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Zach's Log
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Zach's Log

  #281 (permalink)
Niles, Michigan
 
 
Posts: 72 since Sep 2018
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Zachary Standley View Post
The difference is night and day when I don't drink coffee before trading. Around a month ago, I successfully didn't drink any caffeine before performing, and I was way less risk-averse than I usually am. I was taking risky, edge-less trades as a consequence. I felt pretty stupid afterwards. I probably won't encounter that problem tomorrow, but we'll see.

I noticed that, it's been quite a long time. Things are definitely better for me than when we talked last. When you first commented in my journal, I didn't have a set strategy, and I was mostly trading breakouts in the ES with tight stops (had terrible trade location), so I was inevitably getting my ass handed to me. Also, I was in SIM trading a $5000 account, thinking I could become skilled enough to grow that capital quickly. I didn't respect the possibility of a draw-down, and I totally over-valued my potential growth. Not to mention my poor psychology (hard time holding trades, I used to miss every opportunity), which is something I'm still working on. As of June 18th this year, I hit my 1-year mark, and I'm sure I've grown in ways I simply can't see. Personally, I've become more disciplined, and I'm still not the most rational person, but I'm still in the process of changing. Overall, I think I'm doing well.

I'm not there yet, but I'm very grateful and almost surprised that I've made it this far, and I believe I can become consistently profitable as long as I continuously make the right decisions. I'm currently trading live with no evidence of profitability, mostly because I had been in SIM for way too long, and because I'm willing to lose money to get more experience in the market. The money I'm using is truly risk capital, so I'm not that worried about losing it- it's just that my reactions to price action have been conditioned from prior experiences. I have to unlearn some trading fears; particularly when price approaches a pre-determined "good" entry level- that, and holding trades. I'll conquer these fears eventually, if not soon. Time and genuine effort / exposure.

But yeah, life is good.

Be more active @spetscom, make a journal here or something.. Are you still trading?

Yes I am still trading.
I opened my account on Futures.io about a year ago and was completely lost in terms of my trading. But now a year later, I am consistently making profit on my live account and holding a 70% win-rate with R:R on my side. I didn't think it was possible. I really didn't. It does not feel real. I still hold my job, because the account is nowhere near large enough. After 3 years of busting my ass, dropping out of regular HS to go to homeschooling so I could watch the markets in the AM, almost losing my woman, blowing up my first account (the classic way to start your trading career) it is finally paying off.

I see things in your posts that I once struggled with too! Execution killllllled me. I actually shat my pants the first time I traded a 1 lot on the ES! I heard "ORDER FILLED" from Ninja and my stomach turned upside down. My REAL CAPITAL at stake in the futures market! I lost 3 ticks, slammed the Close button, and ran to the bathroom.
Keep going and don't give up (and I don't think you would anyways)!

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  #282 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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I'm going to keep this monthly review short and simple.

I've only taken 14 trades since I started trading live. Obviously, this isn't nearly a big enough of a sample size to gather significant information, but I'll work with what I have.

To start, here are some of the mistakes I've made this past month:
- Out of the 14 trades I took, 5 trades could have been held much longer- 1 of which was closed at a 3 tick profit, that could have been at least a 6 point winner. (I remember this, price went +7 points in my direction..)
- I executed too early in 3 trades. Most of my execution this month didn't account for volatility, until I encountered higher volatility recently. I found that entering earlier in lower volatility conditions paid off- but once again, this discovery may not pay out in the long run. It all depends on what has happened in the OrderFlow, and what's going on in the moment.
- I traded against the trend in 2 trades. This is when I established what side I was going to trade before the open even started. I was clinging to and had the intentions of trading at technically important prices without considering live price action. (Old bad habit of mine, it's gotten better.)

I consider my main trading problem to be is that I have a hard time holding trades. My execution comes second in severity, but I think and feel that I'm getting better at it (my body reacts when I see an opportunity- when my heart rate picks up, I know it's about that time to enter). As for my trading against the trend, we'll see if my new approach to pre-open analyses prevents me from making that rookie mistake again.

