold. Nothing to add to that.
If it makes you feel better, you're in good company. I find myself thinking "ah, finally I'm so close" and then hit a streak of losses. For me there have been multiple reasons: excessive confidence leading to looser money management, market randomness giving you a cluster of losses after a cluster of trades that inexplicably go your way. At the core though there usually is unsound money management (trading too many contracts, adding to losers, bad entries) and only you are in the best position to find out exactly what it is. Review your trades, pick a few mistakes you seem to be repeating, and make a spreadsheet to track their frequency, then you'll have metrics (even approximate ones) to review your trading.
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The last few comments I'm caught up on already. I think they are more applicable for complete beginners. I've been day trading futures to get a funded account since August or September straight through day and night. The previous two years were spent on research and development of markets and strategies. I'm just doing the prop firm gig to fund my own boat.
I did exactly what we were talking about by reducing size, and staying that low today. I never went over 3 cons today, and 95% of the time I was on one contract. The profits and losses were not nearly as wide ranging as they have been for the past several months of training, and the bulk of the time I was in the green. I closed out at about $6-700 up today, and I'm going to work the over night in a few hours after I get some zzzzzzz.
I made a few mistakes that I could have avoided today, so that number should be up, but over all I was impressed because I could trade the market sell off trend on the up and on the down waves through the day like riding an alley between two waves, and carving both walls on nearly each move I made.
I'm thinking this week is going to turn out the most positive one so far.
I do the same thing they would do in the pit or if the guys from the pit wanted computer assistance. I look for inflection points in the auction prices, and I trade those inflection points called the reversals. The rule is if there is no oscillation from oversold to overbought, but it's a one way deal with just oversold, oversold, oversold bearish trending or just overbought, overbought, overbought bullish trending through the day, then you are trading a trend day that day.
I use assistance to know the score though. I know the score the first thing in the morning that will let me know what "paper" is thinking and is going to do that day. I know if paper wants to stand back or do little of nothing, I know if they want to take profits, and I know if they are scared selling or they see big hopes in the future buying. I constantly study global politics, economics, culture, technologies, and military news to know the score. To me the world is this big behavioral economic topographic map of human expression and resources that I watch on the news from multiple sources scouring for deviations that are going to set off the "paper" to do something out of the ordinary, do little, or do nothing. I'm going to trade those deviations on trending days, and I'm going to trade those oscillating reversals on subtle no news days.
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The top wave on the oscilloscope is more like a subtle oscillation day in the market. The bottom wave is more like a trend day which each time becomes over bought continues to be over bought although on an actual 5 min chart the day looks more alike stairs upward or downward than that.......99.99% of the time. Actually that bottom wave looks more like the Alere ALR chart after it was bought out by Abbott last week.
I'll put it a another way.
The day can start off with a big drop on the /ES for example, and then it might trend the rest of the day without oscillating oversold and overbought reversals over and over. The oversold and overbought conditions imply a reversal is due, right? All traders know that one. The market begins to travel back and forth on a 5 min chart like an electric wave on an oscilloscope.
When there is some kind of economic indicator that strongly affects the mood of the market, the oscillation process will not complete itself. The market is not going to oscillate. By that I mean that instead of oscillating oversold and overbought then reversing each time the conditions are met, it will build up to an overbought condition for instance, and then it will continue higher repeating the same thing; building up, pausing, and continuing higher to trend producing a stair step like ascent higher on a 5 min chart.
A bullish trend day for something like a really great economic indicator that day will look like that, but a bearish trend day that results from bearish news will stair step down.
Therefore what I have seen in my experience is that there are subtle oscillating days of oversold and overbought reversals on the chart like the electric wave of the oscilloscope, and there are bearish or bullish trend days.
And there you have: secret to the world.
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