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Tap In's Corner

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  #1 (permalink)
 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Purpose of this journal: To improve my trading by collating my trades, charts, trade ideas, and trade thoughts into a one-stop-shop for easy review and recording of progress.

Instruments: Various and evolving. Currently CL, GC, NG, ES, NQ

The method:
Look for areas of support and resistance and observe how price reacts around these areas. Watch price action and use order flow tools to gauge market sentiment and take trades as price reverses off of, or continues through these areas.

Three basic elements:
1) Use support/resistance and other tools to create a framework around price. The tools include: Trend lines, Market profile, Pivots, Previous Highs and Lows, Opening Ranges, VWAP, and EMAs.
2) Use order flow tools to provide clues on price’s potential direction and current speed of market. Order Flow Tools include: Cumulative Delta, Time and Sales, DOM, Volume
3) Gut feel based on screen time experience.

As price approaches or lingers around previously identified key areas, watch order flow and ask questions:

Is price reversing or continuing?

What are the obstacles in the way?

How far might it potentially go?

If I engaged the market here what is the likelihood of success?

Where would I be proven wrong?

Does this trade fall within my risk tolerance?

Trading plan: 1 lot, 15-20 tick stops, 20 to 50+ tick targets. The goal is for winners to be larger than losers in the aggregate of closed trades. Strive to improve win/loss ratio. Bend the equity curve upwards in sim $3000 to $5000 in a reasonable period of time, without undue risk, or serious draw down. Then gradually transition to live. Increase trade size as account grows.

Daily loss/gain limit: None in sim. Just trade and learn. Set limits when live based on historical stats.

I reserve the right to change or alter my plan or method at any time with new discoveries. This trader’s journey has been a constantly evolving process.

Special thanks go out to all sources of knowledge that have contributed to my trading education. Nearly everything I know about trading I learned from someone else, including many here at futures.io (formerly BMT).

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  #3 (permalink)
 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received


My main trading screens consist of two monitors with two instruments each. For these screens I use Sierra Charts with the Sierra Chart Real Time data feed.

Each instrument has a short term trade entry chart and a long term big picture chart. They are both tick charts with the number of ticks on the big picture chart three times as large as the trade entry chart. The size of the ticks per bar varies with each instrument based on its typical volatility.

Tools on each screen include:

-Time and Sales to gauge the speed of the market. I do not stare at T & S. It is viewed out of the corner of my eye.

-Cumulative Delta: I have been watching CD for a long time in CL to gauge market sentiment and potential turning points. I have just started to watch it with GC and NG.

-Pivots based on Fibonacci calculations- Price often stalls or reverses at these pivots

-VWAP- price often stalls or reverses at the VWAP

-21 EMA for use as a relative positioning tool in strong trends.


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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

The secondary screen is on my laptop. It runs on the Think or Swim platform. This is where I look at market profile for each instrument. I like TOS for the grids that can be generated.

I look at the daily profiles in the regular trading hours, focusing mainly on the Point of Contention and the value area low and high. I will take all virgin POC’s and VA’s in the vicinity of current price and mark them on my trading charts for potential pause or turning points.



I also use extended market profile in various time frames for each instrument and mark my trading chart with areas of confluence or significant high value or low value nodes. This has been very valuable as a heads up for potential pausing and turning points.


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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Only took two trades today, both in NQ for +23 ticks total. I trade NQ with 2 contracts to equal the same tick value as the other instruments.

Had several opportunities in NG, and CL but played defense and did not take them. They would have resulted in some nice gains. I was a little cautious because of the holiday week and wanted to get off on the right foot today.

I like to mark up my charts using JING. Comments and markers are color coded to go together.

Summary:
2 trades: +23 ticks

Marked but not taken: +125 ticks potential

Tomorrow- Stay cautious and only trade set ups that look really good. Be cognizant of the energy in the markets. If there is no energy stay out. Watch for ranges and how price reacts to the opening ranges. Continue to look for CD events.

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  #6 (permalink)
 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

There are many ways to mess up trading it seems. I keep finding them every day!

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Performance relative to goals of the day: Did a pretty good job of staying cautious due to the holiday week. Maybe a little too cautious. Hesitated on a really juicy trade on NQ at the open and made a mechanical mistake on NG on my first trade. These two errors cost at least 40 ticks. This set the tone for the day that I was not able to overcome.

Really tried to pay attention to the energy of the markets which kept me out of chop. Was cognizant of where price was with Opening ranges. CL making the rare C down.

My hesitation translated to the instrument of the day, CL, where there was opportunity with my method to make over 100 ticks conservatively.

Took three losing trades of which there are no regrets. Not bad trades. They could just as easily produced nice gains. Note however, that 2nd attempts on the same trade idea (NQ today) should only be tried where the potential for gain can overcome the initial loss plus achieve the normal target.

All in all happy with how I am seeing the markets but need to loosen up and take more trades.

Results:
4 trades, 1 winner, 3 losers: -29
Trades marked but not taken: +70
Potential for the day: +31
add potential +90 for the missed unmarked trades that fit the methodology

Tomorrow: extra important to go where the energy is due to shortened week. Have the courage to take the A-1 set ups, especially early when the markets have more participation.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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As anticipated, the markets are slow so far. All of my instruments are stuck in ranges.

Two trades so far in oil. Both BE. Instincts correct to exit after stalling

Missed a nice trade in NQ. No guts, no confidence.

Idea: on days like today, when you know things will be choppy, how about playing the failure of the trend line break instead of the break itself? Or, play the break and reverse on the first sign of the stall.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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Passed on this NQ trade: Did not have confidence in my analysis.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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Hindsight is 20/20 alert. NG gets the instrument of the morning award. It can be very sneaky at times.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Another decent day of “seeing” price action. Only took two trades and marked a couple more. Was cautious per my plan due to the upcoming holiday.


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Tomorrow: extra important to go where the energy is due to shortened week. Have the courage to take the A-1 set ups, especially early when the markets have more participation.

Identified CL as the market with the energy and took two early trades, so pat on the back for achieving my goal. Declined a couple early trades in (NQ) that looked promising but the participation was questionable.

NG was the star of the day and I am disappointed I didn't have the fortitude to take advantage of it.

Results: two trades, 1 loser, 1 winner: +1
Marked, but not taken: +35
Other trade opps: + a bunch
Total number of trades I should have taken: 10

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 bobwest 
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Good journal, good comments on your charts.

I especially liked where you said "I need to figure out what I am not seeing..." Damn, me too!

I think that's pretty much the trader's theme song.

Appreciate your honesty and your thoroughness. Good weekend.

Bob.

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 Tap In 
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"It has now been a few days that Gold has avoided the party. Look for a high energy move soon."

Gold moving out as I type this at 8:25 PM PST. WTF, do I need to get up early on Thanksgiving and trade!!!?

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 Tap In 
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Logged in just for kicks today around 8:35am PST wanting to see what gold was doing. Turns out Oil threw the big party today due to the OPEC meetings.

I am a little concerned that if oil gets too low it will become a less attractive instrument to trade. That is why I began familiarizing myself with other instruments.

1 trade +20t


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 Tap In 
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Possible C/3 wave in Oil?

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 Tap In 
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I make this note to myself for future reference (and possible laughs!).

It feels like something is changing, that perhaps I am entering stage two of my trading career. This is the point where the trader senses that their read of the markets, their methodology, their technique if you will, is making some sense, has some merit, but that something is holding them back from exploiting opportunities. This is where the often talked about psychology of trading becomes the focus. The trader anticipates and sees areas in market development that speak to them, that say, "you should go short here", but they don't go short and watch as 70 ticks roll off in 10 minutes. As the trader watches these opportunities come and go, sometimes taking action, more often times not, their mental scorekeeper keeps tally of what "could be", of what "might have been." This feeling has been brewing for a couple months.

Of course, there is a danger that the trader is fooling themselves. They remember the missed gains while conveniently forgetting about the avoided full stop outs. It is important that the trader be honest with themselves and avoid falling into the Pollyanna trap.

I have long believed that the psychology of trading was an important factor in successful trading, but not the primary factor. The primary factor is the methodology, the proper reading of the market, the how-to of trading. This represents potential. Psychology determines how much potential is fulfilled. A trader with faulty technique has little potential. A trader with good technique can make as much money as their psychology will allow.

And so, this is where I believe I am in my trading development. Not that I think I have great technique, but that what I have now is adequate to consistently accumulate gains. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get over my psychological hurdles. I only hope it doesn't take as long to learn about myself as it has to learn the markets!

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Over a series of posts I will attempt to codify the details of my trade execution process, consisting of 3 steps.

Step 1) Build out market structure using the tools outlined in post #1.

The purpose of building market structure is to form a narrative of where price has been and where it is most likely go in the immediate future (Immediate future being the next 5 minutes to one hour, or, "where can I pick up 30 ticks with a 15 tick stop?").

I am also looking at potential obstacles in the way of the journey to target.

The goal is to find areas where I believe the odds are 50% or better that price will reach a +30 tick target before it hits a -15 tick stop. This being the classic 2:1 reward to risk ratio. If I can do this in the aggregate, and scale it up, it will yield adequate profitability. As the account grows and size becomes an issue I can look for areas where a larger stop and target are warranted.

My favorite tools to build structure are:
  • Trend lines/channels, complete with break/retest behavior as explained by MACK. I am looking for turning points, bounces off channel lines, breaks and back tests of significant lines.
  • Cumulative Delta: I am looking for divergences, hidden divergences, sentiment shifts, and areas of inventory reconciliation.
  • Previous significant swing highs and lows- I am looking for bounces, breaks, and back tests of these areas.
  • Significant market profile nodes like:
    • RTH POC's,
    • RTH Value area extremes
    • Extended market profile high value areas and low value areas, as per Matt Davio.
I am looking at behavior at theses areas for bounces, breaks and back tests.
  • Opening range as per Mark Fisher and as implemented by MFBreakout. I am looking at price's relationship to the opening range. Are we likely to stay within the range or has the range been broken to establish the sentiment for the remainder of the day?
Secondary considerations include the EMA, VWAP and Fibonacci Pivots. These tools are used for pull back references, potential target references, pausing points, and confluence.

I will also watch the DOM, especially with Oil. Large orders sitting ahead of price will often predict a move toward those orders at some point in the day.

Once I have an idea of where price is likely to go next, and have determine that a viable trade might be setting up, I turn to Step 2.

To be continued...

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
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Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Having identified under-trading as an issue, I will now turn my attention to addressing the problem. My definition of under-trading is, passing on too many trades that fulfill my entry criteria. Conversely, over-trading would be, taking too many trades that were questionable or did not fit my criteria. Of course, in staying out of some proper trades, losses have been avoided, but in the aggregate I believe under-trading is costing net gains.

