Getting in the training…

Trader's Mindset

Jun 22

Athletes train for success. Futures traders should also train for success. Here are some drills that the futures trader should work on…

  1. Placing orders in the DOM. Adding and removing contracts. It is surprising how bad most trading platforms are when it comes to managing multiple contracts. It is important to the active trader to add and remove contracts. What happens when you add extra contracts and the market doesn’t look good? You may want to take off only a portion. Can you do that? It is not easy.
  2. Taking as many trades as possible in the simulator. Imagine a trader who takes 3 trades per day versus a trader who makes 30 trades per day. Multiply that over 10 days. The trader who made 30 trades per day has 10x the experience. It might not always be advisable to take 30 trades per day in the live markets but for building experience, taking more trades will help one gain experience faster. More observations. More ideas to test.
  3. In addition to training for more trades, why not try to train to trade with only 2 tick stop losses. It may or may not be possible to make money consistently in the market with 2 tick stop losses but you will gain a lot of experience.
  4. Training different methods and styles for diversification benefits.
  5. Manipulating time. If I go back to a random point in time on a daily chart and chart-step it then it is surprisingly easy to pick off several perfect trades. Why? Because when you step a chart, you control the tempo. You can play it back at the perfect speed for your processing speed. In real-time, those market moves would have been painfully slow. There would been a lot of distraction and talk around the moves. A lot of time to self-doubt oneself. A lot of time to lose interest or for life to intervene or to get scared out of a good trade. In real-time, the market tends to move either too fast or too slow. Playback the market slower and faster. If you do trade from charts, try to find a chart that naturally moves at or near your optimal processing speed. If you find yourself taking a lot of bored trades then it may help to trade more frequently for smaller moves: if you trade for smaller moves then just from basic statistics, the best trades within that context will come more frequently.
  6. Building proprietary indicators and methods. Most things you will invent will have been done before. You know that. There is very little new under the sun. But, when you build it yourself, it becomes your own in a unique way.


About the Author

The author is passionate about markets. He has developed top ranked futures strategies. His core focus is (1) applying machine learning and developing systematic strategies, and (2) solving the toughest problems of discretionary trading by applying quantitative tools, machine learning, and performance discipline. You can contact the author at

  • simon says:

    My mates and I get a big kick out of reading your articles (we are in a London prop shop). How about “trade with real money” for practice? We are guessing you do not.

    • Curtis says:

      @Simon I have only been trading a small account but will mostly be trading in my OneUp and TST accounts as I work on current goal. If you go back to my article, “If you’re a discretionary futures trader do not do this..” you can see my real money results since period of my TopStepTrader try out documented. I am currently trying out for OneUpTrader account, as well, which is my current goal. Thanks. Yes, I’ve placed 100’s of real money trades, for what its worth, in the last month. In 2011, my two futures systems (one discretionary and other programmed) were consistently featured in the top 10 systems at Collective2 before I took them offline. The systems were at or near all time highs, and yes several subscribers took profitable real money trades.

      • simon says:

        So you have been trading live since 2011, yet still have only a small account? Seems like bollocks to us. OneUp and TST are pipe dreams, mate. Funding falling like rain from the sky let’s all take a drink

  • Curtis says:

    @Simon I agree sometimes it feels like it. I actually started predicting the market in 2006. I am only taking the TST because I got a free pass. But, I payed for the OneUp because I feel like I can hit the goals and it is not easy for me to come up with 5k risk capital, although it sounds like it should be.

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