Solutions:
- Given that I have a 50% win rate, and given that I have a hard time holding trades, and assuming that I can continue to execute the way I have been, it would be practical for me to tighten up my profit targets to 4 points. Once I get comfortable and see in the data that I can get more out of my trades, I'll up my R:R to 3:1, or start trading 2 contracts.
- Execution is a tough one. If I'm being honest here, the only thing that is going to help my execution is more experience and practice in a live setting. I will have to take execution day by day, trade by trade. As I mentioned in some previous posts, the entries in which I feel the most conviction are during the sessions I "narrate" price action. I analyze price, I express my thoughts verbally, and if the thought "now would be a good time to enter" comes out of my mouth, I enter. Thanks headset and webcam, wouldn't have known this without you.
- As for my trading against the trend- I've found that the way I approach my pre-open analysis really affects the way I think going into the open. If I go into my trading day thinking along the lines of "I need to stay objective", I purposely analyze the charts less and recognize my automatic bias as a bias. Most importantly, I recognize my judgmental and conclusive way of thinking and hush up as a consequence, which brings my attention to what's happening now.

This coming weeks goals:
- Don't interfere with trades at all. Implement the 4 point profit target.
- Verbally narrate price action every session. Evidence will be through my screen recordings (I record every session).
- Go into every trading day concerned with objectivity. Simply write down important levels, not what side to trade (reinforcer).




Regardless of the outcomes of my trades this week, I'm going to do my absolute best to accomplish these goals. I believe I can hold a trade long enough for a 4pt. p/t to be hit, and verbally narrating price comes easy. I'll be mindful tomorrow morning.

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  #283 (permalink)
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Zach's Log


Congrats Zach. Iím sure you will see even more progress in August!

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  #284 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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"8:00AM EST: Pre-open Analysis

Daily LVNs: 3000.75, 3004.25, 3012.50, 3022, 3025.50
Other notable levels: 2998, 3010, 3017.25, 3019, 3020"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Price went sideways above 3023 for 10 minutes after the open. After some back and forth price action where the bulls would buy strongly and exhaust at the opens higher prices, the bears took hold gradually, then with enough strength to bring us to the bottom of todays range (at the time; ~3020). I noticed some responsive buying down there along with an increasing delta, so I went long just below the current range at 3019.75:

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-2 points. Early execution strikes again, but for a different reason:

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It wasn't until 20-30 minutes after I got stopped out that I realized I missed an important detail in my pre-open analysis of the 30 minute chart: I didn't acknowledge July 25ths range support (3018.75). Given the small distance between todays ON range and July 25ths range, the support of the two can safely be conjoined (in my mind). I treated todays ON range as independent, simply because I was ignorant of the previous days range. Alls I had to do was use my eye-balls more this morning.

Despite that mistake (not to excuse it at all), I did well in other areas:
- I was calm in my execution. I felt confident after I entered.
- I didn't care about whether this trade was going to win or lose, and I think this is because I'm using a 4 point stop and I know it's more likely for it to get hit than the mental p/t's I have been "using".

What I did poorly:
- I obviously wasn't thorough enough in my pre-open analysis because I missed that level, which would've naturally raised my entry location standards if I hadn't.

My lesson for today is that I need to pay closer attention in my pre-open analysis to coinciding support and resistance areas. I have made this mistake in the past, and this is the second time I've made it as far as I can remember.

Goals accomplished today:
- Don't interfere with trades at all. Implement the 4 point profit target.
- Verbally narrate price action every session.


Goal failed today:
- Go into every trading day concerned with objectivity. Simply write down important levels, not what side to trade. - To be fair, I did go into the trading day concerned with objectivity (as you can see with my pre-open analysis), I just missed an important detail. You can't miss those details.


What do I do now?:
- Apply everything that was applied successfully today tomorrow, and be more thorough in the pre-open analysis. Specifically, look for roughly coinciding support and resistance areas.

As for where I'm at mentally, I feel really good. Big picture wise, this was just a silly mistake. I'll go into tomorrow remembering what happened today.

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  #285 (permalink)
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
 
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A few thoughts on "Key Times of Day"


Zachary Standley View Post

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Price went sideways above 3023 for 10 minutes after the open. After some back and forth price action where the bulls would buy strongly and exhaust at the opens higher prices, the bears took hold gradually, then with enough strength to bring us to the bottom of today's range (at the time; ~3020). I noticed some responsive buying down there along with an increasing delta, so I went long just below the current range at 3019.75:

Have you ever taken a look at certain "Times of Day" in your analysis?

One time of day that has always jumped out at me as a "Key Time" is known as the "Counter Trend Period".

It typically occurs in a 30 minute period between 10:15 and 10:45 Eastern, after the NYSE Open at 09:30 ET and before the first hour (when the "Initial Balance Range" or the "Opening Range") of the RTH period has been put in.