I have decide to attack this issue with a two pronged approach:

1) Rather than jump in with guns blazing, taking every trade I see (a strategy that has not worked well in the past), the more achievable course of action will be to simply begin to raise awareness of my emotional and intellectual state of mind at the critical junctures. The goal is to make use of every trade opportunity in some way. This could mean actually taking the trade, or it could be just journaling a running commentary of my feelings and thoughts as the opportunity develops and passes. These comments will be noted on the charts at each trade location for easy review later.

With this data I can create a profile of my mental processes at the moment of truth. Perhaps I can begin to get an idea of why I choose to enter or pass on certain trades. Instead of seeing each missed trade as a negative, I will get some value out of each experience.

2) At the end of each day, the valid trade opportunities will be tallied, whether successful or not (this is where the trader must be honest with themselves), and compared to the number of actual trades taken. This ratio of trades taken to trade opportunities will create a benchmark for goal setting and further improvement.

This plan will begin Monday and continue as needed.

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Update:

It has been an interesting morning regarding the implementation of my plan. There are some challenges that will need to be ironed out:

- it is cumbersome to both watch and write at the same time, especially when several markets are firing at once. Need to streamline the running commentary part. Having said that, it has been helpful

- My commentary is revealing that I can justify passing on just about every trade. LOL. I definitely look for ways to stay out of trades to avoid the pain of being trapped in a loser. I have done a lot of losing in my trading career!

- tallying the trades that "I should have taken" is going to be a challenge. Do I only count the ones I liked in real time or do I use hindsight? Doing the former is kind of like actually trading which is not what I am after. Doing the latter can give a false sense of success if I am not careful about my selections. I'll need to think on this a bit.

1 trade so far, NG +30t

recap later

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

Trades taken: 1, +30t
Trades should have taken: 14, +275t potential
Efficiency ratio: 1/15 = 7%

Technical: really pleased with my technicals today. Read the markets nicely.

Psychological: 1st day of work on under-trading was interesting. Keeping up with journaling my thoughts and feelings in real time was challenging. I’ll need to streamline, probably use some code words. Not sure. I need to do it a few more times.

One takeaway from today is that I nitpick my trades. It seems I’ll find any way I can to talk myself out of it. I don’t want to get burned again like I have a thousand times in the past. This is the natural result of a home educated trader getting beat up for too long. One gets a little gun shy. I am sure many can relate.

Tomorrow: continue work on the 2 pronged under-trading project. Don’t be too anxious to trade. This is just the understanding period.

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 ratfink 
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Tap In View Post
One takeaway from today is that I nitpick my trades. It seems I’ll find any way I can to talk myself out of it. I don’t want to get burned again like I have a thousand times in the past. This is the natural result of a home educated trader getting beat up for too long. One gets a little gun shy. I am sure many can relate.

Yep, fight it nearly every day of the month. Apart from the 3 when I overtrade.

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 bobwest 
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Yep, fight it nearly every day of the month. Apart from the 3 when I overtrade.

Only 3? I want to know your secret....

Bob.

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 ratfink 
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Only 3? I want to know your secret....

Bob.

Well, when I overtrade I really overtrade and the red mist descends and leaves big ugly marks. Last month was great apart from 3 truly awful days. Only one thing has helped me get the number down - paying for the lessons. I still got complacent on the back of a good run when the skies looked clear, you know, like they do over the Sierra Nevada...

I would have to say that the gun-shy thing is a pain but always preferable.

[sorry @Tap In for intruding.]

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 Tap In 
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I also notice that I have a tendency to get the courage to take my first trade as the day gets older, primarily after the morning rush, after around 8am pst, after the best moves, when things have settled down. Not sure what this is all about. I do not think it is because of being overwhelmed by the activity since I am easily able to keep up with what is going on.

Maybe is has to do with having more time to contemplate the trade, to really think about it, that I need that extra time to be certain. I do this when I make other big decision in my life, whether it's a big purchase, or a project I want to turn out well. I'll do research, weight the pros and cons, take my time, contemplate until I think I've got things figured out. My wife on the other hand is a shoot first ask questions later decision maker. She'd be a great scalper!

Or, maybe I am subconsciously saving my losses for later so I don't have to call it a day too early. There are few things worse than getting in the hole right out of the gate and either being forced to stop or risking the huge losing day.

Not sure what's causing it, but I will be monitoring this in the journaling.

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 Tap In 
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Trades Taken: 1, -8t
Should have taken: 11, potential +140t
Efficiency: 1/12 = 8%

NQ, GC and NG were stuck in ranges for a good part of the morning. Oil was the mover today but I was never comfortable with the direction. Because of this I found myself complacent today. This tends to happen when I don’t like the look and price action of the markets early on. Rather than be on the alert for a market to wake up, I kind of check out and lose interest.

When a market like oil does come to life, and I miss or pass on the first couple successful set-ups, the complacency compounds and my interest in trading is even less. I feel that I have missed the best trades and now will be risking on the scraps, and that there will not be opportunities left to make up for any losses.

Anyway, rookie mistakes for sure, and something I need to work on. As a professional trader I need to be ready and willing for all opportunity.

Note: the one trade taken was after 9:30. Again, waiting until later to take first trade.

Regarding my plan, because of my lack of interest in trading I only kept a few notes. Need to do better.

Tomorrow: Continue to monitor thoughts and feelings at moment of truth. Stay engaged no matter what the market is doing. Take a trade or two early that look good.

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 Tap In 
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Update:

Most instruments stuck in ranges and chop. Stay patient. Inventory coming up should break things loose

tried one trade, no fill. Four marked trades, little potential.

NQ on the move. Looking for opp to downside.

Focus!

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 Tap In 
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Trade 1: NQ short. 6 ticks heat. +13

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 Tap In 
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Trade 2 GC: -10t

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 Tap In 
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In reviewing past charts I noticed that the majority of "should have taken" trades happen before 8:30am. So I am going to start paying attention to how I trade during that time:

So far today: 2 trades taken
5 trades should have taken.

2/7 = 28% efficiency

Not much yield on the trade areas since the markets aren't seeing much follow through, at least from the entries I identify

There were a couple nice trades I missed and a couple that I have to learn how to see in the future.

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 Tap In 
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Trades Taken: 2, +3t
Should have taken: 6, potential +30
Efficiency: 2/8= 25%

Good patience today. Markets not doing a lot, at least for how I trade. No big runners. I am finding my patience is very good these days. This is in part due to the fact that I know on any given day I can have an opportunity to get 200 ticks, so I can afford to wait. Now that I’ve said it I hope this doesn’t jinx me!

Took a couple trades early which is progress. Didn’t wait until later

Stayed focus throughout day, just didn’t see much that I was confident in. Did miss a great CL trade because of brief distraction. It happened fast and I almost hit the button.

Did some useful journaling.

Tomorrow: continue working on sustained focus throughout day, early trading (pre 8:30), and journaling during moment of truth. Be ready for one or more instruments to run, and if so, hit the button!

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 Tap In 
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Missed a doozy right out of the gate trying to work the order instead of hitting market

Trade 1: caught tail end. +14t

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 Tap In 
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Trades 2, 3, 4 one in gold two more in CL

+9t
0t
-10t

Missed two best trades of day. Figures

+13t on day so far. Proud of myself for hitting the button

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 Tap In 
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If I was a set-it-and-forget it trader I'd be -60t right now instead of +13t. Until I see more of my trades get to target I'm going to be a serial trade manager.

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 Tap In 
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Trades 5 and 6 in NG after inventory

Not one of my trades has followed through this morning. I seem to be on the wrong side of the market today and avoiding the best trades. Bright side is, I am taking trades. I have to remind myself that on some days those 6 trades would be +180t

6 trades, back to 0t on the day.

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 Tap In 
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8:30 Efficiency ratio update. I am actually going to start calling it the Courage Ratio:

Trades taken: 6, 0t
Should have taken: 3, potential +50t
Courage Ratio: 6/9 = 67%

Better!

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 Tap In 
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Trades Taken: 6, 0t
Should have taken: 4, potential +85t
Courage Ratio: 6/10= 60%

Today was good news bad news. Good news is that I really improved on my Courage Ratio (formerly efficiency) by taking 6 out of a possible 10 trades that I identified as reasonable risks. This was one of my major areas of focus, so in that sense today was a winner. They were all taken before 8:30

The bad news is that the trades I took went nowhere while the trades I passed on had potential +85 ticks. I need to evaluate whether this was just a coincidence and bad luck, or if there is something fundamentally different about the trades I skip vs the trades I take.

Of the 6 trades I took, the average movement in my favor was 10.5 ticks, with the largest being +28 ticks.

Conversely, the average movement against me was -34 ticks, with the largest being -75t.

It is a miracle I only lost commissions. It's going to be hard to make money if these are the type of entries I choose to take.

In any case, I am happy for the improved Courage Ratio.

Tomorrow continue to focus on:

-Taking early trades
-A good courage Ratio
-Mindfulness of thoughts and feelings during the moment of truth
-Be ready to trade a runner

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 bourgeois pig 
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Tap In View Post
8:30 Efficiency ratio update. I am actually going to start calling it the Courage Ratio:

Trades taken: 6, 0t
Should have taken: 3, potential +50t
Courage Ratio: 6/9 = 67%

Better!

I like the "courgage ratio"! I am going to start keeping track of mine.

I have hesitation issues due to past experience.

The courage ratio will be a good way to quantify and gauge my problem/progress.

Tear down the wall.

Thanks for posting!

"Napoleans severest comment on his beaten enemies - that they "saw to many things at once""- Hart
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 Tap In 
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bourgeois pig View Post
I like the "courgage ratio"! I am going to start keeping track of mine.

I have hesitation issues due to past experience.

The courage ratio will be a good way to quantify and gauge my problem/progress.

Tear down the wall.

Thanks for posting!

You will be amazed at how the act of tracking your Courage Ratio will almost compel you to take the next good trade you see/feel.

Good luck!

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 Tap In 
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Three trades, three losers right off the bat. -38t . My Courage Ratio is going to be tested today.

Method not working today. If this were real money I would probably have to call it quits. Since it is sim I will keep testing.

Note: 2nd chart should read "retrace"

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 Tap In 
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Not a good day for the kid

Trades 4, 5, 6, 7. One trade made it to target. The others failed spectacularly. Early exits have saved me in 100% of cases from greater losses.

Passed on a couple CL trades that worked beautifully. Didn't even mark them as "should have" because risk would have been too much

one "should have" trade not taken.

Courage Ratio:
actual trades 7
Should have trades: 1
7/8 = 87%

-45t on the day so far.

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 Tap In 
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One more thought.

