How to Plan Every Trade You Take

11/18/2010 12:01 am EST


Brandon Wendell

Senior Instructor, Online Trading Academy

by: Brandon Wendell

Brandon is speaking this week at the Traders Expo in Las Vegas.

My fellow instructor Darek Zelek and I traveled to Kamshet, India to visit Sanjay Rao at Fly Nirvana. I was amazed at how much paragliding had in common with trading. In fact, two of my fellow students were also traders. In paragliding, there is an inherent risk, as there is with trading. Trade improperly and you lose your money, fly improperly and, well, you know. Sanjay's course was focused on safety and risk management. This parallels the importance Online Trading Academy places on the same with your trading.

Before you can fly, you must learn the basics: Using the safety gear, rigging the equipment, how to control the glider while on the ground, takeoff and landing procedures, wind effects, and of course, control of the glider in flight.

Before you can trade, you must learn the basics: How to read price, understand support and resistance, comprehend the use of risk and money management, and have a handle on order entry.

Before flying you must: Have a flight plan, inspect the landing site, check the take off area, verify wind and weather conditions, and inspect your gear.

Before trading you must: Have an overall trading plan; plan the individual trades; check the market conditions; identify your entry, exit, and stop levels; and confirm your platform is working properly.

During flight you must: Monitor your wind, be aware of surroundings' potential dangers, follow your flight plan, relax, and enjoy!

During a trade you must: Monitor the market and stock conditions, be aware of other securities that could affect your trade, follow your trade plan, relax, and enjoy!

Upon and after landing you must: Ensure your landing area is clear, line up for final approach, make only minor adjustments, execute a flare, bring down your glider properly, and journal and review your flight to see what you did right and wrong then improve your progress.

Upon exiting and after the trade you must: Analyze the markets to see if you may exceed your target or stop short, let your profits run if trend will continue, exit the trade with proper execution, review and journal your trade so you can see what you did right and wrong then improve your progress.

So you see that the disciplines we need to be successful as traders also apply to other things we do in life. So to help you get started, I have included some simple steps for market preparation. This is only a start and we cover much more in our classes.

Steps to prepare for trading:

  1. Determine market condition
    1. Make sure there are no announcements that may surprise me
    2. Identify the trend of the market
    3. Choose stock that is moving in the direction of the market
  2. Determine the trend direction for my stock
    1. Check the color of the candles
    2. Draw out trend lines, if possible
    3. Use a momentum indicator to determine trend strength and possible reversals
  3. Mark out support and resistance
    1. Find at least three support and three resistance levels
    2. Support levels are turning points where price stopped going down and went up
    3. Resistance levels are turning points where price stopped going up and went down
    4. Use an Oscillator to help identify turning points
  4. Plan trade based on data collected
    1. List supporting reasons why the trade should work
    2. List dangers that may keep my trade from working
    3. Write out the steps to execute the plan in detail: include entry, stop, and target prices
  5. Execute trade according to plan

By following the proper steps and managing your risk, you will prevent crash landings in your trading account. Trade Safe and Trade Well. I'll see you in the skies!

Brandon Wendell is an instructor at Online Trading Academy.

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