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TST Combine Journal
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TST Combine Journal

  #491 (permalink)
Elite Member
Guildford Surrey UK
 
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Hi Indextrader7,
Thanks for posting your journals and describing all your ups and downs.
I have a small contribution:

A little story with a surprising ending: I had had a long day (and heavy) last Friday loading a van to take some things down to my son 100 miles away. The next day I was up early and we got to his house and worked flat out all day unloading, moving, fixing things, putting up shelves, mirrors all that sort of thing -- all the while nursing a cold and sinus congestion. (bear with me-I hope it's worth it) Drove back and got to bed at 01:30 then up at 06:00 to get the van back to the hire company in time. Felt pretty poor but had a tennis commitment at 12:30 which I wanted to break, but notice was too short so I played.
(Nearly there) I thought to myself, what I have to do to get through this is conserve energy and watch the ball. It was a mens' 4 and we rotated. At the end, I found that I had played the best, in that I was in the winning pair each time. My thoughts had been solely about the process (I was just trying to survive) not the result.
I know and I know you know that this is the the way to go, but it was a STRIKING reminder and evidence in my face that it's the process not the outcome that we have to concentrate on.
BTW I also noticed a few years back that MANY times tennis players on the tour would get an injury and take a break to recover and come back in GREAT shape and WIN tournaments.
There may be lessons there and I hope you can sort out the issues. Thanks again for journals.
Best wishes
JS

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  #492 (permalink)
Elite Member
west palm beach florida usa
 
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I know you may not want any more advice..but allow me to just articulate a few things that have really turned things around for me.

Being a discretionary trader myself and someone, who through years of screentime..felt like I had a very good feel and read on Price Action. The problem was, my trading was very spontaneous and based on what I believed I was seeing at that moment . In other words, I had no real plan for the trading day. The results were not particularly good. I won't bore you with my tales of horror and trading disasters, but believe me..if anyone should have hung it up it was me. Every revenge trading mistake and impulse control meltdown was experienced by me and the financial costs were enormous. I almost gave up about a year ago. The stress and negative toll on my emotions and self esteem was almost too much to take.

A couple of changes made a huge difference. First of all, I found that there were only three setups in my trading arsenal that consistently worked. I decided to only trade those three no matter what temptation I saw on that screen. Also, I focused on only one instrument which was Cl.

Then each day before the 9 am open, I did my homework as far as major s/r levels and even minor ones and mapped out every area of price congestion that could cause a bounce or reaction to a trade. Then I wrote at least 5 or 6 scenarios taking into account what I would do at various price levels. I had a plan if there was tons of volume showing up and momentum (breakout scenarios), if the day was ranging..if it was choppy. So not only did the plan include what to do at those price areas of interest, but also the context of the market conditions that would show up and the volume involved. All these planned scenarios had to involve only my three setups.
This alone eliminated all impulse trades and all revenge trade scenarios. The plan would get updated and modified during time segments of the day. For example, after the opening range had been clearly established, the plan would be modified to take into account any changes that needed to be made.

So, my question before each trade was.."Is this trade in your plan ?" If not, I don't trade..even if I sit there for two hours without trading .
If I told you how much I have improved since doing this, you would find it hard to believe. I haven't had a losing week in quite a while..and this is live trading..not SIM.
So, what helped is....Finding setups that worked..having a written plan each day, and not trading if nothing fits into the plan.

Failure is not an option
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  #493 (permalink)
Membership Temporarily Revoked
Birmingham, AL
 
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Combine 3 comes to an end


After the large loss yesterday, I didn't have much room left in this combine as I was near the max DD. I hit the max DD in today's session on a string of normal trades/normal sized losses. This is of no consequence, as I traded a plan today, executed well, and managed risk.

Oddly enough, I don't have much to say in summary of this combine that hasn't already been said.

Total focus inwards going forward. I admit and understand that I am very risk seeking, and have a tendency to need to be right. I'm working on improving my self awareness so that I can figure out exactly what my ques are and be aware of them in real time so I can re-focus on process and make the right decisions. I've got to absolutely memorize my risk plan inside and out. I realize that I have been stubborn in HOW I am approaching this, and I must really focus on fixing the problem, not just continuing to bang away defiantly. This doesn't mean I'll take a month off to psycho-analyze; but rather make sure I'm putting in the PROPER work OUTSIDE of trading hours to address the issues head on and make sure that I've checked my oil, my tire pressure, and have my seat-belt fastened before putting the pedal to the metal. It's been recommended that if I continue to violate my self-agreements, I'll have to quit trading all together and accept that it is not for me.