Of course, the easy answer for days like today would be to hit the "Reverse" button when the trade looks to be failing, because the market is trying to tell me something. Today the strategy would have worked quite nicely, but that would mean going against trend in most cases.

I have notice however, that there are often situations where a failed break out of a trend line against trend can be a nice harbinger of a big move with trend once the price reverses and gets going again. That was my thinking on the 2nd CL trade. But, as is the market's want, in that case it needed to shake out a few more weak hands like me before getting back to business.

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 Tap In 
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Trades Taken: 14, -43t, plus commissions
Should have taken: 2, potential +20t
Courage Ratio: 14/16= 87%
2 winners, 12 losers (4 were exited at BE but commissions put them in loser category)
Max draw down: -$789.60
Final: $-506.40

Well, what does one say about a day like today? What are the takeaways? Sure, I could review every trade and find the 1 or 2 reasons each of them didn’t work, and I will probably do this. But what is this really going to accomplish? Can’t we find something wrong with every trade, even the ones that work? So, here are some bigger picture things to look at:

-I fought hard today, and was focused. No wondering off on some other project. I was there man. Up until about the last 4 or 5 trades, I was really trying to be patient and take quality trades. The last few were “what the hell” trades, and a couple experiments. Regardless, I will enter the results, take the hit to my sim total and move on.

-I was very courageous today (just not very smart). Between 10-15 trades is about what I would like each day across 4 instruments. The couple of “should have taken” trades didn’t do much either. There was really only one trade I wish I would have taken, but the risk was too great so I passed and didn’t even mark it.

-I was calm while in each trade. The more I trade, the calmer I am. It’s almost like a resignation to let whatever happen happen. This is the way I want to trade, not agonizing over every entry, passing winner after winner, and looking back with regret. I want to see my entry and do it. I am fully aware this would be different with real money, and that is why until my results and consistency improve I will not trade with real money. If today were with real money I would have quit with three losses and -38t a half hour into the day.

-I rarely come back from a big deficit. If I get down 40 ticks on three losing trades early, there is a good chance I am going to spin my wheels for the rest of the day. Not sure why this is, but I would really like to improve in this area.

-My instincts to abort trades early were very good. Only one trade turned back in my favor after aborting. The rest moved against me, some in a big way. This kept me from a lot more losses. Which brings me to the hard point…

-My trade location selection was abysmal. Today’s losses were not as a result of bad psychology, or poor money management, or bad trade management. No, today my entries were S**t! No two ways about it. I would have done better flipping a coin. There are really only two explanations, either it was just “one of those days”, or the way I trade is crap.

Either way time will tell. More days like today and I will have to do some hard thinking.

Monday: After days like yesterday and today my tendency is to rubber band the other way. I pull in and get pickier, only to watch a potentially spectacular day sail by. My focus for Monday will be to trade with the same abandon I have traded the last two days. Be a man. Take the hits. See what’s possible. I will either learn my plan works or it doesn't. In either case it will be useful.

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 lancelottrader 
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Trades Taken: 14, -43t, plus commissions
Should have taken: 2, potential +20t
Courage Ratio: 14/16= 87%
2 winners, 12 losers (4 were exited at BE but commissions put them in loser category)
Max draw down: -$789.60
Final: $-506.40

Well, what does one say about a day like today? What are the takeaways? Sure, I could review every trade and find the 1 or 2 reasons each of them didn’t work, and I will probably do this. But what is this really going to accomplish? Can’t we find something wrong with every trade, even the ones that work? So, here are some bigger picture things to look at:

-I fought hard today, and was focused. No wondering off on some other project. I was there man. Up until about the last 4 or 5 trades, I was really trying to be patient and take quality trades. The last few were “what the hell” trades, and a couple experiments. Regardless, I will enter the results, take the hit to my sim total and move on.

-I was very courageous today (just not very smart). Between 10-15 trades is about what I would like each day across 4 instruments. The couple of “should have taken” trades didn’t do much either. There was really only one trade I wish I would have taken, but the risk was too great so I passed and didn’t even mark it.

-I was calm while in each trade. The more I trade, the calmer I am. It’s almost like a resignation to let whatever happen happen. This is the way I want to trade, not agonizing over every entry, passing winner after winner, and looking back with regret. I want to see my entry and do it. I am fully aware this would be different with real money, and that is why until my results and consistency improve I will not trade with real money. If today were with real money I would have quit with three losses and -38t a half hour into the day.

-I rarely come back from a big deficit. If I get down 40 ticks on three losing trades early, there is a good chance I am going to spin my wheels for the rest of the day. Not sure why this is, but I would really like to improve in this area.

-My instincts to abort trades early were very good. Only one trade turned back in my favor after aborting. The rest moved against me, some in a big way. This kept me from a lot more losses. Which brings me to the hard point…

-My trade location selection was abysmal. Today’s losses were not as a result of bad psychology, or poor money management, or bad trade management. No, today my entries were S**t! No two ways about it. I would have done better flipping a coin. There are really only two explanations, either it was just “one of those days”, or the way I trade is crap.

Either way time will tell. More days like today and I will have to do some hard thinking.

Monday: After days like yesterday and today my tendency is to rubber band the other way. I pull in and get pickier, only to watch a potentially spectacular day sail by. My focus for Monday will be to trade with the same abandon I have traded the last two days. Be a man. Take the hits. See what’s possible. I will either learn my plan works or it doesn't. In either case it will be useful.

Charts marked in real time.

One thing to keep in mind is that today was the Non Farm payroll release..and it can even effect the price action on CL a bit. Also on Friday, considering how far oil has fallen the last weeks, there may be some uncertainty going into the weekend. Which means big Traders might not commit to any heavy positions on a day like this which can effect the price movement too.
I did find a couple of pullback/ shorting opportunities for 20 to 30 ticks or so early on..and a small reversal long after 11 am est or so. This was a day where you had to be patient..set a reasonable target and not interfere with the trade until it hits your stop or your target. I say that because some of my trades really bounced around..almost hit my stop and then went on to hit the target. If I had exited them because I didn't like the way they were moving..etc..I wouldn't have made as many ticks as I did. I know you were also trading other instruments..but the same logic could apply to those.

Failure is not an option
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One thing to keep in mind is that today was the Non Farm payroll release..and it can even effect the price action on CL a bit. Also on Friday, considering how far oil has fallen the last weeks, there may be some uncertainty going into the weekend. Which means big Traders might not commit to any heavy positions on a day like this which can effect the price movement too.
I did find a couple of pullback/ shorting opportunities for 20 to 30 ticks or so early on..and a small reversal long after 11 am est or so. This was a day where you had to be patient..set a reasonable target and not interfere with the trade until it hits your stop or your target. I say that because some of my trades really bounced around..almost hit my stop and then went on to hit the target. If I had exited them because I didn't like the way they were moving..etc..I wouldn't have made as many ticks as I did. I know you were also trading other instruments..but the same logic could apply to those.

Thanks for that. Unfortunately I passed on the early shorts for various reasons that I thought were valid (I better think again), and was on the wrong side of the reversal, so not very good trading. My early exits were the only thing that saved me. Otherwise I would have had four full stop outs in oil. Plenty of movement to make good money though, if one knows what they are doing.

I liked your post regarding methods working better under certain conditions. That may describe mine, although I do think it is within reason to shoot for 30 tick targets in oil even on non trending days.

Thanks for reading and commenting

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Main takeaways from review of week of 12/1/14 to 12/5/14:

-Look for the “Open Field”
-If compelled to trade in range, make sure it is big enough, and trade off of or toward other edges.
-Loose action good, tight action not so much
-Pay attention to obvious CD events, especially in Oil
-Watch for overshoots in well define channels for possible directional change
-Watch for following set up: bounce off some significant S/R, break of larger well defined channel, Retest try and failure break of smaller TL. Classic LH, HL trap. Often good for big moves
-Best opps in open field or after clearance of ranges. No need to be first in line. Plenty of opps available later. No need to worry about missing out.
-Careful of the 2 bite failure. If it happens look for a play in other direction.
-NG is sneaky. Moves quietly but often effectively
-NG: made several choppy flag patterns, best trades after patterns were cleared.

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...Continuing on a series of posts detailing my 3 step trade execution process.

Step 2) Draw short term trend lines to serve as reference points to signal the beginning of significant market movement, setting up the trade entry.

Because the market does not move in a straight line, in one direction only, all changes in market movement start with the break or bounce off of some sort of trend line, whether the trend line is at an angle, forming a sloping channel, or horizontal, forming a range.

My main set-up occurs after the break of a short term trend line (trigger line), in the direction I believe the market has the highest probability of traveling at least two times my risk before retracing significantly.

Further, if the break of a trend line truly does signal the start of new movement, there will be a point-of-no-return where price does not look back. It is my desire to enter the market as close as possible to this point, so that the MAE is as small as possible. This is good for the account and good for the heart.

To accomplish a low average MAE I need to be satisfied that the movement preceding my trigger line has taken out all participants that will keep it from moving my way. In addition, I want to feel that the final retracement has occurred that would cause significant movement against my position.

My favorite trades are those that occur in super strong trends. Often there is little backfilling once price has broken a short term line. This can happen four times in a row in a strong trend, causing little heat, yielding 30-50 ticks at a pop.

Non time-based charts (tick, volume) are preferred over time-based charts. I use tick charts, varying the number of ticks per bar according to the typical volatility of the instrument. Tick charts compress overnight data and periods of slow activity, revealing what I find to be more effective trend and channel lines.

I do not necessarily treat trend lines as true support or resistance, but rather reference points to market movement. With that said, it is amazing how often price will follow orderly movement between two lines. This could be the result of a self fulfilling prophecy among the trading community or periodic buy/sell programs by larger players.

My trend lines are constantly evolving. The process of drawing proper trend lines, adjusting those lines, and identifying the point-of-no-return is in large part a function of screen time.

Next up, Step 3, the entry. To be continued...

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trd 1 for day, NG. Focused on entry quality and hitting the button. Management quality later

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Passed on trade of day so far

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Monday: After days like yesterday and today my tendency is to rubber band the other way. I pull in and get pickier, only to watch a potentially spectacular day sail by. My focus for Monday will be to trade with the same abandon I have traded the last two days. Be a man. Take the hits. See what’s possible. I will either learn my plan works or it doesn't. In either case it will be useful.

-Mission not accomplished, with caveat: except for a couple trades, deliberately made decision to pass on trades for what I considered valid reasons. Including: trading into potential S/R, choppy action preceding trigger, trigger bar too big for too much risk.

-For this reason, hard to pinpoint courage ratio. Was I looking for a reason not to trade, or did I believe my own shit?

-Potential huge day

-Friday on my mind and the rubber band effect in play

-Market didn’t care about my reasons. Need to reconsider my criteria on days like today. Risk would have been worth it. 15 ticks for 40 ticks? You bet

-The one and only trade made it to target. A positive even though exited early. More trades to target will help to stay in.

