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

  #51 (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 19

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One of my goals in the last week was to book a 30 tick day based solely on my opening levels. Today I was able to do that, so two days, two goals and 2 positive days in a row. A definite victory for me! While I left some money on the table, I am fully at ease with that. I came just one tick away from being stopped out at break even, but was lucky enough for price to move lower and finally hit my target. One single trade today with a $590.00 profit. Iíll take it!

Tomorrow is my last day of this combine. I am starting to settle into a trading plan I am feeling comfortable with. I will have to watch myself very closely, as I know I am not where I want to be. The cool thing about this journal is how my mindset has progressed. It really felt like I had NO idea what I was doing in the beginning, and while I am not quite there, I am starting to feel I am making some serious progress. Weíll have to see how much during the next combine.

My goal for tomorrow is to continue to trade my plan and see if I canít get a second milestone of a plus $1000 day. If I donít hit it, I wonít be too disappointed, as long as I am following my trading plan and showing patience.

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  #52 (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 20 - Last Day

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While I am not happy with the performance of my combine, I can definitely say it has helped me immensely in my progress. I am truly beginning to see what it takes to become a professional trader and I believe I do have those qualities. I am really looking forward to my next combine and know that while I may not get funded, it will have improved on my previous attempts. I will continue to keep a journal and know that it is only a matter of time before I am funded.

Today I had one goal and that was to hit another $1000 milestone. I did trade around my levels, but honestly I was more gambling than anything. I ended the day at a loss, but am not unhappy with not reaching the $1000 milestone. Personally it has been a brutal month and I am proud of myself for continuing to plug away. Now that things have settled for me, I will be better prepared for the next challenge.

Although I did trade off levels, I was kind of all over the place. I did place a nice short at settlement, but did not let the trade run as I should have. Trading with 2 contracts makes it more difficult since I could lose twice as much as I could make. I also donít think itís a good idea to set a monetary goal, as goals should be to trade the plan and let the money do its thing based on solid trading. I knew that going in, but was really just concerned about hitting the milestone.

Here is my completed combine and I look forward to showing a profitable one for my next challenge.

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  #53 (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 III - Day 5


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While I do keep my own journal, I thought it would be good for me to continue to post my progress for this latest combine. So far, I have had good success, with 4 up days and 1 down day. The only issue is the one down day I had took away my profits for the first 3 days. Today I was able to get a good down move at the WTI open and am back in the black for my combine.

My strategy for this combine is really slow and steady. In my previous combine, I was more concerned with large moves, and that created larger stops and bigger losses. For this round, I am implementing my strategy and just taking smaller profits. Yesterday told me I still have some work on my discipline, but I am starting to get more comfortable with crude. In fact, yesterday would have been positive, but I forgot to put in a reversal at the EIA news and got stopped out, when I really wanted to reverse. I was too slow and won't let that happen again. I should have stopped there, but was hoping for some carry through from the news, as has happened on 3 previous weeks. Instead, it remained a bit choppy after the initial move down and I had to stop trading before I got too chopped up. It was another learning experience.

I did one trade today, 30 ticks, and since I am positive again, I'm going to stop. I would rather go into the weekend with a positive trade day. Better for me psychologically.

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

Combine 3 - Day 6

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It's interesting the progress I'm making. I don't feel the need to over trade and am happy taking things a bit slower than my previous combines. Today I placed one trade before the WTI open based on a breach of the daily pivot. I had a target of about 60 ticks, but saw a bit of strength and ended up with 39 ticks. I was happy with that trade, though I still need to work on maximizing my profits. The target was based solidly on support and it acted as it should. Right now I would like to build up a small cushion and gain some confidence so I can work on larger profits. Regardless, I like the direction I am taking and will continue to remain cautious and patient. I have plenty of time with this combine and am very happy I have posted profits 5 of 6 days. I never even came close to that on my previous combines.

