I often find that I spend more time practicing my trading then I do actually trading. Yes, you read correctly, I said practice. You know that dreaded thing that nobody likes to do. Good old practice. Unfortunately, in many cases it is the only way to get better. What do I practice you ask. Well I just practice recognizing different patterns, setups in order to get a general feel for how the market likes to move. Why do I practice? Is it because I'm in search of some secret technique or strategy..I Wish! But realistically I do so simply so I can recognize things quicker, which will give me more time to set orders and stops. We've all had that instance in the market where we see a perfect trade opportunity after its already setup and say to ourselves "man I would've made a million pips on that one." Then we gain confidence in the fact that we were able to identify a successful pattern. The only problem is we saw it too late and didn't actually get to profit off of it. This is what I want to avoid. Practice allows me to not only recognize setups quicker, it also allows me to have the confidence to enter them without hesitation. It also gives me patience with what I trade. On the flip side of trying not to miss a pattern. It also allows me to recognize possible "false opportunities." These are the opportunities that look perfect at first but when you look at them a little closer there may be a better areas just ahead. These are the opportunities where you get in a trade, then get stopped out, only to have the market reverse a little while later and hit a super profit.
How do I practice you ask. I simply scroll through chart after chart after chart. If you have a "Market Replay" ability on your charting package then that works great in simulating live training. If not you can just scroll all the way to the left and click through one candle at a time. Either way your simulating watching the market live and trying to predict what will happen next. One thing I learned in my throughout my first year of trading full-time is that patterns and setups don't go by the book. Whenever we read about a new pattern or view an example of one, it always seems to complete perfectly. Duh That's because books and many websites out there only like to showcase the best examples. In real life it's not so simple and that's when training a practice really pay off. Gartley's don't always retrace at 61.8's and AB=CD patterns don't always end at an equal move. Those are the opportunities we often miss.
Personally I'm addicted to the market and the idea of continuous improvement (Kaizen) so finding time to practice isn't an issue for me. If anything I need to spend less time looking at charts and more time relaxing and getting other things done. But the point is, if you can find 20mins a day to simply look through some charts, you'll be amazed at how much sharper you become when you're back in the live market.