-Most of my previous urge to catch bottoms and tops in strong trends purged. It’s still there deep down, but now able to control it.

-Frustrated but excited. Frustrated I didn’t take advantage. Excited the opportunities are there.

Tomorrow: Wait for the open field, take the trade.

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Gold and NQ open field this morning. Hesitated on an NQ trade that went 60 ticks. Very upsetting.

Trade 1 and 2 on Gold. 0t and +30

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Gold absorbing big orders on the offer today

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12/9/14: trades taken 1, +30t
Should have: 2, potential +45t

-Another huge potential day

-NQ and GC had open field look and they didn’t disappoint

-Passed on several trades due to too much risk as it relates to nearest structure. However, in most cases even a 15 tick stop was safe. Might be worth taking some chances on these when the markets are really moving

-Need to think more on the definition of “should have” trades in order to make the Courage Ratio more meaningful. Right now it is the trades that really compel me in my gut to take them. The ones that really get me thinking, even if they don’t work. Most times they do work. Feel like I need a better definition.

Tomorrow: Wait for price to break open before considering. No need to be first in. Loosen the screws. Oil inventory

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Landscape as I open platform

-NQ stuck in choppy range
-NG also in range but not as choppy
-GC 130 tick range, could be some possibilities trading between the markers. Watch for break either way
-CL only lad trending, but choppy down and currently at support. Watch for possible break back up.

Overall, nothing that gets me real excited right now. Wait for something to move

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0 trades
Should-have: 2, potential +30
Many more possibilities

Great abundance today, especially oil in morning, NQ in afternoon.

Cycle: abundance happens, courage doesn't, opportunity lost, pressure builds. Then abundance wanes, courage waxes, pressure released by trading a lot, losses happen. Then abundance waxes, courage wanes due to previous losses, opportunities lost... cycle repeats.

The sine wave of abundance and the sine wave of courage are out of cycle by a few days.

Tomorrow's focus: interrupt the cycle, whatever the market offers. Measure of success will be the extent to which I cycle with the market. If great abundance, success will be measured by the opportunities I take advantage of or mark definitively. If the market is quiet, the measure of success will be my discipline in staying out.

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Tomorrow's focus: interrupt the cycle, whatever the market offers. Measure of success will be the extent to which I cycle with the market. If great abundance, success will be measured by the opportunities I take advantage of or mark definitively. If the market is quiet, the measure of success will be my discipline in staying out.

trades: 2, 2 wins, +11t
should have: 6, potential +60
Courage ratio: 2/8 = 25%

-Missed trade out of gate on NQ was annoying.
-Had a great set up on NG after inventory. Passed
-still very hesitant of entering areas I think are really good.
-plenty of opportunities today that I didn't capitalize on.
-2 trades that I got about as much out of as could be expected since they only went +16 and +11 in my favor.

Grade for the day on goal to cycle with market: D
the opps on NQ were very obvious. The textbook set up on NG was a bungle. Too much movement in several instruments, not enough response on my part.

Tomorrow: Same focus, improve grade. Interrupt the cycle, whatever the market offers. Measure of success will be the extent to which I cycle with the market. If great abundance, success will be measured by the opportunities I take advantage of or mark definitively. If the market is quiet, the measure of success will be my discipline in staying out.

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Friday 12/12/14
0 trades
Should have taken: 9, potential +100t
Courage Ratio: 0%

-regarding goal of cycling with the market, zero trades in some very good moves scores F grade.

-zero trades when markets became choppy scores A grade.

-overall, since my default behavior is to not trade it is not surprising that I would take no trades during choppy times. So more weight goes to my failure to take good looking trades. Overall grade for the day D

-Felt hesitation to trade all day. This feeling was mainly due to my desire to end the week with gains. This was purely a psychological calculation as I fully realize that each trade opp, each day should be acted upon without regard to what happened in the past. This is the psychological ideal.

However, I have also come to realize the power that success and failure have on my emotional state. Success breeds success, so to end the week green, even in sim, meant something. Its not unlike a struggling football team just wanting to get a few first downs to create some momentum. I just want a few first downs.

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Weekly recap:
All single lot trades except NQ (2 lots)
Trades taken: 5, 4 wins, 1 loss, +48t
Trades should have taken: 19, potential +235t
Courage Ratio: 4/23= 17%

Noteworthy observations for the week:

-Definitely rubber banded from Friday’s (12/5) lack of success. Got very picky, not wanting to experience pain of a loss.

-Found umpteen reasons not to enter trades. Most turned out invalid. It may come down to just giving them all a shot in spite of the reasons, with the expectation that winners will overcome losers.

-Many good trades passed because of risk being “too large”. Meaning, the closest “structure” is farther away than 15 ticks. I think too much is made of this idea of putting the stop behind “structure”. In highly volatile directional markets I need to ignore this idea. If I pick the entry correctly 15 ticks is plenty of room for noise, even if structure is 25 ticks away.

-I still remain optimistic and energize about what I am seeing in my analysis of the markets. So much opportunity. No doubt the increased volatility of oil and NQ are creating lots of opportunity that is easy to spot. At the very least I know that when the market trends I can make good trades. This is not an insignificant point. If I never get any better than I am today as a trader, I can at least wait patiently for clear moves to make some money.

-Old tendencies like trading against trend, getting involved in choppy areas, trying to be first on board, succumbing to the pressure of putting on trades late to make up for losses or get a score for the day, and other bad habits seem to be fading away. In short, my discipline is pretty solid. In part this is due to knowing that there is so much abundance without trying to be a hero. Just wait for it to show itself. Trading multiple varied markets helps in this regard.

-The main issue continues to be hesitation and reluctance to take the trade in the face of good opportunity. The pain and fear of loss is the main driver. Too much scar tissue of loss in the past, repeatedly being trapped, and the fodder of smart money.

I will need to get past this to grow, hence the emphasis on tools to help overcome the hesitation: Courage Ratio, Grade on how well I cycle with the market, etc. Among my “should have taken” trades are losers. In order to get the +235 potential ticks listed above, I am going to have to experience some losers, and my win rate will not be 80%. If I got to 50%, with winners twice as large as losers I would be over the moon. That would be quality trading.

In the end it may just come down to sheer willpower. Hold the nose, and pull the trigger, over and over until I either prove my read of the market or not. As gains mount, fear of loss will wane, and the inevitable losses will become less psychologically traumatic.

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A quick glance at a chart shows a real possibility that oil could challenge the 2009 lows of $33, or even lower as some assert

If it does this and then bases up for an extended period of time, it could become a less attractive instrument to trade, as the ATR will likely squeeze as a percentage of price.

This is one reason I have added other instruments to my repertoire. The journey could be quite volatile and take a while, if ever, so I'm not giving up on oil just yet.

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...Continuing on a series of posts detailing my 3 step trade execution process.

Step 3) The Entry

Once I have a good feeling for potential direction, and have established a trend line that could represent a point-of-no-return once breached, it is time to watch price action around this trend line.




The first rule is to wait for a break of the line and a close of the bar. Waiting for the close of the bar is prudent in most cases. Many fake outs have been avoided with this rule. Further, I will often count to 5 or 10 once the bar has closed to see if the timing of the close is just coincidental.



Then I begin to read the behavior of the price action and the order flow.

-Is price holding at the close?

-Is it retracing? If so, does the retracement have legs? Is it stalling and attempting to come back?

-Is there activity in the market? If so, in what direction, for me or against me?

This is the point of judgement where the trader has to decide, based on hours of watching price action, if the move is real or a trap. This is the area where performance can be improved through deliberate practice with market replay and more time in the saddle.

If I am satisfied with the price action I take the trade and manage it, watching the same things and asking the same questions as before entry.



I am continually updating my trend lines. New patterns appear constantly and as the day progresses the true nature of the structure comes in to focus. Below is a series of pictures showing the evolution of trigger lines in a particular set up.








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...Continuing on a series of posts detailing my 3 step trade execution process.

Step 3) The Entry
....

Nice post. Your first image isn't showing -- this is a known futures.io (formerly BMT) issue, where an image sometimes looks OK to the person who uploaded it, but not to others. Usually when a lot of images got uploaded.

Could you just upload the first one again? Thanks.

Bob.

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Nice post. Your first image isn't showing -- this is a known futures.io (formerly BMT) issue, where an image sometimes looks OK to the person who uploaded it, but not to others. Usually when a lot of images got uploaded.

Could you just upload the first one again? Thanks.

Bob.

thanks for the heads up. I edited. Is it fixed now?

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thanks for the heads up. I edited. Is it fixed now?

All good.

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thanks for the heads up. I edited. Is it fixed now?

Yep.

Bob.

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Trades: 3, 1 win, 2 loss. -4t
Should have taken: 14, potential +240t
Courage Ratio: 3/17 = 18%
Cycling with market grade: D

-A great day of opportunity.
-arrived early to take a few minutes to visualize taking set ups.
-took two early that went nowhere, then got timid as price sold off in oil and NQ.
-passed on two text book trades, one in oil, one in NQ
-watched with a lack of belief as markets continued one way trending. I am more comfortable if the retracements are a little more sustained and clearly defined.
-some late day offerings but by then was reluctant to take a loser late in day due to earlier missed opps
-did a better job of marking trades in real time, even though they were not actually taken.
-careful about getting used to this recent volatility as the new norm. It could go on for a while but the spigot could turn off at any time.

Tomorrow: continue working on cycling with market and improving the courage ratio and overall grade. Periodically take a minute to visualize taking trades with confidence and consistency, especially through the first few hours of the morning when volatility is high.

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12/16/14
Trades taken: 8, 1 winner, 7 losers, -23t
Should have taken: 4, potential +10
Courage ratio: 8/12 = 67%
Cycling with market Grade: B due to higher CR

Pros:
-took more trades. This is good. Need to stay consistent here. Keep taking trades. Prove out the method or not.
-recognized and entered a set up in oil that I have been trying to internalize. Good for 80 ticks if I stayed in. Naturally got out at BE.
-suppressed urge to press too much. Generally stayed patient.

Cons:
-Was agitated today. Don’t think it caused too many bad trades though. Was in a frustrated state though.
-Only 2 of 8 trades made the 30 tick target. 2 more made 25 ticks. 4 would have been full -15 tick stop outs had I let them go. Would have been a BE day instead of -23. Need more trades that make it to target.
-exited the trade of the day at BE. Could have easily gotten 80 ticks due to the one way nature of the move.

