We’ve heard from many of you recently who want to get more specific information about what goes on in Ken Long’s live Discretionary Workshop. As an attendee of the first live trading session last September I want to share my observations about the workshop and share the outcome of trading results from the sessions.
Typically at workshops, the instructor presents trading systems in a lecture as he explains and answers questions about the systems being presented. Ken teaches in this style at the Global Systems and the Mechanical Swing/Day Workshops because it is efficient and effective. At the Discretionary Workshop, however, Ken doesn’t simply stand in front of the room and talk about his trades. Rather, he creates a very hands-on and collaborative learning laboratory where individuals work together to teach themselves and the whole group the intraday trading lessons and insights.
It struck me while preparing this article that many items on Ken’s list of specific daily trading prep and execution activities from the Discretionary Workshop would be beneficial to anyone trading intraday or swing timeframes—not just those who were interested in his workshop. See what you think.
Each morning at the workshop in September, 17 traders reviewed the prior day’s preparation and considered trading scenarios for the day. Prior to the market open, the entire group analyzed the recent market direction and volatility. We looked at market gap activity and the follow through patterns after those gaps. We considered each possible gap/follow through scenario and how we might trade each of the given the possibilities.
The group then looked at recent sector action and how those sectors might move dependent on what the market did. For example, if the market was up for the day and commodities continued their strength, there might be opportunities in commodity-based ETFs, material-based stocks and agricultural-based stocks.
As part of their trading plan, each person wrote a list of trade candidates based on their individual assessments. All of the people in the room split off individually or into groups of two or three prior to the market open.
As the market opened, the group watched while both Ken and individuals provided their opinions. As the morning progressed, teams or individuals entered trades; they called out the particular stock or ETF, the entry price, and the stop price. They also called out when they exited each trade. Ken kept track of every trade during the day. It amazed me that in spite of the group consensus about the overall market and areas of opportunity, there was great diversity among the groups.
At various points during the trading day, Ken provided his commentary on what he was seeing in the market. He made some trades and provided his reasoning. At other points, individuals or teams would discuss with the entire room their trade logic or what they were seeing. Like trading, the day seemed to fly at points and drag at others. Well, it wasn’t like trading, it was trading.
After the market closed each day, every group explained all of their trades—including the results and the lessons learned—to the rest of the class. Personally, I found the end-of-day debrief as one of the two most valuable parts of the course. The environment was supportive and highly constructive. There were lots of lessons for everyone as we taught each other. Before we left each evening, we prepped the trading plan for the next day (the other most valuable part of the course, for me). Seeing how Ken prepares for the trading day and learning how to make my own plan with a different format has been invaluable for my day trading.
Ken put together the following detailed list of 20 activities that the group and individual traders accomplished each day. Some of these are Discretionary workshop specific but I believe most of these activities are applicable to any trading routine. In the text in italics, I have added in the value I believe you would get from taking these actions.
Activities and Benefits
Reviewed the 10-page daily trading plan reports.
You learn to find the meaningful information for intraday trading from Ken’s reports and how to use that.
Prepared multiple trading scenarios and appropriate strategies for large and small gaps in both market directions.
You are ready for the trading day with a number of trade ideas, regardless of what the market does.
Examined key price levels using support, resistance, and pivot points.
You identify key points where the market has a higher probability of bouncing or surging through.
Framed trades in multiple time periods and with multiple patterns.
You select only potentially profitable trades and discard trade ideas that did not show sufficient reward-to-risk.
Filtered opportunities to apply «turbo» techniques to engineer intraday trades from mechanical trade patterns.
You take advantage of already identified opportunities on a shorter term basis.
Stalked different intraday patterns and execution of swing trade entries.
You exercise patience as you wait for the trade setups to develop.
Examined opportunities—informed by risk management—that offered pyramid position sizing strategies both for scaling in and scaling out.
You see what kind of intraday trades make good candidates for scaling position sizing strategies to dramatically improve your results.
Applied appropriate intraday position sizing strategies.
You learn how to manage your money for multiple intraday trades. Ken’s approach has been honed over the years. It makes intuitive sense and Ken has proven it to work well.
Analyzed the market in 30-minute segments as the trading day developed.
You can find some recurring patterns in market behavior relating to the time of day.
Developed continuation trades.
You identify certain intraday trades that show strength enough to carry overnight.
Applied gap statistics to properly size day positions being carried overnight.
You understand that gaps present a significant risk and they require you to analyze the risk and resize the position to incorporate that risk.
Debriefed and analyzed daily trades and opportunities.
You see how different ideas and trades translates into results.
Developed trading «narratives» to guide evolving trade patterns.
You create the logic as to why some things are happening, which helps you make some sense of the market and sector moves.
Applied statistical analysis of daily trade batches.
You analyze your trading results in a way that you can use when you get back home.
Debriefed trading psychology of markets and trades taken.
You comprehend the intense effects that your emotions can have on your trading.
Managed emotional states and energy levels during the trading day.
You also comprehend the cycles and changes in emotions and energy during the day, how to notice them, and how they affect your trading.
Collaborated throughout each day for constant learning opportunities.
You are learning all day long—not just when Ken makes a trade.
Learned how to use the Tortoise trading chatroom and mastermind for continued progress after the workshop.
You have access to a similar trading/learning environment as in the workshop after you return home.
Heard multiple perspectives on the trading environment from seasoned, experienced traders.
You listen to and learn from everyone in the room rather than just the instructor.
Encouraged each attendee to work with his/her own equipment, accounts and trading environment.
You use the same tools and accounts you use back home, which allows you to focus on learning.
Our Trading Results
Day 1: The group traded entirely long on a day when the market lost 1%. It opened with a gap down and had one strong up-move during the day. Day 1 Statistics
Total trades 26
Winning trades 20
Losing trades 6
Scratch trades 2
Average Win +1.6R
Average Loss -0.9R
Net Profit +25R
Day 2: The market presented a different profile on Day 2. The group controlled risk well, and remained open to multiple R winners on the right side (profit). The group carried over four swing trades on strong finishes, which if all closed out on Day 3 at the open (an unlikely probability), would have provided an additional +4R for the trades entered. Day 2 Statistics
Total trades 32
Winning trades 18
Losing trades 14
Average Win +1.36R
Average Loss -0.75R
Net Profit +11R
These results were outstanding! Granted, we don’t know what kind of opportunities the market will throw at the group in February. We do know, however, that given Ken’s trading experience and ability to facilitate a very strong learning environment, attendees will be richly rewarded with valuable knowledge about a proven process of intraday discretionary trade planning and execution.