Like so many things in trading, it won't happen 100% of the time, sometimes it will start earlier, sometimes later, sometimes it won't happen at all, but Often times it will happen just as it did today starting at 10:15 ET.

I've taken the liberty of marking up one of the attached screenshots with a number of "Key Times" that I like to be aware of during the trading day. (My apologies for using the NQ in this example and not the MES), but I think you'll find the same thing happened on the MES as well @ 10:15 ET today.

The Counter Trend Period is the "Orange" band laid in on top of the First Hour of the RTH session (in New York) from 09:30 ET to 10:30 ET.

There is a second screenshot attached, without all of my notes, that is clearly easier to look at.

Hopefully you will find this information as useful I did when I first heard about it a number of years ago.

Trade well,

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  #286 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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TopGunNote View Post
Have you ever taken a look at certain "Times of Day" in your analysis?

One time of day that has always jumped out at me as a "Key Time" is known as the "Counter Trend Period".

It typically occurs in a 30 minute period between 10:15 and 10:45 Eastern, after the NYSE Open at 09:30 ET and before the first hour (when the "Initial Balance Range" or the "Opening Range") of the RTH period has been put in.

Like so many things in trading, it won't happen 100% of the time, sometimes it will start earlier, sometimes later, sometimes it won't happen at all, but Often times it will happen just as it did today starting at 10:15 ET.

I've taken the liberty of marking up one of the attached screenshots with a number of "Key Times" that I like to be aware of during the trading day. (My apologies for using the NQ in this example and not the MES), but I think you'll find the same thing happened on the MES as well @ 10:15 ET today.

The Counter Trend Period is the "Orange" band laid in on top of the First Hour of the RTH session (in New York) from 09:30 ET to 10:30 ET.

There is a second screenshot attached, without all of my notes, that is clearly easier to look at.

Hopefully you will find this information as useful I did when I first heard about it a number of years ago.

Trade well,

Only to a certain extent. I recognized in the recent past that a lot of the higher quality trades I take are at or after 10AM (EST) up until 11:30AM or so. It's rare that I'll take a trade at or after 12PM. I didn't explicitly know about the "Counter Trend Period" from 10:15-10:45, but I've noticed this tendency through the experience that I have (I remember when I learned about the concept "regression or reversion to the mean") from watching the ES, and by trading the MES now.

With that being said, I'm glad you put a name and a time to it. This is certainly actionable information, especially for me given I strictly trade responsively. It just occurred to me that there may be damage control and gains in waiting until after 10AM to trade while targeting this Counter Trend Period. This whole time, implicitly, this period is what I've been trying to take advantage of. Like you said though, it doesn't always follow the clock, and sometimes it doesn't happen.

By the way, you have been nothing but helpful the past two weeks. Much respect and appreciation to you, @TopGunNote. Thank you, again.

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  #287 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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8:00AM EST: "The daily is still in a range, but it looks pretty bearish right now.

What happens at ~3013?
What happens at ~3004?
What happens at ~2998?
What happens at ~2990?

Possible entry contradictions: 2998, 2996 and 3011, 3015." [I've recognized that my biggest challenge as a trader right now is to find the appropriate entry location given the action in the OrderFlow in real-time. I have to perceive and judge whether or not the behavior at a technically sound level has a strong enough reversal signal for me to enter with a 2 point stop. Because of this, I'm putting more emphasis on real-time reads, rather than developing thorough anticipations before the open.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Price was relatively volatile out of the open. We sold off a few points starting at the 3004 LVN level, hitting 3001.50 as a low of the day. Big responsive buyers came in the market after we bounced off of that low not even 5 minutes after the open, and we were brought higher, closing in on my prices of interest (3013-3015) after some sideways action at the 3009's and 10's. I wasn't seeing much buyer participation at the 10's (and 11's when we got there), which prompted me to think maybe I should sell earlier at the higher 11's instead of waiting for 3013-3015 area to be hit. We traded up and down the 11's with my cursor on a market buy order, then I saw a heavy buyer hit the footprint so I came off the mouse for a second. We broke the 11's and ran up to 3013, I saw heavy sellers come in, and I entered at 3013.50:

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+4 points.

I did everything that I was supposed to do today. I was objective in my pre-open analysis (as far as I can tell ) and in real-time trading, I breathed when I had to, and I let my profit target get hit.