General comments:
-The action was a little tougher to trade for me due to bigger pull backs after trend line breaks than we’ve had in the past few days. I get chopped out when this happens.
-Gold trended but had some larger wider retracements which makes it harder for me to find an entry point.
-look for the top line in a channel by finding the bottom line (or vice versa). This would have saved me a full stop out today.
-Watch the failed breakout for a play to the opposite side. These traps can be quite swift. Got caught on the wrong side of one today.

Overall pleased with how many trades I took. Frustrated that more of the trades didn’t go very far, while I exited the ones that did early.

Tomorrow: keep focusing on taking trades. Manage as is I see fit and don’t worry too much about the management of the trades. The focus is on entering and sorting out whether the trade was a good or not later.

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12/17/14
Trades: 7, 3 winners, 4 losers, +21t
Should have taken: 3, potential +30
Many more opportunities that I probably should have either taken or marked.
Courage ratio: 7/10 = 70%
Grade: C based on the fact that there were so many great set ups and I didn’t take or mark in real time.

Another monster potential day.

Good news:

-relatively pleased that I took 7 trades. Progress. Really should have attempted at least 7-10 more. There were some really great set ups

-Did some good trend line drawing on NQ. Price responded at some exotic locations to trend lines. Pleased to see this. Getting better at the lines.

-Except for one trade, I was pleased with my patience. Not taking patently stupid trades.

-focused on staying calm during trades and not getting too upset at nowhere or losing trades.

Bad news:

-still too hesitant to enter. Need to trust judgment more.

-trades chosen are not going anywhere. Only one trade made it to +30t. The rest were: +22, +2, +7, +4, +3, +7. Need to figure out why I am taking trades that go nowhere and skipping trades that are spectacular. I am really milking my trading for as much as I can.

-missing too many opps. Need to back out the chart a little to see them. I really need four screens, one for each instrument. Real estate is a little cramped.

General:

- today could have been a monster day. If I counted to 10 instead of exiting my best trade at +30t it could have been a 200t trade. No biggie though, I want my method to make money in chunks of 20-40t and not have to rely on 200 tick moves.

-Kept a tally of every legitimate set-up and how it turned out. Results: 20 set-ups made it to +30t, 20 set -ups got stopped out at -15t and 7 set-ups broke even. If I took every one of them it would have been 47 trades at +300t with $200 commissions. Unlikely I will ever take that many trades but interesting.

Tomorrow:

continue focus on increasing trade numbers. Have a “whatever” attitude. Flat line reaction to a loss or disappointing outcome. Do not let negative emotions cause scar tissue. Place a mark at everything I see as a potentially legit trade, then evaluate the results later.

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Congratulations to my best friend Chris who just passed the combine and live trader prep on his first tries to become a funded Top Step Trader.

Attached is the chart he uses everyday for 80+% winning days. No lines, no indicators, no nothing. Just a black screen and 30 second bars.

There are no "correct" or "incorrect" ways to trades. Only successful and unsuccessful.


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12/18.14
Trades: 5, 2 winners, 3 losers. +20t
Should have taken: 1. Potential +30
Courage Ratio: 5/6 = 83%. Got caught up in an experiment and didn’t mark very many “should have” trades (more on that later), so courage ratio is fairly high today
Grade: B. Did a nice job of marking everything I saw per my focus for today. Would be an A but for the lack of actual trades taken on great trends in CL and NQ

The focus for today, aside from taking actual trades and having a good attitude, was to try an experiment. The idea was to mark every set-up that met my minimum criteria to see how things would go if I traded in an almost mechanical fashion. The results were extraordinary.

The minimum criteria was: break clear trend line on close of bar, count 10 to 15 seconds. If price holds, place marker. If price retraces, wait for resumption, then place marker upon resumption.

The stop is -15t, target +30t, and BE when prices gets to +15t then reverse back to entry.

The results: 32 marks, 15 winners, 6 losers, 11 BE, +360 ticks

The purpose in doing this was to see how my method would hold up with minimal discretion on entry and almost no hesitation. Of course there is a lot of discretion when it comes to picking locations, how the trend lines are drawn, and predicting next most likely move etc, but that is an area that will continue to improve.

The goal is to build true confidence in my method so that I can take the foot off the break. The only way a trader can trade with confidence is if they know deep in the recesses of their sole that it works. Without that belief the trader will continue to experience hesitation and missed opportunities

These were encouraging results but I am only cautiously optimistic. CL was a trending mother today so that skewed things a little.

Continue this experiment for a while to see how things hold up over time.

Tomorrow: continue focus on increasing trade numbers. Have a “whatever” attitude. Flat line reaction to a loss or disappointing outcome. Do not let negative emotions cause scar tissue. Place a mark at everything I see as a potentially legit trade, then evaluate the results later.

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12/18.14

Tomorrow: continue focus on increasing trade numbers. Have a “whatever” attitude. Flat line reaction to a loss or disappointing outcome. Do not let negative emotions cause scar tissue. Place a mark at everything I see as a potentially legit trade, then evaluate the results later.

12/19/14
Trades: 1, 0t
Should have taken: 0
Courage ratio: 100% but really was more focused on the experimental marked trades.
Grade: B. I didn’t really like the markets today so I am relatively content with only taking one trade. Lots of backfilling and slow deliberate movement making holding trades difficult. 15 ticks up, 24 ticks back, etc. I hate going into the red when price has already travelled 1R.

The one trade was actually a very nice trade that I got scared out of. I hope to get over this tendency once I see more of my trades make it to target, or at least 1R, on a consistent basis.

Depending on the results of the experimental marked areas over the next week or so, these may turn into the “should have” trades. This would be interesting because there are far more of them, which will make keeping a high Courage Ratio a challenge

Regarding the experiment, 21 areas marked and broken down in two ways:

1) If move to BE after reaching +15t: 6 wins, 7 losses, 9 BE, +75t
2) If not move to BE after reaching +15t: 10 wins, 11 losses, +135t

Today, not moving to BE was better. I also tracked the real time P/L. Max day's draw down would have been -30t. Not intolerable.

Overall pleased with my focus, marking trades, and the results on an otherwise slow moving and choppy day in the markets.

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Weekly recap: 12/15/14 to 12/19/14
24 trades: 7 wins, 17 losers, +14t minus commissions
Should have taken: 22, potential +310 ticks
Courage Ratio: 23/45 = 51%

Notes:

-on trend days just keep taking trades

-on less trendy looking days when price has repeated trouble going one direction, look for an opportunity in the other. Look for the failed BO for trading the opposite direction

-When NQ is loose in a pattern entries that look extended often do not have much retracement so 15 tick stops are still safe.

-On some days there are retracements and consolidations after TL breaks. Other days price just takes off and never looks back. Try to gauge early what kind of day it might be

-Look for channel development by drawing lines on the backside TL of the channel.

-In clear trends, look for smaller TL breaks within larger channels with two or three waves for earlier entries for trend resumption.

-Opportunities when price back tests and rides the channel line after a break. Look for entry on sign of resumption.

-Be careful of trading into the "real" channel line which can be predicted off the backside swings

-Watch for choppy wavy action with trend that creates a tight channel. This action is often a precursor to a breakout in the direction of the waves. A series of higher lows or lower highs in choppy, wavy action is a sign of accumulation or distribution. Look for 3 retracements.

-Blow off moves after news events can create great swift opps in other direction.

-Stay calm during losing and nowhere trades. Do not let negative reactions create psychological scar tissue.

-Increase trades taken quantities. Have a "whatever" attitude.

Tomorrow: continue focus on increasing trade numbers. Have a “whatever” attitude. Flat line reaction to a loss or disappointing outcome. Do not let negative emotions cause scar tissue. Watch for moves in opposite direction in non "open field" markets. Place a mark at everything I see as a potentially legit trade, then evaluate the results later.

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Tomorrow: continue focus on increasing trade numbers. Have a “whatever” attitude. Flat line reaction to a loss or disappointing outcome. Do not let negative emotions cause scar tissue. Watch for moves in opposite direction in non "open field" markets. Place a mark at everything I see as a potentially legit trade, then evaluate the results later.

12/22/14 Monday
Trades taken: 1, +15t
Should have taken: 0
Courage ratio: on hold due to marker experiment.
Experimental markers: 14
Potential with move stop strategy: 5 wins, 3 losses, 6 BE, +105t
Potential without moving stop: 7 wins, 7 losses, +105t

Continuing with experiment to mark every legitimate set up I see with minimal criteria and little hesitation. Did a pretty good job of seeing things in real time. There were a couple places I should have marked but didn’t for various reasons. The goal of the experiment it to see what would happen if I freely hit the button, so I need to make sure I am marking them in a devil-may-care way.

Interesting that the results were the same today whether I moved to BE after +15t or just let it ride in a set it and forget it way.

I have a lot of common wisdom trading misnomers floating around in my head that need to be purged. One such is this notion to be cautious around holidays. It may be true that on average holidays tend to have lower volatility, but if one has a way of staying out during low volatility, they can still be quite productive when things start moving. Oil on Thanksgiving morning and several markets today are Exhibits A and B.

If the market is moving trade it!

Tomorrow: continue marking everything, with abandon. Take good trades when they are there. Do not react emotionally to losses or repeated nowhere trades.

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Tomorrow: continue marking everything, with abandon. Take good trades when they are there. Do not react emotionally to losses or repeated nowhere trades.

12/23/14 Tuesday
Trades taken: 0
Should have taken: 0
Courage ratio: on hold due to marker experiment.
Experimental markers: 8
Potential with move stop strategy: 1 win, 4 losses, 3 BE, -30t, max dd -45t
Potential without moving stop: 1 win, 7 losses, -75t, max dd -60t before first win

Little movement in any of the lads. Most of the activity of the charts took up only about ½ the screen. Some moves present but very hard to predict.

Happy that I marked up some trades as per focus but really not the day to be doing too much.

As expected on a day with not much open field, marked areas backfilled a lot and took out at BE if moving stop to BE after +15t. However, the set-it-and-forget it style fared worse at -75t compared to -30t when moving stop.

Unhappy with only one of the areas I marked, which was a short on oil as detailed on the chart. Otherwise I marked what I thought were viable trades.

My entry style of waiting for a TL break and close definitely requires volatility and not much in the way of backfilling. So waiting for those types of markets is a must.

The reality of today is that I probably should have only marked a couple areas. I guess I got a little carried away with the favorable nature of the past few days. Critical that I wait for days that are moving.

This brings up the need to develop a strategy of trading rotational days

Focus for next trading day (Friday or Monday): continue marking everything, with abandon. Take good trades when they are there. Do not react emotionally to losses or repeated nowhere trades.

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12/30/14 Tuesday
Trades taken: 5, 2 winners, 3 losers, +40t

Holiday trading. Markets moving slowly but covering distance, making for good opportunities today and yesterday.

No trades yesterday. 5 trades today, spread out with at least one in each instrument.

