This post is going to try and bring you up to speed on the importance of chart study to day traders. If you are a day trader, one of the most important things you can do at the end of each day is to go back and review your chart and your trades. If you use NinjaTrader or any other popular trading software that allows you to place your trades directly on your chart, be sure to use that option and to spend time studying your charts after you finish trading each day. If you are trying to become profitable for the first time, or if you are simply interested in taking your trading to the next level, this one daily task will help you to improve your trading exponentially! It will also help you to understand why price action alone is the most important aspect of trading.
It doesn’t matter if you trade stocks, bonds, futures or Forex, it is important that you study and review your daily work. What I recommend is that you first go through your chart without your trades visible and study the best entry points. See if you can figure out why the entry was a good one and why prices moved strongly after that point. Mark all of these entries and spend some time with them to see if you can find a pattern that you can take advantage of the next time you see it in real time. Save these charts and go back and review them on the weekends and at night.
Secondly, place your own trades on the chart and review all of your entries for the day. Determine what went right, and why. Then spend time on the failed trades and see if you can determine why the trade failed and what would or could have prevented your from entering at the wrong place. As an example, did you go short at a strong support area or did you go long at a strong resistance area? Maybe you were counter trend trading in a strong trend? In time you will slowly learn why prices react certain ways at certain times, and why price action is so important to profitable trading.
These issues mentioned in the paragraph above are some of the most common trading problems that lead to failed entries. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to simply walk away from your trading at the end of the day and not know why you failed or what you could have done differently. Trading is one of the hardest professions in the free world, and regardless of how smart you are, or how high your IQ might be, you will not succeed without a lot of hard work.
Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Drew Brees are arguably some of the best professional quarterbacks in the NFL, yet each one spends an inordinate amount of time studying the tape on opposing teams. Your adversary is the market you are trading against and the impulses of the other participants. In order to learn the opposing trader’s tendencies and to be better prepared for what the market may throw at you, it is important that you study the tape or charts so that you can improve your winning percentages.
If you are not already spending time reviewing and studying your charts at the end of each day, I challenge you to begin doing this today. I can not over emphasize the importance of chart study to day traders. Commit to it for one full week and see what a difference it will make in your trading. What you will notice is that you will learn to quickly see the best patterns “after the fact” each day. However, with time, you will slowly begin to see these patterns emerge in real time as they develop on your chart. Once you begin to see the patterns printing in real time, directly on your screen, you are well on your way to improving your bottom line in trading. Most importantly, you will get a strong understanding of price action trading and how to use it in your daily trading.