Here's the final TST reports for combine 3.

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And a few of my stats:

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  #494 (permalink)
The fun is in the numbers
Point Roberts, WA, USA
 
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lancelottrader View Post
only three setups
only one instrument

wrote at least 5 or 6 scenarios taking into account what I would do at various price levels.
the plan included what to do at those price areas of interest, but also the context of the market conditions that would show up and the volume involved.

Finding setups that worked..having a written plan each day, and not trading if nothing fits into the plan.

Wow! I gotta get to this. I love the idea of having the various scenarios planned out.

Keep your mind in the future, in the now.
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  #495 (permalink)
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Looking Inward

This is an attempt to get to know myself. I am aware of the mistakes that I make, but I need to look deeper inside.

This is a look at the whyís for the clearly bad decision-making that is frequently occurring in my trading.

After much deliberation, I can break this down into two distinct categories of decisions. Decisions made in an attempt to be profitable on a single trade, and decisions made in an attempt to be profitable on the day.
 Decisions I tend to make in an attempt to be profitable on a trade
o Enter early. I donít want to miss a trade.
o Add to losing trades. This will improve my average entry and give me a better chance to win on the trade.
o Immediately re-enter (in the same direction) into a position that has just stopped out. This is a way to avoid breaking a rule of moving a stop loss, or taking too large of a loss for an individual trade, while at the same time allowing this trade/idea more of a chance to play out as I am currently hoping and whishing it would do.
 Decisions I tend to make in an attempt to be profitable on the day
o Trade a larger size than normal. I want to quickly make back some losses I have had on the session.
o Trade more frequently. If I donít put another trade on, my P/L simply stays in the red for the day.
o Taking sub-optimal or even random whim entries. This ties in closely with the previous point on frequency. Again, if I donít put a trade on, I canít change the P/L to green.
Are there other things that are hindering your trading performance?

Both categories of decisions have one thing in common. They are all decisions with a focus on being profitable. Being profitable is focusing on the outcome of trading. I cannot control the outcome of trades. I cannot even control the outcome of a series of trades for a session; the sample size is typically too small to be significant, and itís a known fact that even the best trader in the world cannot be profitable every single day. Itís quite counterproductive that honestly attempt to do so.

What steps can I take to improve this? What can I control in order to make trading completely, totally about the process of executing well?

 I can find the patterns and cues that show themselves leading up to the change in behavior.
o Can you find a pattern in your trading that leads to the poor decision-making?
 ? Weekend work
o Can you think of cues that may have presented themselves leading to the poor decisions?
 ? Weekend work
 I can add some type of pre-session routine that addresses this.
o In the past my pre-session routine has been nearly non-existent. I will wake up half an hour to an hour before the open, brush my teeth, use the restroom maybe, take my Zyrtec, walk into my office and turn on the computer, check the Econ releases for the day, check email and futures.io (formerly BMT), then start analyzing charts getting ready for the open in half an hour.
o So in general, I think my pre-session routine needs to change, and I certainly want to include something in it that directly relates to what it is I am trying to accomplish with a focus on process and execution.
o Other things I can think of incorporating BEFORE firing up any charts:
 Wake up earlier.
 Time for prayer, forgiveness, gratitude, humility
 Workout. This would set the tone for discipline.
 How about eating something? Too many days I do not eat anything all day until 3pm.
 A reminder of goals I am working towards both in trading and life
 Review statements that I find to be true about trading and markets (Mark Douglas principles)
 Walk through of my risk plan
 Mentally rehearse flawless execution of both winning and losing trades through a session
 Now you can open charts and prepare for the open
 I can take steps throughout the day to check in with myself.
o ?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a work in progress clearly. I'm exhausted at this point as it's 11PM, so I'll stop for now and revisit this tomorrow.

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  #496 (permalink)
Trading for Profit
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: ES
 
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Posts: 554 since Jan 2013
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I apologize for posting here although I promised not to, but there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Combine rules, that helped you to fail. So here we go...


indextrader7 View Post
After the large loss yesterday, I didn't have much room left in this combine as I was near the max DD. I hit the max DD in today's session on a string of normal trades/normal sized losses.

You can dip below the max. DD. I repeat, according to the rules, you are allowed to go below the max. DD, as long as you close above it by the end of day. I explained this in my Combine strategy thread:



Pedro40 View Post
So the TST website is correct, although not logical. You can go below the max DD as long as you close the day above it and as long as you don't go below the DLL ever, during the day....

