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Ashmat's Topstep Trader Combine Journal
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Ashmat's Topstep Trader Combine Journal

  #11 (permalink)
Elite Member
Duisburg, Germany
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TWS, NinjaTrader, MT4
Broker/Data: FXCM, Interactive Brokers, Oanda
Favorite Futures: Forex
 
Posts: 129 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 55 given, 44 received


Ashmat View Post
Have to be in Yuba City early today, so no trading. Should resume tomorrow.

I grew up in Yuba City, CA! Spent almost 30 years of my life there.

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  #12 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Wow, Germany is a long way from Yuba City!

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  #13 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Day 4 of the combine


Only had 3 trades today. First trade was a short reversal off the intraday high at 10766. Crude had broken above on a huge move earlier and I waited for a decent entry. I was stopped out at 10775 for a 9 tick loss. I was fine with that trade as the continuation down after a large move did not surface and my stop protected me.

2nd trade was another short below the R1 pivot at 774. My only critique of this trade was that entry could have been better. I risked 21 ticks, which was above the R1 pivot of 10789 and target was the pivot of 10724 for 50 ticks. I was again stopped out at 10795 for a 21 tick loss.

3rd and final trade was a long at 10810. I had a stop at 10780 and target of 10860. Again, I was not happy with my entry, though sticking to my trading plan. A loss would hit my personal daily loss limit of $600.00, so I was okay with that as well. I was stopped out at 10780 and stopped trading for the day.

I am questioning the way I trade my strategy. I am not comfortable with 20 and 30 tick stops, but want to give these trades a chance to run a bit. The combine parameters are tough, and while I will not abandon my strategy, I may look at scalping the strategy until I become more comfortable with larger risk/reward trades. My strategy works for both shorter and longer term trades, but I am concerned about hitting my max loss limit. Would only take a few trades to hit that parameter while looking at larger moves.

Positives: Followed my plan, did not over trade.

Improvements: Need to improve my entries. Questioning my risk/reward parameters. Missed a couple good set ups because the 50 tick move in 2 minutes made me more cautious and I was less willing to pull the trigger.

I guess I need to decide if Iím a scalper or a longer time frame trader.

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  #14 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Combine Day 5

Well, Iím making progress. I got off to a late start and was determined to trade my plan today.

First trade was a long off short term support at 685. I was stopped at 673. Not a bad trade, HOWEVER, I did not use my typical confirming entry. In this case, an entry above the close of the support line would have adhered to my plan. I was trying to get a better price and still not terribly disappointed in the trade.

Second trade was a short at short term resistance at 697. This trade was executed per plan, but I was stopped at 707. I really hate starting the day off with 2 consecutive losers, but I was determined to stick to my plan.

Third trade was a long off support at 707. I widened my stop to below previous support and closed the trade out at the daily pivot area, filled at 729. I did not plan to let it run, as my goal was to get back even.

At this point I was break even and decided to focus on trading around the pivot.

Went long at 732 and closed at 728, when it hit the pivot line on the downside.

Went short at 724 and covered at the pivot line again at 730.

Went long again at 733, above the pivot, and reversed at 724.

At this point I had a 30 tick profit target and was filled at 694.

That was the final trade for the day. I booked a small profit and decided to stop on a plus. I wanted to avoid over trading and I also prefer to start earlier.

I have a ways to go, but was happy I stuck to my rules today. Helps to do that during a live trading session, as it helps to reinforce whether the plan actually works.

Positives: I stuck to my plan today, even though I got chopped up a bit.

Improvements: I think I really needed to wait for better levels, such as the daily pivots. Looking to be more patient tomorrow.

Even though my profit was low today, it was a profit and I felt very good about my trading. Now I just need to do this consistently.

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  #15 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Combine Day 6

Combine Day 6

Well, I am still struggling with my discipline. 3 trades today.

First trade was long at 565 off the S2 pivot and I was stopped out just below the pivot at 555 for a 10 tick loss.

Second trade I re-entered long above the pivot, but moved my stop as it went against me. I was very lucky the trade eventually went in my favor and I closed out at an 11 tick profit, making me even for the day. Lucky is not a good thing in this situation. I gambled, plain and simple.

Third trade I did the same thing, shorting at support at 642. I knew the stop should have been 649, but I did the same thing. My thought process was I was tired of my first trade being a loser and I was determined to make it a winner. Instead of doing what I was supposed to, I moved my stop again and finally just closed the position for a 41 tick loss.

These are old habits that have crept back into my psyche. Part of the problem is I started the first few days of the combine in the hole. And the fact that it seems my first trades are often losers, not sure why there, but thatís not the issue.

The issue is I have to get the psychological issues resolved or I will never progress as a trader. How will I ever know if a trading plan works if I donít have the discipline to execute it?

I am very close to my loss limit in my combine. I have a plan for tomorrow and will hopefully be able to scratch myself back. If not, Iíll continue to trade the account for practice and hope I can learn something to apply to my next combine. I know what I have to do, the question is, can I do it? Time will tell. I have been a successful trader in the past and refuse to give up.