Tomorrow I have the same plan, be patient and keep losses small. I have gained a lot more confidence, but know I have to be very aware that I can destroy those profits with a single bad trade. That is my biggest hurdle at this point, so I will continue to remind myself to stay disciplined. I am looking for consistency, and while a rollover would be great, I still have the ultimate goal to meet the profit objectives and get funded. I really wish I had discovered TST 2 years ago!

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  #55 (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 3 - Day 7

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I was a bit more active today, placing 4 trades. I had a monetary goal in mind today, which I think is a mistake. the good news is, I did manage to hit that goal. I think going forward I just need to focus on good trades. I have a decent cushion and the only monetary goal I should worry about is the end result and not focus on these goals daily.

First trade was a break even based on WTI open. I got more than 10 ticks and moved my stop to break even. I try to keep the stops tight around the open because of possible volatility.

My next entry target was around the S1 support line. Crude had been showing weakness pre-market, so I wanted to place a trade from a bounce off the S1 support. I got a good fill, but there was not much follow through, so I closed the position with a small profit.

3rd trade was a pure momentum play and since I didn't get a quick 10 ticks, I was stopped for my typical 10 tick loss.

At this point, momentum was just not working, but I felt crude still had some upside potential. I decided trade 4 would be my last trade. I had a 50 tick target and a 30 tick stop, just below the S1 line. I figured if it breached that line, I was wrong and would end the day with a loss. Luckily, crude eventually ran and after missing my target by a couple ticks twice, it finally hit the target and I ended up with a nice day.

The last trade is not typical of my style, so I still need to proceed with caution. I don't like using that wide of a stop, but I was at least willing to stop trading either way. Hopefully I can get some good momentum plays tomorrow. Still feeling very good about my trading, but I do acknowledge I still have some cracks in the armor.

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  #56 (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 3 - Day 8

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Today was a day of missed opportunity. I missed the reversal at the WTI open and got out too quickly on a couple other trades. My discipline has definitely gotten better, but I have 3 glaring things I need to work on.

1. Not getting out of trades too early

My theory here is that the times I let trades run a bit more will more than make up for the few times I get stopped out below my initial target. I have included a chart image on where I should have been more patient. Hopefully it will remind me to give some trades a chance to be more profitable.

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2. Knowing when to call it quits for the day

This one still puzzles me. I really have no idea when it would be a good time to throw in the towel for the day. I considered stopping after my third trade, as I was just not feeling confident, especially after missing my reversal at the WTI open. If anyone has any suggestions on a good rule of thumb, I am wide open! Maybe I should just trust my instincts.

3. Forcing trades

When I miss an opportunity I should have taken, and know I should have taken, I tend to start forcing things. I placed several trades today that were just not great. they weren't horrible, but the risk/reward ratio was not good.

The good news is I only lost 5 ticks plus commission. I placed several trades that were forced at best. My discipline is at least keeping me from larger losses, but I need to continue to work on my patience and wait for better set ups. I will also be more conscious of not forcing trades and just waiting for set ups I am more comfortable with.

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Here is the missed reversal.

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  #57 (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 3 - Day 9

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Well, I'm a little puzzled. . I had my best day so far for this combine, I traded well, and don't believe I made any mistakes. I am puzzled because I am wondering where this trader was for the first two combines. Guess I'm actually learning something. Who knew?

I placed 4 trades, all based on sound levels. 3 profitable, one B/E. I kept my stops tight and was fortunate enough to get some decent moves, especially my last trade. I love the momentum trades! These type of trades are my sweet spot, as that is the way I traded when I did stocks. I have also found that using stops to enter trades has been very beneficial. Pretty much all my entries and exits are stops. It has allowed me to take advantage of strong moves, whereas before I often missed good entries.

I am going to post my charts so I can go back and see what I did right and what entries or exits were less than stellar. I still need to work on when to call it a day if my trades are not working. It's easy when all the trades work, but that probably won't happen every day. I need to remember to keep that in mind.

