Day trading best practices checklist: Before, during and after you trade

August 31st, 2023

An adequately prepared day trader is one who sets themselves up for success. In the recent NinjaTrader-sponsored webinar Top 5 Automated Setups for Day Traders, NaviTrader Trader, Coach and Systems Developer Steve Wheeler laid out his day trading best practices checklist for before, during and after day trading.

Before you trade

  • Check for pending news that may impact trading that day—e.g., unemployment claims report, other market-mover reports.
  • Have your conditions for entry.
  • Make sure you’re trading the correct instrument—e.g., E-mini, Nasdaq, etc.
  • Select your stop and target strategy—e.g., advanced trade management (ATM).
  • Select the correct account.
  • Confirm your positions sizing. If you’re over-leveraged, assume the trade will not work.

During your trade

  • Manage your trailing stops.
  • Exit your partial position at targets.
  • Close your position at trailing stops.
  • Monitor your daily profit/loss.

“One very important reality in trading is that some days are better than others,” said Wheeler. “Some days will be phenomenally great, other days not so great. On the days that are not great, move on, because tomorrow is a new day.”

After you trade

  • Update your daily log and analyze what happened during the trading day.
  • Check for and cancel your open orders or exit your open positions.
  • Set your system to global simulation mode.
  • Monitor your daily profit/loss.
  • Note your lessons from the day. Determine what you could have done better so you can improve next time.

Watch the full event to learn more about how education and simplified thinking can support your futures trading.

Interested in more futures trading tips? Check out our on-demand video education library. New events occur weekly, so keep an eye on our upcoming webinars as well, where you can view our schedule and register to attend live events.

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