2 trades got to target of +30 ticks. I exited one at target and one a little early.

2 trades only went a few ticks then reversed beyond my stop. I managed to exit both at BE instead of potentially -30t.

1 trade got +21 ticks and reversed to BE.

In summary, “managing” the trades resulted in +10 total ticks more than “set-it-and-forget it”. Starting to feel confidence in trade location choices. This is resulting in more calmness after entry.

I am considering starting some live trading after the first of the year. My discipline is very good so I want to start attacking that next challenge: trading with real money and getting used to that feeling again. It has been a while.

Tomorrow: Take good trades (sim) when they present. Do not press. Do not react emotionally to losses or repeated nowhere trades.

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12/31/14 Wednesday
Trades taken: 3, 2 winners, 1 loser, +45t

Another great day of market movement. I did not join the fray until late. Most of the morning spent watching opportunity after opportunity drift by.

Holiday trading seems to produce very directional moves with less backing and filling. I can only theorized as to why, but it doesn’t really matter. In any case, it seems to make for nice trading. Something to remember for next year. Being cautious in holiday trading is another misconception that I need to purge.

Good news today is that the three trades I took all made it to +30 tick target. This is very good for me.

Not so good news is that I only let one trade actually get there. Got scared out of one at BE and the other at +15t. Not to worry though, very pleased to have some nice gains.

Step one, pick better trades. Step 2 learn to manage them.

It has been a nice year for improvement. As I mentioned in one of the first posts, something happened around October that got me looking at the markets differently.

It was around that time that I started paying more attention to a very simple concept: trend line break trading on tick charts. MACK and his teachings about how to draw lines really helped. I do not trade his way but I have learned a lot from him on how to develop market structure.

I started to realize that I could develop a very tradable method around this trend line idea. I became better at drawing structure. I learned how to stay out of false moves, and to re-adjust lines as the market unfolded to better find the true key line that represented the point of no return.

I sort of instantly stopped chasing bottoms and tops. Not because of will power, but because it no longer fit into the definition of a viable trade based on my newly developed rules.

I started to notice that if I waited for price to move into an “open field”, and found the proper structure, that plenty of trades would present themselves, enough so to make a nice living. The need to be the first on board was not as great.

This was all helped along by adding a few more markets to my arsenal. Now, with four instruments I can truly wait for the best opportunities and not get as anxious of missing out. My rules make it easy to follow four markets at a glance.

Add to all this is the fact that I am quickly approaching that magical number of 10,000 hours of screen time. Whether it takes 8k, or 9k, or 11k, is immaterial and really individually unique based on a traders aptitude and training opportunities. But, no matter what the “method” is, time in the seat is critical.

As I type this I still harbor doubts as to whether or not I have found something viable. It is my hope that I don’t look back on this post a year from now and ask, “what happened?” My personality is such that I’ll believe it when I see it.

With that said, I know I am a better trader today than I was a year ago. With a lot more work, a little luck, and a lot of faith I will be a better trader next year, and the year after that.

One last note. I have found the journaling experience on futures.io (formerly BMT) to be extremely useful. I have always kept a journal but I tended to avoid looking back on what I had written because it was squirreled away in some folder somewhere. Having it on futures.io (formerly BMT) has naturally caused me to read and re-read a lot of what I have written. There is something about writing publicly that causes one to go back and look at their writing. For anyone on the fence I highly encourage you to start a journal here at futures.io (formerly BMT).

Happy New Year!

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 bobwest 
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For anyone on the fence I highly encourage you to start a journal here at futures.io (formerly BMT).

Happy New Year!

Agree to that. It's been good following along as you progressed, too.

And happy New Year.

Bob.

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Agree to that. It's been good following along as you progressed, too.

And happy New Year.

Bob.

Thank you for your support Bob. Happy New Year to you too

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1/2/15 Friday
Trades taken: 20, 8 winners, 12 losers, +17t

Pros:
-Took a lot of trades.
-Managed to eke out a gain in spite of few running trades. In golf terms I saved my day with my short game. This is progress because in the past, 20+ trades would have resulted in larger losses. When a golfer can shoot par while hitting the ball poorly it is a sign of improvement. Need to focus on hitting better shots though.
-Remained relatively calm during trades
-Getting comfortable aborting trades that don’t seem to be going anywhere before they take me out with a full stop.

Cons:
-Not taking enough of the good trades. Getting on board after the meat of the move. The good trades often start in a nondescript way.
-Got caught up in some choppy areas.
-Max DD was higher than is comfortable (-$390)

Monday:
-Continue taking trades in sim as they present themselves.
-Look for clues on turnaround areas.
-If price struggles to go one way, it is a clue that it may go the other.
-Avoid letting negative emotions create scar tissue
-Start taking A+ trades live.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

I have decided to give myself permission to take live trades starting Monday. My discipline is very good so I might as well start getting accustom to live trading again.

The plan is to do the bulk of my trading in sim to continue refining and developing my method. When an A+ set up presents itself I will take it live.

The general template that will guide my thinking going forward involves a one year strategy to make $100,000. It is based around a target of net 100 ticks per week per contract, an average of net 20 ticks per day per contract. It involves three 16 to 18 week sets. The plan is as follows:

Weeks 1-16: trade one lots (two lots NQ) with target of net 100 ticks per week per contract. Result, 1600 ticks net, or $16,000

Weeks 17-32: trade two lots (four lots NQ), same weekly target per contract. Result, 3200 net ticks, or $32,000

Weeks 33-50: trade three lots (six lots NQ), same weekly target per contract. Result, 5400 net ticks, or $54,000.

Total: $16, 000 + $32,000 + $54,000 = $102,000.

This is not to say I will attempt this goal starting Monday. There is no need to press. This is merely a goal I can shoot for as I continue to refine my method.

I believe that 20 ticks per day per contract should be more than within reach of any trader with a viable method. By keeping in mind what can be achieved with so modest a goal, it will help me maintain the proper perspective entering each trading day.

Attached is the account I will be working with going forward…

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

1/5/15 Monday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 20, -67t

Pros:
-Avoided trading live on a difficult day, so I did not lose anything.
-took a good number of trades to test system and acquire samples.
-was able to enter sim trades without too much hesitation.
-Attitude was good in spite of the poor results

Cons:
-too many trades went nowhere
-exited the good trades too early
-couldn’t hold through the chop
-broke some rules: did not wait for the open field and took 2nd and 3rd whacks at the same trade idea. Got chopped up pretty bad in oil because of this.

It was a tough day of trading. My ideas were proven wrong most of the time. Now that I have given myself permission to take live trades I was a little looser with my sim trades. Sim is replacing hand drawn markers. Live is replacing sim.

It was not a day to be taking as many trades as I did. Lots of back filling and chop. 7 of the 20 trades got to 30t but I didn’t hold them long enough to do so. Regardless it meant that 13 trades would have gotten stopped out at -15t so it would have been a wash.

Trade location quality is poor. Too many trades going nowhere.

With my current method choppy days are deadly. I need volatility. 15 tick stops required one way movement.

I didn’t really see anything that looked like an A+ trade so I am happy I stayed out with real money.

Tomorrow:
-Keep hitting the button in sim and creating samples and experience. Need to continue to work on getting over the hesitation.
-Maintain good attitude, even if things are not going well.
-Take A+ trades live as they present themselves.
-If it is a one way day, don’t hesitate to hit the button multiple times.

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Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
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Tomorrow:
-Keep hitting the button in sim and creating samples and experience. Need to continue to work on getting over the hesitation.

Check, but could have taken more


Tap In View Post
-Maintain good attitude, even if things are not going well.

Did not accomplish. Was distracted, irritated, frustrated


Tap In View Post
-Take A+ trades live as they present themselves.

no trades live


Tap In View Post
-If it is a one way day, don’t hesitate to hit the button multiple times.

Failed. Oil and NQ trended and I did nothing about it.

1/6/15 Tuesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 17, +1t

Pros:
-created more samples. Relatively loose with taking entries
-Did not lose real money.
-Got back to whole after being down $399 in sim

Cons:
-Passed on some of the best trades
-Only 5 of 17 trades moved at least +30. Of those I only held one to the full +30t.
-My poor trade quality is making me feel very skittish about holding through too much of a retracement. For every early exit that costs me, two more save me. Once again, poor trade location history is weighing on my ability to hold.
-Was distracted and frustrated early which didn’t help with decision making.
-Oil and NQ were one way for much of the day and I completely failed to take advantage
-Draw down of $399 too much

Interesting phenomenon is playing out since I decided to trade live and loosen up my sim trading. For the past three days I have been taking many more trades in sim than in the past. I am not guarding my sim account as closely as I used to.

However, taking all these trades and getting poor or breakeven results is playing with my emotions. I am finding myself getting frustrated and irritated with the lack of progress.

I am losing way more trades than I am winning. This is taking a bit of an emotional toll. I need to power through this period recognizing that change always brings stress. I don’t want to limit my trade count and get super defensive again.

For every losing trade, there is someone on the other side winning. Rather than get ultra-picky and not trade, I want to figure out how to be that person on the other side. Ultimately, if I want to make a living trading, I have to trade.

Having said that, I do plan to be ultra-picky with the live trades until I figure out how to trade a lot while consistently winning.

Tomorrow:
-More of the same, keep hitting the button in sim and creating samples and experience. Around 20 trades, +/- depending on the day, across 4 instruments is where I want to be right now.
-Keep perspective of what is going on. I have made a big change and with it comes stress. Stress hightens emotions. Recognize that I will have to acclimate to this new environment. More trading is naturally going to lead to more losses until I figure out how to take the better trades. Go with it and enjoy.
-Take A+ trades live as they present themselves.

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Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received

1/7/15 Wednesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 15, -25t

Took 15 trades in sim but it was a day to take 35 or more trades. By 8:15 I realized only 3 trades taken while half dozen great trades each getting to at least 30 ticks went by.

Oil inventory and FOMC had me a little cautious which I didn’t have to be. At 8:15 I decided I would try as hard as possible to get to 20 trades regardless of results. I was going to make something of nothing and get back in the mode of trading.

This got me more focused and trying to take advantage of everything. Got to +30t on a bunch of scalps then gave it all back at the end of the day just trying to get the trade count up.

Was only able to get 15 trades in because the markets stopped moving due to FOMC (except NG which I could have traded heavily). No worries, it was a nice experience.

Attitude was better. Got a little upset with passing on so many great trades but did not get discouraged with losses.

Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions. The idea is that this will encourage me to take trades early when volatility is present or be forced to trade late in the chop.
-Keep perspective that I am in a new phase and not to get emotional.
-Take A+ trades live if available.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
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Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Posts: 948 since Feb 2013
Thanks: 2,162 given, 2,063 received


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Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions. The idea is that this will encourage me to take trades early when volatility is present or be forced to trade late in the chop.
-Keep perspective that I am in a new phase and not to get emotional.
-Take A+ trades live if available.