So I guess if you finish a day very close to your max. DD, it is possible that you can go below it the next day by almost the whole DLL, as long as your position never takes the DLL out, if you manage to come back by closing, you are golden. It also means that the unrealized max DD can be almost: max DD plus DLL. In the case of the 50K Combine, I guess you can go as low as 47.01K if it is unrealized loss, but you have to close above 48K. I think if you close that loss during the day, the game is also over... (maybe I will try it tomorrow)

You started out with 1100$ above your max. DD on Friday. Since your DLL is 3K, you actually could have gone 4100$ negative as long as the position turned around and you closed about 145.5K.

So depending on your strategy and the market movement, once you lost close to down to the max. DD you should have stopped and waited for a very good set up. That set up could have come either on Friday or in the next few trading days. Then you go heavy as a hail Mary and if your set up is good enough and you have a little luck, this trade take you away from the max. DD.

The point is, you can repeat this several times, so you can trade for days close to the max. DD and dipping below it even by a large amount, as long as you make it back above it by day's end. This screws your passing the Combine chances, but not your rollover chances. So after doing this if you make it back to above your starting balance and stats are good, you can qualify for a redo...

This knowledge might help you and others in the future. I was in the same situation in my last combine, I went below my max. DD, but I managed to bring the position back to almost breakeven a few days later.

Again, apologies for the interruption....

Edit: I haven't tried, but I think you can actually close positions below the max. DD during the day as long as you make it above it, of course....


Last edited by Pedro40; May 4th, 2013 at 09:10 AM.
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  #497 (permalink)
Membership Temporarily Revoked
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In looking for cues to "going rogue" and trading too large of size, I have found some things as I pour through trades.

It seems there are precisely two distinct times that my "risk seeking" nature kicks in full throttle and risk mgmt thrown to the wind. These categories are:

1) Most occur after a loss (or string of losses/frustrations).
2)The other category is a bit more interesting, and slightly less frequent. They all occur after lunch, and when I am up pretty big on the day. Often times there is a long pause between the good trading and then the post lunch bad trades. this indicates that I have a good session, probably feel overconfident, go to lunch, and come back looking to make a good sized winning day a HUGE winning day. I become risk seeking from the euphoria of the good morning session.

Take this last combine for example:

In combine #3, there were 7 times that I majorly violated position sizing guidelines. (Traded larger than 8 contracts)

4 of the 7 times were following a losing trade.

The three trades that did not follow a losing trades were all after lunch in a situation where I was up big on the day (+1,450; +1,650; and +700 on the days respectively)

You can see some of this graphically here for the first 8 days of Combine 3.
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I'm not entirely sure what exactly I will do with this information, but I think the largest hurdle is overcome because the largest hurdle is NOT KNOWING what tends to set me off, and there is a definite clear pattern in my behavior.

I'm better understanding myself, and becoming more aware of it. The work to couple with this is to apply the awareness during the trading session to catch thoughts/feelings that rise up and stop an action before it happens. Make the best decision and execute well despite my monkey.

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  #498 (permalink)
Elite Member
west palm beach florida usa
 
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indextrader7 View Post

I'm not entirely sure what exactly I will do with this information, but I think the largest hurdle is overcome because the largest hurdle is NOT KNOWING what tends to set me off, and there is a definite clear pattern in my behavior.

Why not write a specific set of rules in bold letters that applies to each negative behavior pattern and have it next to your PC where you can see it all times. If you're about to take a trade..and you quickly glance at your Rule list, and the trade is violating it..don't take the trade. Exert some discipline.

Failure is not an option
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  #499 (permalink)
Membership Temporarily Revoked
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Goodbye for now

First off, another big thank you to everyone who has offered a word of encouragement, advice, or congratulations up to this point.

After much deliberation, I've decided to discontinue consistent posting on this journal. It has become counter-productive and there are some ego-based things going on. I've noticed a feeling of having to "prove" something to others. Detachment from here will allow me to work on my true self, without constantly considering what others will think of this or that.

Public journals can be good tools, but for me it is not the right thing for the moment.

Think of this as me not doing the live video of the trading session and instead doing a daily recap. Except now I've decided not to do the day to day recap, but I'll instead post here with entire recaps of major developments such as passing a combine, not passing a combine, or taking a different path.

My best wishes to you all. I'll be around.

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  #500 (permalink)
Elite Member
Guildford Surrey UK
 
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Indextrader7,
for what it's worth I think that's a great decision as it will allow you to go deep and focus on just you.
You seem to have got to a point where you are able to see (IMO accurately) what's happening and what you need to do about it, which you might not have seen without baring your soul and becoming vulnerable. It's all a journey/process and you are making advances, so all good.
I wish you the very best.
Regards
JS

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