Think Like A Trader Blog

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Beginner Blog Post 2 - Craig Sanders

Hello Traders.

Continuing on with the Decisive Trading Beginner blogs, we have our second post from Craig Sanders. I hope you all enjoy it and I hope you've all had a great trading week!

James Orr

Hi guys, now that I have briefly introduced myself in the previous post, my intentions are to
rewind all the way back to November 2015 last year and go over my findings from my trading diary that I had started out with after completing the ‘zone trader’ course and still continue to use today. I’m hoping by doing this I can give out a clearer picture of the hills climbed and the avalanches surfed to get to where I am at today. (FYI, I certainly can’t surf)

Each blog post I will try and focus on a new issue or breakthrough that I experienced first-hand as I set about my trading journey on a new ‘demo’ account with a 10,000-pound balance and a new registration with the IG platform.

Firstly, for this post, I would just like to briefly explain a simple but highly useful tracking tool I’ve been using from day 1 of my trading and I highly encourage all new beginner traders to do the same or implement something similar that suits your style of recordings.

My method for tracking my trading is a combination of my diary and a daily screenshot. My diary is a small pocket diary that goes everywhere my laptop goes. On each and every trade I write the date, + or - the amount of points, the value +or-, then underneath this (as in the Zone Trader course) I mark my trade with either a #1, #2 or #3 depending on how I felt I had performed within the market. I then write a short description at the side of the number stating if or not I had followed my rules and what emotions I felt at that exact time. Example below -

+15 points     Bull Pin bar (am) – key zone     + 15.00
#3 – awesome, followed all zone trader rules, managed very tightly into next zone, great emotions, calm & relaxed in trade.
-11.5 points     Bearish Engulfing (pm) – in no zone    - 11.50
#1 – didn’t follow any rules, thought the market would continue to sell off, anxious, panicked and rushed into the trade, market reversed, stopped out!!! Follow your damn rules CRAIG, you know better!!

After each trading day I then mark up my chart with my entries and exit points, jot down the value of points achieved or lost and then I write a more ‘detailed description’ to that in my diary of how I acted prior to entry, whilst in the trade and how I felt upon exit. I also mark any extra ‘key notes’ on my learnings that day. Ie – temp resistance points, closing partial positions, emotions, news etc. 

Please note – The above chart isn’t a match to the example of diary notes above it, I have used them just as an example to illustrate my point and the basics of it.

The important point I am trying to convey with the above diary and screenshot is that when these are done daily over and over they become highly useful at the end of each month.
They build a picture for tracking your losing trades and allow you to go back over your diary, identify ‘common’ mistakes made and then pick the date of the screenshot and you can study that error in greater detail. I cannot stress enough how good I have found this to be for myself and have overcome certain reoccurring errors. Without this, it is very easy to move on and forget where you are going wrong, in turn only costing you money, pain and the potential to give in!

At the end of each trading month I go over my trading diary and tally up all losing trades. Those that come apparent to be ‘common’ reasons for being losers, I match to the correct screenshots for study.
I have found this to be a very effective and as the months progressed on into the new year of 2016, i still today continue to use the same method for rectifications and it WORKS well guys!

When those odd days come of losing trades and even streaks, which they do and will for all of you, I have honestly found that when feeling ‘low’ after a bad streak of losers or a bad streak of emotions building over a few days that by pushing through, resisting the pain, dusting yourself down and then using the above ‘diary + screenshot’ technique to analyse your trades works really well for overcoming any pain from the market. This for me anyway has pulled me back out of the sh*t and enabled me to accept the common theme of making mistakes to then fix them and progress forward and come out on top.
I have had this experience a fair few times when learning to implement the zone trader and can tell you since being a beginner trader within the last 11 months I am still here today hanging on for dear life when there has been the odd occasion of feeling defeat………   Watch this space ;)

Novemeber  2015 – 2 common identified problems

1.     Trading through a UK high importance news event …. just this once!!!
2.     Using dodgy entry signals and telling myself its fine really!!!

The Typical beginner occurrence of “ignoring your rules” and then “chasing your loss’s”. (can very easily happen over and over again)

The above screenshot caption is from 1 of my trading days mid-November 2015. Iv plucked this out to show/explain in my next post to any aspiring beginner trader/s or readers in general just how easily one can make such huge mistakes or even potentially long term damaging mistakes on their own trading paths after completing such a well-structured and understood course to then go on to think after a few winning trades they are invincible to any potential losing trades within the markets.



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  3. Thanks Craig for sharing these tips, I was writing a diary but it was getting pretty tear stained. And how is it now, nearly a year on? Have you become consistently profitable?

    1. Hi Gregory, i found at times with my diary i would still get lazy on the odd occasions and more so with any losses that occur as the months roll on.

      The important thing i found is that it's just as important and obvious that you fill out the diary in as much detail as needed regardless on win, loss or however many months have gone by. Its so easy to drop off the diary, well the input of 'detail' anyhow!

      Again this 'detail' we extract from the diary and match with the screenshots as mentioned above, is the golden nugget i feel to master your own mind and execution skills down the road.

      Im doing well, i had a rougher September than i would have liked but i have also moved on to a better Oct followed by looking to be a good Nov :)

  4. Hi Craig, it's good to know you have suffered the pain as you learn! It means I'm not on my own! 😀 Great blog, Onwards & upwards 👍

    1. Thanks Jane. Im glad your still marching on :)