1/8/15 Wednesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 20, +63t

Trade quality was way up today. I reached my goal of 20 minimum trades and was generally very calm and even keeled today.

There were times where I actually found price action amusing. Especially when, time after time, I would enter and price would immediately reverse for minor pull backs that seemed to last forever, reminding me that this is not a game for the faint of heart.

The goal of taking 20 trades goaded me into taking trades on viable set ups even when I didn’t want to. The markets were slow, (except for NQ, more on that later) so I had to take advantage of every set up I could.

The following statistics were encouraging:

-On 16 of 20 attempts price made it to +11 ticks (80%) before -15 ticks. Meaning, if I chose, I could take a 10 tick profit on 16 trades and a 15 tick loss on 4 trades. This would yield a net 100 ticks.

-On 14 of 20 attempts price made it to +16 ticks (70%) before -15 ticks. Meaning, if I chose, I could take a 15 tick profit on 14 trades and a 15 tick loss on 6 trades. This would yield a net 120 ticks.

-On 11 of 20 attempts price made it to +21 ticks (55%) before -15 ticks. Meaning, if I chose, I could take a 20 tick profit on 11 trades and a 15 tick loss on 9 trades. This would yield a net 85 ticks.

-Only 30% got to +31 ticks which would have yielded a net negative day.

So it appears that taking the 1:1 target would have yielded the best results today. The bottom line is that taking trades in good locations makes for more productive trading.

The biggest negative for the day was not taking advantage of the incredible run in NQ. I managed +30 ticks but there were at least 4 great opportunities that I passed on because it was riding the top channel line and I thought it might reverse at any moment.

Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not to get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available.

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 Tap In 
Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts
Broker: Global Futures/OEC
Trading: NQ, CL
 
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Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not to get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available.

1/9/15 Friday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 24, -13t broken down as follows:
Sim Trades, using method as defined by rules: 21 trades, +44t
Sim Trades, trying some experimental contrarian trades: 3 trades, -58t

Tried some experimental trades to take advantage of areas where I thought a failure might occur on the trend line break out. Didn't work out so good. Will need to develop better rules for counter trading

Trading my method yielded +44 ticks. Accomplished minimum 20 trades. Trade quality was down at under 50% getting to +16t before -15t. This made it hard to get any traction. Missed some good moves that got +30t. I guess the required minimum 20 trades is not enough!

The idea of forcing myself to take 20 minimum trades is working out well. It causes me to take advantage of as much as I can. It also creates a lot of samples for statistics that can be analyzed.

Attitude was not great after passing on too many good trades. I seem to be at a point where the trades I don't take are in some ways more important than the trades I take. I hate missing good trades because I need these to make up for the inevitable losses.

I was a bit down in spirits at the end of the day due to the -13t losses but I need to remind myself that -58t of those losses came on experimental trades that went 180 degrees against my rules. The irony is that had I taken those three trades in the direction of my rules I would have had a great day! Something positive to think about.

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Bend, OR
 
Experience: Intermediate
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1/12/15 Monday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 21, -42t

Positives:
-Logged 21 more trades, accomplishing goal of 20 minimum. Creating samples.
-Was generally relaxed on entry and after. Kept good attitude
-Did not lose real money

Negatives;
-Once again, for some reason stayed out of the best moves (NQ)
-trade quality not very good. Only 30% got to +16t before -15t
-Draw down was way too big (-$750)

In analyzing “successes” and “failures” trade areas as marked on charts in purple and orange arrows it appears that I take a much higher percentage of failure areas than success areas as follows:

Successes: took 6 of 22 = 27%
Failures: took 11 of 19 = 58%

Many of my failures occur either against trend, late in the move or in chop. Of course, many of the successes also occur in what I think is late in the move, so that may not be the best criteria for avoiding trades. But, I do tend to get the courage to enter after I have seen a lot of movement. Bad habit!

Some of the failures were also what I would consider good trades that just didn’t work.

The bottom line is that I don’t really know which trades will work and which won’t so I really have to be willing to take them all. Today this would have meant hitting the button at least 41 times.

That’s a lot of trades but if it results in 300 plus ticks I would be more than willing to do so. I would rather average 8 ticks on 41 trades than 70 ticks on one trade.

Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-With each set up visualize yourself at the end of the day marking the charts with purple and orange arrows. Will this set up be one that you took or passed on?
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available. Come on, you can do it!

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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8:00 update

I am putting in my purple and orange arrows in real time to avoid hindsight bias. Results so far:

21 areas
Successes (+30t or more of movement) 10, +300t
Failures (-15t) 7, -105t
Neutral (over 15t but less than 30t) 4, 0t

Total if I had taken all trades = 300 - 75 = +195t

Many of the potential trades traveled way more than 30 ticks in a manner than would have been easy to hold, so the upper gains could be a lot more.

Of course I did not take all the trades without hesitation because I cant believe it is possible for me to get these kind of results!

I've taken only 5 trades so far. Need 20 by end of day. It is going to be difficult to find 15 more trades as the markets have slowed.

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 treydog999 
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8:00 update

I am putting in my purple and orange arrows in real time to avoid hindsight bias. Results so far:

21 areas
Successes (+30t or more of movement) 10, +300t
Failures (-15t) 7, -105t
Neutral (over 15t but less than 30t) 4, 0t

Total if I had taken all trades = 300 - 75 = +195t

Many of the potential trades traveled way more than 30 ticks in a manner than would have been easy to hold, so the upper gains could be a lot more.

Of course I did not take all the trades without hesitation because I cant believe it is possible for me to get these kind of results!

I've taken only 5 trades so far. Need 20 by end of day. It is going to be difficult to find 15 more trades as the markets have slowed.

I think you should be wary of putting hard numbers or set goals like number of trades per day, or profit per day. they both suffer from the same issue, that you end up forcing something. The market dictates the amount of opportunity per day and each day provides a unique amount of that opportunity. Setting a fixed amount of trades per day, especially if you want to take good ones. May not get the results you desire, because as you mentioned if the markets slow down you may have to force trades in order to make your benchmark. Or if you had a max amount of trades but there were more than 20 opportunities, then you would be cutting yourself short.

IMHO you should try to optimize percentage of viable trades taken. This way it is not a fixed number as you can not force the market but you are maximizing your own personal actions you control. So try to take 90% or more of the viable opportunity. E.G. 20 viable entries that followed the rules, properly executed 17, so 85% execution efficiency. It will still improve yourself as a trader and you stay flexible to changing market conditions.

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treydog999 View Post
I think you should be wary of putting hard numbers or set goals like number of trades per day, or profit per day. they both suffer from the same issue, that you end up forcing something. The market dictates the amount of opportunity per day and each day provides a unique amount of that opportunity. Setting a fixed amount of trades per day, especially if you want to take good ones. May not get the results you desire, because as you mentioned if the markets slow down you may have to force trades in order to make your benchmark. Or if you had a max amount of trades but there were more than 20 opportunities, then you would be cutting yourself short.

IMHO you should try to optimize percentage of viable trades taken. This way it is not a fixed number as you can not force the market but you are maximizing your own personal actions you control. So try to take 90% or more of the viable opportunity. E.G. 20 viable entries that followed the rules, properly executed 17, so 85% execution efficiency. It will still improve yourself as a trader and you stay flexible to changing market conditions.

Treydog, thank you for your comments. You are correct on all fronts. I would not normally incorporate daily profit goals or minimum trades into a trading plan, especially with real money.

What I am doing currently is an exercise, in sim, to overcome what I believe are obstacles to my long term success. One of those obstacles is hesitation, resulting in passing on too many successful trades that fulfill my rules, especially in the beginning of the day when volatility and movement are high.

I am trying to goad myself into taking trades even when I don't want to.

I am also trying to prove to myself that my rules produce results if followed properly.

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 Tap In 
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Experience: Intermediate
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Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-With each set up visualize yourself at the end of the day marking the charts with purple and orange arrows. Will this set up be one that you took or passed on?
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available. Come on, you can do it!

1/13/15 Tuesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 18, +31t

Marked trades in real time using colored arrows to reduce hindsight bias and to stay engaged all day.

-Purple arrows for set ups that traveled at least +31 ticks.
-Orange for set ups that hit -15 tick stop.
-Yellow for set ups that didn’t quite make it to +31 but got far enough to comfortably move stop to BE, i.e. +20 ticks.

Results as follows:

Successes: took 5 of 21 = 24%
Failures: took 7 of 17 = 41%
Neutral: took 5 of 11 = 45%

Minimum potential for the day taking 30 ticks profit, 15 tick losses and BE on neutral trades: 49 trade areas, +345 ticks.

Most of the gains came on a big movement day in NQ so I can’t expect this as a norm, but a day like this could make up for a lot of mediocre or losing days.

Once again took more of the failure trades than the success trades, both in actual numbers and in percentages. Not sure why this is. I need to figure out the psychology of this.

Only got in 18 trades, missing my 20 minimum trade target. Passed on 5 trades in a row in NQ that each got +30t from 6:00 to 6:45. By 8:00 I only had 5 trades. I should have easily achieved my 20 trade goal by then. With 49 set ups according to my rules I should have been hitting the button all day.

Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows. If it gets an arrow it gets a trade!
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available. Come on, you can do it!

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Experience: Intermediate
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Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows. If it gets an arrow it gets a trade!
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available. Come on, you can do it!

1/14/15 Wednesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 13, +4t

Only managed 13 trades out of 46 marked set ups. Not even close to accomplishing the “if it gets an arrow it gets a trade”. The markets where a little slower. It was not the day to take a live trade.

I think in part I am terrified of going all-in on my ideas for fear that they will fail miserably and I will be left to ask, “now what.”

My analysis over the past few weeks has not shown this, but as luck would have it, any time I have tried such an approach I do it on a day that it shouldn’t be done. Need to get through this very thick barrier

Colored arrow markers in real time as follows:

Successes: took 6 of 18 = 33%
Failures: took 4 of 18 = 22%
Neutral: took 3 of 10 = 30%

Minimum potential if I managed to hold every trade properly: +240t, 150 of it on NG. This is the advantage of trading multiple independent instruments.

Another thing I need to start working on is entering trades in the proper location at the point of confirmation and holding them to fruition.

The general rule of trading in the direction of clear channels, then looking the other direction when the channel breaks seems to be the way to go. The clearer the channel the better. Also, when a channel breaks look to see if a larger channel can be reasonably built. If so, be wary of changing direction just yet.

Tomorrow:
-Once again take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Pay close attention to the channel for direction, and the channel break rules.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows. If it gets an arrow it gets a trade!
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Take A+ trades if available. Come on, you can do it!