I actually went into this day thinking "I'm not going to make any mistakes." I should go into every day like that; on top of my game.

I'll repeat this again tomorrow.

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  #288 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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I held off typing up todays morning session so I could account for my experience in the FOMC as well. Here's my pre-open analysis:

"The daily chart looks messy. We're in a range.
Daily LVNs (most relevant): ~3013, ~3000
Resistance at ~3019-~3020 in the 30 minute chart. Support at 3014-3015 as well..

How does price react to 3019-3020?
How does price react to 3014-3015?
How does price react to 3013, 3011?.. etc., etc. [These questions keep me peeled to the OrderFlow.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I gotta tell ya, this mornings session was very boring. Price went sideways on relatively low volume above 3013 for roughly 45 minutes, until we broke out to the downside and reached all the way down to 3009. This surprised me a bit, given the poor conditions at the time. I imagine there were a lot of stops there. Anyways, in my pre-open analysis, I considered 3010 a good responsive buy location, but the volume and volatility at the time weren't sufficient for me to enter that trade. As price was bobbing around the 10's, I re-checked the daily chart to see if there was alignment, and there wasn't (daily became bearish). The trade would have worked out for me if I had entered, but I would've been going against my read and the daily chart, so I'm glad I didn't enter the trade based on my principals (sounds lame, but it's true).

As for the FOMC.. There was an abundance of opportunities. After the 2 o' clock explosion, price was definitely hectic, but it respected levels that could've been traded from. My 2 point stop could have sufficed for some of these moves, which blows me away the most. I initially had no intentions of participating given the crazy volatility, but I was becoming more and more open to the idea of placing a trade as the FOMC developed. I didn't- I sat there and watched because I know better, and I learned some things that I don't know will translate to the next FOMC.

LVN 3013 was respected by a margin of 1.5 points after the initial craziness. Had you went short at 3013 exactly with a 2 point stop and held the trade indefinitely yet sternly- that's over a 30-40 point gain, given you held all the way down (psychologically unlikely for many traders.)

Price bounced off of 2998, which I established as a possible higher timeframe buy location. Price traded around 2990, which was (maybe still is) another daily LVN. I'm not going to list all the prices of interest, but many prices were respected, bounced off of, served as resistance, etc.

I noticed when price did reach a certain level of interest, price would react immediately in a responsive manner. This suggests to enter early if using a market order, and to use a slightly wider stop. (2.5-3 points, maybe?)

...

If my strategy produces gains these coming months, I feel absolutely fine with risking a couple points or so to take advantage of these kind of FOMC opportunities. Given I'm successful, I will certainly be trading the next FOMC. Much props to you if you even participated in the FOMC today.

In terms of my performance, I did everything that I was supposed to. I'm starting to feel like the logical component of me is in the drivers seat lately, but I know how easily this can change. I'm going into tomorrow the same way I went into today and yesterday, thinking: I'm not making any mistakes. Of course, if I do, I'll survive.

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  #289 (permalink)
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Pre-open Analysis (8:00AM EST):

"Triple top-like pattern in the daily. We hit the base of it yesterday and we've bounced. Current daily bar is green. [We were in the 80s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpfWORQWhU]

Daily LVNs: ~2962, ~2972, ~2982, ~2990

How does price react to ~2989?
How does price react to 2973-2974?
How does price react to ~2985?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What a day. Going into the open, I was eye-ing LVN 2990. At the time, on a technical level I considered it a great area to go short given a signal in the OrderFlow (classic responsive trade). When the open finally came, price was trading around the high 79's and 81's, and I was a little surprised to see bullish strength that drove us up to a minor technical level; 2985. Price underwent some responsive selling there, which was followed by bullish strength and bouts of selling activity that didn't suffice. We reached that 2990 figure not even 15 minutes after the open, and we got some nice responsive selling at that first encounter. Price was looking pretty bearish in that moment. What followed was sideways activity- the market was deciding whether or not to stay in it's balance. Price broke out past 2990 at 9:48 on relatively strong bullish volume/delta, and this is when I saw a mix of both initiative buying and responsive selling. After noticing particularly strong selling slightly above 2990- I went short at 2990.50. Immediately after I entered the trade, the words "I got in too early" came out of my mouth. I sure did:

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-2 points.

Had I been a little more patient (had I waited 1.25 more points) that trade would have been a winner. This realization did hurt at the time (not going to lie) but I didn't want to give up.

