Trader development plan

Why you need a trader development plan

 

I’ve learned everything there is to know about trading.

 

Says no professional trader, ever.

 

Not improving is deadly in this business. Seeing your P/L go south kind of deadly. Every trader who has made it has done so because of continuous learning. A desire to get better at the trading game. Every single one of those traders has a trader development plan. But what exactly is that?

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Trading trend reversals

A Guide to Trading Trend Reversals

As a trader, it’s important to know how to spot trend reversals. It’s particularly necessary if you’re a reversal trader but even as a trend trader, it’s useful to know how to spot a reversal. Indeed, as a trend trader, a looming reversal might very well be the moment to take profits and get out.

Trading trend reversals

 

But after years of trading reversals, I know that it’s often much more subtle than just seeing the price change direction. Not all reversals play out in the same way. There are multiple types of reversals, each with their own characteristics.

 

Some reversals are gradual and look textbook. Other reversals are very unpredictable, volatile and hard to trade. Even others will look like a reversal but eventually continue on their trending path, taking out many traders along the way. Knowing what is what can be the difference between a losing and a profitable trader.

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Trading chartbook

A chartbook can make or break your trading

Keeping a chartbook of trades you have taken might seem like such a random thing to do. A nice to have, for traders feeling nostalgic about past trades, maybe. You might’ve heard people talking about it, but I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t think twice of it and just went on with whatever you were doing.

 

I’m here to say that such a collection of trade screenshots (sometimes called a playbook or chartbook) is much less trivial. It might even be crucial to your success as a trader.

 

Let’s try this experiment: do you keep a trading journal? If you answered “yes” here: well done! Now pick a trade from 3 months ago and look at just the numbers. From that data, you can probably see it was a winner of a loser, your R-multiple, stop loss and take profit placement, MFE and MAE and so on.

 

But without a chart screenshot,

  • can you tell what you could’ve done better on this particular trade?
  • if you could’ve entered at a better price point?
  • exited with more profit?
  • if there were chart patterns you missed?
  • if that new strategy idea you have would’ve worked out here?

 

No? That’s where a chartbook comes in. And it’s not even the only benefit of keeping track with chart screenshots.

 

Since keeping a chartbook, I found it much easier to stick to the good setups and avoid less than optimal setups. I know what to look for, but that visual double check using screenshots of past setups makes all the difference. But let’s first take a step back. What exactly is it?

 

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Forex buy and sell expert advisor

MT4 EA Course: Buy And Sell

This article is part of a series. Here are the other parts:

 

Welcome to the fourth part of our MetaTrader4 Expert Advisor course! If you haven’t done so, please have a look at first three instalments.

Forex Wall-E

 

Up until now, we’ve just been working with buy orders. But we’re traders, not investors! So rather than a buy-only system, it would be nice if our expert advisor could also short the market. In other words, we want to support going both long and short; buy and sell. We’re still working on our Forex Wall-E expert advisor, so let’s continue where we left off!

 

 

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Forex Trading Strategy

How to create a new forex trading strategy

When people are looking for a new forex trading strategy, what they really want to know is:

  • How do I create a strategy that works?
  • How do I develop the confidence to trade a strategy I believe in?

 

The first question almost goes without saying. Without a working strategy, there’s no use in attempting to trade in a consistent and profitable way. The second question, however, is more subtle. My opinion is that if you have a working strategy but don’t have a deeply rooted belief that you can trade this strategy, you will fail.

 

Confidence in a strategy will make or break your results.

 

Richard Dennis confidence in trading

 

Fortunately, there is an answer to both questions: testing.

 

Before I ever use a strategy, I will have tested it for weeks. For months. It’s not an extremely difficult process, but it does involve a lot of work. During the years, I’ve tested 100’s of strategies. Most of them failed. Some of them, I could make work. The best ones, I’m trading today. Here are the steps involved to make it happen.

 

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pin and drive

The pin and drive reversal entry trigger

As you might know, I’m mainly a reversal trader. I use other strategies as well, but my bread and butter setups revolve around swing trading reversals.

 

This article is about an entry trigger I often use for my reversal trades. I describe it in my trading plan as pin and drive, which basically means that if I see a pin bar followed by a drive in the opposite direction (a momentum candle, if you wish) AND some additional conditions are fulfilled, I have found that it is often a good trigger to enter a reversal.

 

But first, let’s make it clear what I mean with a chart:

 

Pin and drive reversal trigger examples

 

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Mirror lake

Fighting a continuous market bias

After using a trading journal for a while, I noticed something remarkable. For one specific reversal strategy I trade, around 75% of my trades were sell orders. Unknowingly, I seemed to have a bearish market bias.

 

 

Have you ever experienced something similar?

 

 

You might think that this sounds very similar to what people call a “permabear”, an investor who continuously acts in the expectation that stocks will fall. However, I don’t believe this is the same thing. In contrary to these investors, I don’t have a strong overall bullish or bearish feeling to any market. I will buy just as easily as I will sell. I do, however, have a harder time “seeing” certain bullish reveral setups.

 

I found this a bit unusual, so I looked into it. I found it easier to discover the bearish setups on my charts. I would often look over bullish setups that are exact mirror images of their bearish counterparts, but fail to either spot them or don’t find them convincing enough to trade. After I started monitoring this more closely in my weekly reviews and watchlists, I decided to do something about it.

 

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Closing trades for the weekend

Should you close trades before the weekend?

It’s Friday. TGIF! You already have a drink in your hand and ready for some weekend activities, but you still have one trade open. Should you close trades before the market shuts down for the weekend or not? Multiple traders will give you many different answers. It’s an interesting topic and when you want to know what to do, there are a few considerations to make. I decided to look into it.

 

Close trades or not?

 

Close trades over the weekend

 

Let’s look at two different scenarios. Scenario one shows a trade setup where the trade was kept open over the weekend. Scenario two shows a trade setup where the trade was closed before the weekend.

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Expert advisor trailing stops code

MT4 EA Course: Trailing Stops

This article is part of a series. Here are the other parts:

 

Welcome to the third part of our MetaTrader4 Expert Advisor course! If you haven’t done so, please have a look at first two instalments.

 

Forex Wall-E

In this part, I want to discuss stops. We’ve seen how to create an order with a simple pip-based stop in the previous article. What I want to look at this time, is how to implement dynamic, trailing stops. We’re still working on our Forex Wall-E expert advisor, so let’s continue where we left off!

 

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