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 Tap In 
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A couple late postings while nothing is going on...

1/15/15 Thursday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 44, -59t

Really tried to take every trade that I put an arrow to. Did my best to ignore results but instead to go through the process and see what happened. Some points:

-Due to the nature of the movement in several of the instruments it was exhausting to trade, write down my trades, put in arrows etc. Not sure if trading like that is sustainable on high volatility days.

-I still missed a handful of successful trades that I recognized in real time. These misses were costly to the results.

The high volatility was hard to keep up with, forcing me to make rash evaluations. This probably caused a few too many bad marks.

-a couple of the misses were due to trying to work a better price rather than hitting the market button. It dawned on me that working entries will always get me into the losing trades but will sometimes cause me to miss the winning trades.

I need more screen real estate. Following four markets on two 23 inch screens does not allow me to see each market in full as it develops throughout the day.

-Regardless of the results I feel that the exercise was very useful. I always learn something new when I do something like this, more so than just sitting there watching that markets all day and not doing anything.

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 Tap In 
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1/16/15 Friday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 14, +64t

-Lower volatility day allowed me to catch my breath and spend more time analyzing market direction and set ups.

-Was not able to get myself to take a trade whenever I marked an arrow. I still care about results in spite of it being sim and simply an exercise. Hard to just let go.

-Again missed several +30 trades out of disbelief.

-Need to be a little more careful with NQ. The patterns are larger lately so it is easy to get chopped up using 15 tick stops. Wait for clear channels to develop then look for opps on the breaks of these channels.

-Watch for DeMark trend lines for good opps, especially after channel breaks.

-I have decided to place arrows both in real time and in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20 and therefore represents perfection. My focus is to approach perfection as much as humanly possible so I'll compare what I did in real time to what I see in hindsight.

Monday:

-Take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Pay close attention to channels for direction, and the channel break rules. Look for DeMark trend lines.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Really try to focus on taking at least one A+ live trade if available.

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  #92 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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-Due to the nature of the movement in several of the instruments it was exhausting to trade, write down my trades, put in arrows etc. Not sure if trading like that is sustainable on high volatility days.

-I still missed a handful of successful trades that I recognized in real time. These misses were costly to the results.

The high volatility was hard to keep up with, forcing me to make rash evaluations. This probably caused a few too many bad marks.

-a couple of the misses were due to trying to work a better price rather than hitting the market button. It dawned on me that working entries will always get me into the losing trades but will sometimes cause me to miss the winning trades.

I need more screen real estate. Following four markets on two 23 inch screens does not allow me to see each market in full as it develops throughout the day.

-Regardless of the results I feel that the exercise was very useful. I always learn something new when I do something like this, more so than just sitting there watching that markets all day and not doing anything.

Regarding more screen real estate, I do understand why you are looking at 4 markets, but might it work better for you if you reduced the number of markets you are following, rather than trying to change your physical setup to better accommodate all 4?

Reason: it must be distracting to be trying to follow all 4 markets at once and pay enough attention to each of them. That is one impression that I got, anyway, from your posts. If you knocked it down to just 2, for instance, perhaps you could handle the decreased information load better. The point would be to reduce the amount of juggling you have to do, and simplify your decision-making tasks.

Merely a suggestion, but it would be easy enough to try it out and see....

Bob.

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 Tap In 
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Regarding more screen real estate, I do understand why you are looking at 4 markets, but might it work better for you if you reduced the number of markets you are following, rather than trying to change your physical setup to better accommodate all 4?

Reason: it must be distracting to be trying to follow all 4 markets at once and pay enough attention to each of them. That is one impression that I got, anyway, from your posts. If you knocked it down to just 2, for instance, perhaps you could handle the decreased information load better. The point would be to reduce the amount of juggling you have to do, and simplify your decision-making tasks.

Merely a suggestion, but it would be easy enough to try it out and see....

Bob.

Bob, thank you for your suggestion. If I were trying to take 40+ trades a day in markets with high volatility like Thursday you would be absolutely correct. It is too much. Thursday was an experiment to see what would happen if I took everything I saw. It also happened to be a day where all markets were moving an unusual amount, so juggling the trade, trade management, journaling, placing my markers on 44 trades was more than I would want to handle on a daily basis.

I traded two instruments on two screens for a long time and found myself with a lot of down time. Adding two more instruments has not been that big a deal if I wait for the quality set-ups. This yields 10-20 trades in uncorrelated markets where set-ups form at different times. Of course this is sim so the pressure is not as great.

The problem with four instruments on two screens is that I am only seeing part of the day's action at a glance. I am constantly expanding the screens to see the whole day, then contracting them and having to remember what it looked like. Not conducive to properly feeling out the action.

In any case, I'll give it a shot to see how it works. Thanks for your support and I look forward to reading your journal. Good luck!

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-Take 20 trades minimum regardless of market conditions.
-Pay close attention to channels for direction, and the channel break rules. Look for DeMark trend lines.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Really try to focus on taking at least one A+ live trade if available.

1/20/15 Tuesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 7, +4t

Seemed like a slow day, though a couple of the instruments moved a bit. Only a few set ups that I really felt good about. Two worked, one didn’t. Did not reach my 20 minimum. Day was too slow to go for it. Would have really had to push it, though I managed to put in 26 arrows.

Managed to do a nice job of finding channels and sticking to their trading rules. In particular, the change in direction on NQ after the channel break was something I anticipated well. I wasn't able to take advantage of it because the confirmation bar was not to my liking, but I was happy I saw it all unfold real time:

As for the viable set ups according to my rules:
Successes: took 2 of 13
Failures: took 4 of 12
Neutral: took 0 of 1

26 potential trade areas for a minimum potential of +180t

Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum.
-Pay close attention to the channels for direction, and the channel break rules for change of direction.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Focus on taking at least one A+ trade.

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 Tap In 
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Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum.
-Pay close attention to the channels for direction, and the channel break rules for change of direction.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Focus on taking at least one A+ trade.

1/21/15 Wednesday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 10, +1t

Plenty of good set ups according to my rules today. I have rubber banded back to being more cautious. Did not reach 20 trade goal though they were there. Missed a lot of great trades and exited at BE on a couple others. No live trades.

Had trouble with attitude. Got really upset after I passed on several really big winners. Took a while to get my perspective back.

Continuing to take a higher percentage of failure and neutral trades compared to success trades. Two quick losses put me on my heels followed by a third a while later. Had trouble entering and staying in after that. Was fortunate to catch a nice winner that almost got me whole.

Trades taken quality continues to be less than adequate. Only 50% to plus 15 ticks before -15 ticks. No better than a flip of the coin.

Stats on trades available compared to those taken:

Successes: 2/17, 12%
Failures: 4/11, 36%
Neutral: 4/8, 50%

Minimum potential if all taken, +345 ticks

Need to figure out what draws me to the lower quality trades while passing on the higher quality.

Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum. Get this done
-Continue to watch the channels for direction, and the channel break rules for change of direction.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-If there is a trend, look for the 30 to 60 tick pull backs in tight formations.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Focus on taking at least one A+ trade live.

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 Tap In 
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Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum. Get this done
-Continue to watch the channels for direction, and the channel break rules for change of direction.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-If there is a trend, look for the 30 to 60 tick pull backs in tight formations.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Focus on taking at least one A+ trade live.

1/22/15 Thursday
Live Trades: 0
Sim Trades: 17, +55t


Opened up the trade spigot a bit more today. Almost made the 20 trade target, though a couple trades today were mechanical entry mistakes (going short instead of long, entering GC when I meant to enter CL). However, I failed to enter a few critical early trades that could really have opened things up.

While I was very upset at my inability to push the button yesterday, resulting in many missed good trades, today I was more amused. I could only laugh as I sat there, finger frozen over the mouse, watching several more +30 tick trades take off without me. Laughing is a much better way to handle adversity!

Did a nice job of following the channels and trading either within them or waiting for a break and going the other way. I am getting better at laying out possible scenarios for channels as price makes its way forward forming different patterns. With this method one must be constantly adjusting and visualizing patterns that could form.

For the most part I stuck to 30 to 60 tick pull backs for TL breaks with trend. While this missed a few nice +30 trades it also kept me out of some traps.

Draw down was too big today, -$330. If this were real money it would be hard to continue. I need to really pick good 1st and 2nd trades. Or, take some quick early profits, a la, Linda Raschke, to get a bit ahead and in the groove.

Also, it may be worth waiting for more clear structure before entering the first trade.

Was not able to take any live trades.

Mark up stats:

Successes: took 5/15, 33%
Failures: took 6/11, 54%
Neutral: took, 1/3, 33%

Potential +265T

Tomorrow:
-Take 20 trades minimum.
-Continue to watch the channels for direction, and the channel break rules for change of direction.
-Wait for clear structure before first trade of the day.
-Mark set ups in real time with colored arrows.
-If there is a trend, look for the 30 to 60 tick pull backs in tight formations.
-Maintain the good perspective that I am in a new phase and not get emotional.
-Focus on taking at least one live A+ trade.

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 BoltTrader 
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Nice job today!

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 bobwest 
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I need to really pick good 1st and 2nd trades. Or, take some quick early profits, a la, Linda Raschke, to get a bit ahead and in the groove.

I had never heard this idea. I think it's a very interesting idea from a personal psychology standpoint: bolstering your confidence if nothing else. And anything from Linda Raschke is worth thinking about.

I'm not quite sure how to implement it, since I would want to only take profits when the trade warrants it, rather than according to its psychological benefits.... but I'm thinking about it.

Thanks for bringing it up.

Good luck today, too.

Bob.

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 Scalpingtrader 
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I had never heard this idea. I think it's a very interesting idea from a personal psychology standpoint: bolstering your confidence if nothing else. And anything from Linda Raschke is worth thinking about.

I'm not quite sure how to implement it, since I would want to only take profits when the trade warrants it, rather than according to its psychological benefits.... but I'm thinking about it.

Thanks for bringing it up.

Good luck today, too.

Bob.

How about doing it n SIM?

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bobwest View Post
I had never heard this idea. I think it's a very interesting idea from a personal psychology standpoint: bolstering your confidence if nothing else. And anything from Linda Raschke is worth thinking about.

I'm not quite sure how to implement it, since I would want to only take profits when the trade warrants it, rather than according to its psychological benefits.... but I'm thinking about it.

Thanks for bringing it up.

Good luck today, too.

Bob.

I think it was on one of the webinars she did here at futures.io (formerly BMT)

For me it would be taking 10-15 ticks on a trade that stalls on its way to my usual 30 tick target. Rather than watch it reverse and take me out at BE, or worse, an early loss, I'd put some points on the board. Now I am in a better psychological position to take the next set-up and ride it out.

At least, that's the theory