Whenever I lose a trade, it's like a smack in the face to "wake up" and do the right thing. I've seen this pattern again and again in my trading. In this context, the right thing for me to do was to wait for the 93's to be tested again for a possible re-entry/short. So that's what I did. What ended up happening was we extended the range by another 2 points, reaching the 95's and 96's. I went short at 2995.25 after noticing some responsive sellers up there, and realized as I was in the green that I was just as uncomfortable with this trade as the last one (probably because we were in an uptrend? ). I closed the trade manually with the intention of making back my first loss and broke that much needed rule:

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+1.5 points.

So at this point, I was 2 ticks in the red and I didn't do the right thing(s). I was at a clean slate PnL wise, and I almost ended my trading day after this trade because I knew I was trading stupid- I jyxed myself yesterday. Instead of stopping, I just sat back and took it easy. I stopped beating myself up over my mistakes and simply watched price action. I watched as price broke 2998, 3000, 3001.75, 3004.25, 3005.50, etc.. I was wondering, how high can this possibly go? We went so far as to reach the best edge of the week: price level 3013. I saw bullish exhaustion there, and went short at 3013.75:

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+6 points. +5.5 points to end the day, and possibly to end the week.

So yeah, today was interesting to say the least.

What I did well:
- My pre-open analysis was solid in terms of thoroughness (mostly because I missed a level in my pre-open analysis Monday and I don't want to make that mistake again). I established a step-by-step process yesterday in analyzing both the daily chart and the 30 minute chart, and I love it. It takes the ambiguity out of my technical reads.

- I realized I was beating myself up for making mistakes and stopped. I put my attention on what was happening in the moment with price action. I wasn't discouraged, and instead just looked for opportunities.
- Most importantly, I ended the day having done the right thing. My last trades execution was great, I felt confident in the trade (3013 has been a killer level), and I held it no matter what.

What I did poorly:
- The early execution with my first trade was in part, due to stress. You ever take a trade and feel violated right after entering? It was that sort of thing. I knew I f'ed up as soon as I got in, but I didn't want to break my rule by closing.
- I broke the "hold the trade no matter what rule" with the second trade to make back some of what I lost with the first. This was an impulsive close.

What do I do now:
- I think the reason I made the mistakes I did today is because I was more anxious than usual. I know I can't attribute the mistakes entirely to my state of mind and body, but I'm convinced had I been in a more rational state, my performance would've been better. The answer is to behave the way I did with the third trade: to sit back, relax, breathe and watch price action for what it is. That's all you can reasonably do.


In the end, I did the right things. Onward!

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  #290 (permalink)
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Zachary Standley View Post
+6 points. +5.5 points to end the day, and possibly to end the week.

So yeah, today was interesting to say the least.

What I did well:
- My pre-open analysis was solid in terms of thoroughness (mostly because I missed a level in my pre-open analysis Monday and I don't want to make that mistake again). I established a step-by-step process yesterday in analyzing both the daily chart and the 30 minute chart, and I love it. It takes the ambiguity out of my technical reads.

- I realized I was beating myself up for making mistakes and stopped. I put my attention on what was happening in the moment with price action. I wasn't discouraged, and instead just looked for opportunities.
- Most importantly, I ended the day having done the right thing. My last trades execution was great, I felt confident in the trade (3013 has been a killer level), and I held it no matter what.

What I did poorly:
- The early execution with my first trade was in part, due to stress. You ever take a trade and feel violated right after entering? It was that sort of thing. I knew I f'ed up as soon as I got in, but I didn't want to break my rule by closing.
- I broke the "hold the trade no matter what rule" with the second trade to make back some of what I lost with the first. This was an impulsive close.

What do I do now:
- I think the reason I made the mistakes I did today is because I was more anxious than usual. I know I can't attribute the mistakes entirely to my state of mind and body, but I'm convinced had I been in a more rational state, my performance would've been better. The answer is to behave the way I did with the third trade: to sit back, relax, breathe and watch price action for what it is. That's all you can reasonably do.


In the end, I did the right things. Onward!

Great way to end the day @Zachary Standley! Your hard work is paying off.

And I know just what you meant when you asked "You ever take a trade and feel violated right after entering?" Haha, all too well.

I know we traders try not to dwell too much on the end results but I think you should be proud of your work today, coming back from an early loss AND taking a trade for +6 points is great any way you look at it!

Cheers!

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