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  #16 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

No Trading Today

Decided to step back for a day and re-assess my plan. Think I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow. I am close to the loss limit, so hopefully I can post some positive numbers. I have a better idea what I want to do and will hopefully do it without emotion. One day at a time!

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  #17 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Combine Day 7

I banked profits early this morning and was very happy with the way I traded. Of course having a profitable day does make it easier.

I made a couple observations yesterday that I want to record for my own benefit. Whether they mean anything, time will tell.

1. When buying/selling off support/resistance, make sure the short term trend is still intact.

2. Observe larger trades at key levels to determine if I can read anything into that. Not necessarily going to trade off that until I can see patterns, if any.

3. I think for me, this is the most important! Look at intraday levels closely. Not having traded Crude before, I have been struggling on finding true key levels. In looking back historically, there are very good levels created from intraday action that may not necessarily fall in line with pivots. I also plan on recording the strongest levels and focus on those. Still a journeyÖ.

I am still trying to determine whether a 10 tick stop is reasonable based on where I place my trades. Seems a 20 tick stop might allow for some more wiggle room, but so far it seems most of the time when I move my stop further from 10 ticks, I still get stopped out. For now, I am hoping to keep my stops at 10 ticks and record what happens. Will give me a better idea.

First trade was a scratch. Went long at the WTI open right above the pivot, it ran up a bit, and I moved my stop to BE and was stopped out.

Second trade was a long at the pivot, without a confirming signal. I moved my stop from 10 to 18 ticks, which was short term support, and was quickly stopped out. Once again, was trying to get a better price, but did not receive a confirming signal. I have done this before.

At this point, I have started in the hole once again, mainly because I did not trade on my confirming signal.
The next 3 trades were solid, rule based trades and I ended up 34 ticks on the day.

Still alive and with a fighting chance. Felt much better going into the trading session today, and even though I started in the hole, I was determined to trade my plan. Still working on my consistency. I know these posts are lengthy, but they have been helping. Hopefully I am benefiting another trader who is having the same struggles. Back at it tomorrow, but will do a little paper trading for the rest of the day.

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  #18 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Combine day 8

When I traded stocks, I used stops a lot to enter trades. I think eventually, I moved away from that and became much more of a rogue trader, thinking I was Godís gift to trading. That didn't end well . I decided to implement that in my trading today. I have found when placing market orders, Crude is oftentimes well above or below where I would have liked to get in. I also find that when I use stops to enter trades, I am expecting a very specific momentum move. When that doesn't happen, I am able to remain more disciplined and get out quickly, since the move was not what I had expected.

I placed several trades at a few key levels and without getting too lengthy, I was stopped out at BE on every single trade. The one trade I didn't pull the trigger on was at the biggest move of the day. I have gone from being trigger happy to trigger shy. I had the set up and was ready to go, but got BIASED to the downside again. Will I ever learn?

Bottom line for today is I was much more comfortable adapting my old style. I will continue to do this going forward and I think it could work very well for Crude. I never once moved my stop because I panicked. Itís interesting that 4 trades today moved 10 ticks in my favor, but my target was a minimum of 30 ticks profit and I move my stop to B/E after a 10 tick run in my favor. Iím going to keep an eye on this very closely, though for now, I will look for larger targets as long as there is room (i.e. clear from previous sup/res areas. I canít go broke breaking even, but I canít make money doing that either.

I consider today a great day. I think I am evolving, as I should be. And while it was not a profitable day, it was a fantastic learning day. Next step is to take my trading style and tweak it until I believe I can be consistently profitable. Donít know if Iíll recover to even earn a rollover, but so far this has been a phenomenal experience!

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  #19 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

No Trading

I didn't even open up my computer screen on Monday and no trading on Tuesday or Wednesday due to some last minute morning commitments. I'll be right back at it Thursday!

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  #20 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

Combine day 9


Today was a poor day to trade momentum. I executed my plan and stayed disciplined until my last trade. Again, I was frustrated that I couldn't get the few few trades in the black. I followed my entry rules for the last trade, but moved my stop and got stubborn on the position, determined to will it to move my way. It didn't and I was stopped out and got close to my $600 personal daily limit. The problem I have now is I am only $120.00 away from my max drawdown.

It has been a very difficult week personally, but regardless, I should have been patient and not let my emotions get to me. That is the current battle! I am going to skip trading tomorrow and resume after the holiday. I'll do some paper trading tomorrow and see if I can get this figured out. If I blow this combine, there is always another. I know I can do this once I take the emotions out of it, accept the fact losses will happen, and let my profits run a bit. I know had I just traded my plan, the damage would have been far less. I have to get past letting those first few trades get to me. I also need to look if there might be a reason few of my initial trades are ever profitable. Patience maybe? I'll have to take a look. I can use the 4 day break coming up to clear my head. I will get this!!

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