This is How to Trade an Open Away from Settlement

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 21, 2018

In our new trading segment, The Trade, Performance Coach Dan Hodgman breaks down the logistics behind an interesting setup from last week. The first episode talks about one of Dan's favorite trades — the tendency for prices to move back to the prior day's settlement. 

Looking at Wednesday, February 14, there was a large gap between Tuesday's settlement price and Wednesday's opening prices. The gap was due to the 7:30 AM CT release of January retail sales and inflation reports. Markets sold off hard ahead of the open, presenting Dan with an interesting risk / reward setup.  

Dan takes a look at the E-mini S&P 500 contract and talks about how he would go about analyzing that market at the open. 

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Futures, Trading Setups, Equities, The Trade

It's Time to Kick Your Market Bias to the Curb

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 15, 2018

Markets are uncertain and ever changing. If the last two weeks hasn't reinforced that, then nothing will. 

As traders that watch the markets every day, it's hard not to form an opinion on where they should go. It would be very easy to view the recent run-up in equity futures as baffling. It may just not make sense given how sharply they sold off.

But there's one small change that can help you kick your bias to the curb: realize that markets can do anything. 

In this episode of Trader Behavior, Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland and CVO Michael Patak share how they learned to view the market as an ever-changing organism and how that resulted in better trading.

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

A Trader's Largest Flaw and How to Conquer It

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 14, 2018

If we were completely rational, we would not need rules. We would always make trades according to our plan. We wouldn't need a daily loss limit. And we would recognize when our strategy wasn't working. 

Unfortunately that isn't the case. Our largest flaw is that we are not rational. We don't always act in the best interests of our long-term profitability. 

So how do we save ourselves from ourselves?

This week's episode of Limit Up! tackles just that. Check it out, and be sure to subscribe to Limit Up on iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud to get the fresh episodes each week delivered to your inbox. 

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Limit Up!

This is the Time to Crush It! Here's How

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 08, 2018

Great traders make entire years' worth of profits during markets like these. The recent volatility is something that many traders have been hoping for. Now that it's here, it's time to capitalize.

If this volatility continues, there is a very real possibility that you will have your best trading day ever in the coming days. But if you don't trade in a risk-minded or disciplined way, then these markets may also be  the death of you.

Today, our coaches are joined by TopstepTrader founder and CVO, Michael Patak, to talk about how you can take advantage of what the market is giving you. They talk about what they've experienced when trading volatile markets and how they've learned to capitalize on what the market gives them. Pull out a pad of paper, you'll want to write some of this down.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Behavior

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 03, 2018

No it's not quite as easy as, "If you believe it, you can achieve it." Trading is hard. But everyone has seen those moments in sports when momentum changes — like when an underdog finally believes they can win or a team that was down and out gets a lucky break and all the negative energy seemingly evaporates. The same can happen in your trading. 

Those moments of clarity are ones to take advantage of. You are in a flow state with the market. That's when your P&L can more than make up for the losing days. 

Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland and CVO Michael Patak talk through it and share how they keep positive energy going. Check it out and leave any feedback in the comments. Enjoy.

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

What Traders Should Learn from Tom Brady's Work Ethic

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 31, 2018

Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback of all time. Five-time Super Bowl champion. Four-time Super Bowl MVP. Nine consecutive years in the Pro Bowl (13x Pro Bowler overall). And he's the starting quarterback in this weekend's Super Bowl. 

He's been able to achieve such great success because of his talent — but also his incredibly work ethic. He goes to bed every night at 8:30 PM, and wakes every morning at 5:30 AM. He knows the competition is stiff and that the only way he can continue to perform is to outwork his competition.

 In this week's Coach's Playbook, Dan, John and Mick talk about what traders can learn from Tom Brady's routine. You may be surprised at how many overlaps there are. 

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

This is How You Capitalize on Highly Trending Markets

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 27, 2018

If we know one thing about these markets, it's that they are trending. The U.S. Dollar can't buy a bid — falling to a 3-year low this week. Equity futures are rallying closing on January 26 at their all-time highs. Crude Oil is near its recent highs. And markets aren't just slowly going the direction of the trend. These are strong swings.  

In this environment, you have to trade differently. That's the subject of our latest Coach's Playbook, where Dan, Mick and Hoag talk about ways to capitalize on the trend or, if you are a contrarian, ways to get out of its way.  Don't go into trading Monday without giving this a watch.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

This is How to Master a Trader's State of Mind

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 19, 2018

If you believe it, you can achieve it. OK, that's a ridiculous sentiment - but it bears some truth. Your state of mind is incredibly important to your trading performance. No, that doesn't mean that you can wish the market higher, lower or sideways. 

But if you come into the trading day thinking that there's no way you can dig yourself out of a hole you got in, for example, then you might as well not even trade that day. You have little shot at profits. 

How do you improve? Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland and Mick Ieronimo talk through it and share how they've kept a positive (but realistic) state of mind. Check it out and leave any feedback in the comments. Enjoy.

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

Mastering Stress, Anxiety and Trading - Trader Behavior

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 13, 2018

Stress and anxiety are inevitable parts of trading. As traders, we're trying to predict the future. And by definition, the future is unknowable. But there's a difference between normal stress and axiety and debilitating levels of those emotions. Too often, we let that difference be our P&L. 

In this week's Trader Behavior segment, Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland and Chief Visionary Officer Michael Patak talk about ways they've learned to recognize and then overcome stress and anxiety in their trading. 

Tip for improvement: Get involved in a trading community (like TopstepChat). Being able to ask for advice, get objective help and realize that most other traders have struggled with your same issues go a long way toward relieving the stress and axiety you may feel. 

Check it out and leave any feedback in the comments. 

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics

How to Have Your Most Successful Year Ever - Coach's Playbook

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 10, 2018

Getting in the groove is an important part of trading. Momentum builds on itself and confidence grows. Yes, we're in tune with the market. Yes, we got lucky a few times. But we also did the blocking and tackling right.

In this episode of Coach's Playbook, our coaches talk about their most successful trading years and how they managed themselves and their books.

They share five lessons that were key to their success: (1) create behavioral awareness; (2) balance sitting in a losing trade with the opportunity cost of missing other trades; (3) prevent bad days from getting worse; (4) create accountability for yourself; and (5) be there when the market moves.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Coach's Playbook

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