I think the biggest benefit to me today is that I got some confirmation that using tight stops does work and will hopefully help me reinforce that thought. I remain cautious and humble, as I know all too well one bad day of trading can wipe out an entire two weeks of good trading. I remember when I went full time trading stocks, I thought I was the king of trading and was quickly humbled. I failed to respect the market and it handed me a very tough lesson. I will always respect whatever market I trade, no matter how well I am doing.

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  #58 (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 3 - Day 10

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Today was a good test! I placed 5 trades, 1 B/E, 1 loss, and 3 profitable. The test came at trade 4. I placed a short at the current HOD based on the fact there was no follow through. I kept my typical 10 tick stop and was stopped out, only to see price continue downward. My first reaction is to get mad, but I recognized this, and was able to move on. Stuff happens in trading and this was just part of it. Instead of dwelling on the negative, I chose to move on, what was done is done, and look for another opportunity. I was still up 7 ticks at this point.

Final trade was also interesting. I had a sell stop placed just below the daily pivot. Price had not been showing strength and I was betting on a continuation downward once the pivot was broken. Price often bounces off these levels, but the chart was showing weakness. One thing I noticed was price kept rejecting at 140. My instincts were telling me to short at that level. It was a low risk trade, so I followed my instinct and placed a sell limit order at 141. Price rejected again and I was out with a 30 tick profit. In the past I have had trouble focusing, and that inner voice was usually silent. Even when it does speak, I am usually too nervous to place the trade. This was a huge step for me and I am finding that now I am settling into a comfort level with my trading, my mind is much clearer. While I will still enter the majority of my trades on stops, I may place a few limit orders if I get that kind of instinct again. I still need to remain humble.

Half way through my combine I am at 8 profitable days and just 2 losing days. I am just above half way to the profit goal. Just very happy with my progress and growth. While I could have let some of these trades run a bit more, especially the last trade, I closed positions based on information the chart was showing me. I plan to continue to take this slow and steady. So far it has worked out very well.

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  #59 (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 3 - Day 11

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I chose not to trade yesterday as I was uncertain how the delayed EIA report might affect crude. I did have a stop placed to try and pick up a momentum trade on the report, but it failed to do anything, so I never picked up a position.

Today was an excellent example of how much focus it takes to be successful at this vocation. While I didn't have a terrible day, I was not 100% focused, had some distractions, and it interfered with my feel. The first couple trades were typical, no issues with those. The third trade I placed a long at support and simply closed it too quickly, not allowing my stop to prove me wrong. The next few trades were not bad, but I just didn't have a good feel for anything today. My 20 point loss was way too much for the circumstances and I should have easily lost less on the trade based on my parameters.

Anyway, without going into too much detail, the lesson learned today was I need to be 100% focused or I simply should not trade. I may have still incurred losses today, but I would be better with that if I felt I was 100%. I was 80% at best today. The good news is I have the discipline to recognize this and know when I should just stop trading. Combine still looks good and I still have a great shot at getting funded. Wed-Fri I should be better focused on the task at hand.

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  #60 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: T4
Favorite Futures: Crude
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Combine 3 - Day 12


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Well, found a chink in my armor today. I got no follow through on any of my trades and was going to settle for a loss of $435. Instead, I forced it and ended up down $830. I get into these modes and need to show more discipline. I did not want to have 2 losing days in a row, and seemed determined to make sure that did not happen. Instead I traded horribly and just lost it. The best thing I can do is learn from this and be disciplined tomorrow. I am still profitable by $725 and am going to change my personal daily loss limit to $500. If I hit that the next 2 days, I will end up hitting my loss limit and be out of the combine. I am not going to let that happen. If I want to be a professional trader, I need to stick to my plan and not worry about milestones and losses, etc. I have had 11 days of consistent trading and I sure don't want to blow that effort in a few days. I will study my chart from today and see the mistakes I made and have a better plan for tomorrow.

My momentum trading does not work as well in choppy markets, so I will need to study the best approach when the markets get choppy. Though for today, the bottom line is I got mad and moved my stops away from my normal limits and took larger losses than were necessary. Hopefully I can get back on track tomorrow.

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