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There’s an old saying that goes something like “Success happens when opportunity meets preparation”. Hopefully, by the end of today’s lesson, you will understand just how applicable that saying is to trading success and why it’s so important to be an anticipatory trader instead of a reactive one.

If you take a close look at any successful trader or business person in any industry, you will find they did not achieve success by being reactionary and acting without a plan. Every success story, whether in business, trading, professional sports or anything else, always is based in planning, in anticipating what needs to happen now to attain success in the future.

As traders, we are facing a never-ending stream of constantly-changing variables when we look at the market. The only way to effectively trade and make money from those variables is to develop the ability to anticipate high-probability trades before they happen, otherwise you will always be reacting, usually emotionally to the market.

We need to plan, anticipate and then pull the trigger once market conditions meet our anticipated criteria…

Map the market in advance

The first step to anticipating trades rather than reacting emotionally to the market, is learning how to map the market in advance. By “map the market”, I am talking about understanding what the market is doing, where the key levels are, what the trend is, if any, etc. You want to make this into a trading routine that you do at the start of each week.

When you know what a market has been up to and you understand the trend and key levels, when a price action signal forms, you will instantly know if it makes sense in the context it is forming in. Once you get good at this, you will truly be focused in on key levels and value areas you anticipate a trade forming at. Then, when (if) a signal does form at that area, you are ready to go with no hesitation or fear.

So, to put this a little different way; you shouldn’t be waking up every day looking for something totally new in the market, you should already know in advance what the market is doing and where you’re waiting for a signal at. Also, by a ‘signal’, I mean a price action signal or even just a retrace to a key level and a blind entry at that level. If you are anticipating a retrace to a key level and your entry is simply at the level, that is also anticipating a trade and is just fine. Remember, don’t just react to what’s happening today; you should have already been anticipating it well in advance based off your map of the market.

In the example chart below, we can see that we have mapped out the obvious / key horizontal level and identified the dominant / overall trend of this market. Note, as the market swings, you will need to adjust your key levels to reflect those new swing points, this can typically be done on the weekend, before the new week begins…

mapthemarket

Identify ‘hot’ areas in the market…

The point of anticipating trades is that you have a plan of action for how you will react if XYZ happens…this is a much more professional way to conduct yourself in the market than simply “running and gunning” with no logic or method behind your trades. Remember, you should trade like a sniper not a machine gunner ;).

The importance of performing weekly and daily market analysis in a structured and methodical manner can be emphasized enough. Doing so will help you to get “in-tune” with the overall market structure and dynamics and learn to anticipate high-probability trading scenarios…this is how you trade like a sniper or trade like a crocodile, pick your metaphor.

When you sit down at your computer to analyze the market, you should already have a good idea of where you are looking for signals and what markets are “hot” right now…you should be anticipating signals in confluent areas and levels in the market based on previous analysis you’ve already done. For example, in the Gold chart used above, we had been watching the key support level at 1300.00 – 1310.00 for many weeks in our commentary because we knew that price had previously bounced very aggressively from that level. So, 1300.00 – 1310.00 was a ‘hot’ or confluent area to watch and to anticipate a trade at…

anticipatingtrades

Conclusion

As we wrap this lesson up, I want to make sure you understand the difference between anticipation and reaction in regards to trading the market.

Anticipation and planning for future events is an ability that is unique to humans, at least to the degree we can plan and anticipate. We have the ability to understand what has happened, what is happening and what might happen as a result of those two things. Other animals simply do not have this advanced cognitive ability.

Reactions are something every living thing has. Any animal or insect can react to their environment. Indeed, almost everything an animal or insect does is an instinct or a reaction they don’t have to think much about.

Now, stop and ask yourself, do you want to trade like a reactionary animal or insect? Or do you want to trade like an intelligent human being?? Well, I am sure that 100% of you answered that you want to trade like a human. However, I am not sure that even 90% of you are trading that way.

Most struggling traders are so busy reacting to the market that they hardly even have time to stop and think about what they’re doing, let alone to map the market, make a plan and anticipate their trades. It might sound a bit harsh, but I prefer honesty over sweet-talk, and I am going to be honest with you now. If you are only reacting to the market with no planning or anticipating, you are basically trading like an animal, certainly not a high-functioning human. Remember this point: Professional traders plan and anticipate their trades; they control themselves rather than allowing the market to control them.

The market will not ALWAYS do what you want it to or what you anticipate it might do. It won’t always move into the high-probability / confluent zones that you highlight on your charts…but sometimes it will, and when it does you need to be ready and confident, and that is the point of today’s lesson. To make sure you’re totally prepared to anticipate your trades rather than reacting to the market like a scared gazelle being stalked by a lion, check out my trading course and members’ area for more help.

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About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 15,000+ students since 2008.
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58 Comments

  1. sbu says:

    Good niel

  2. olaniyi says:

    Thanks great education about the market mapping.

  3. lilele moeketsi says:

    I do understand lesson behind anticipation and reaction in the market so im to change attitude. Thanks sir Nial

  4. Humphrey says:

    Thank you, Nial.

    This is very insightful. I am new to your page, and I believe I surely will improve my trading following you.

    Keep up with the great work…..

  5. Roman says:

    Dear Nial

    Thx so much for your efforts. I’m at very beginning of this subject and sure that i have to learn to anticipate.

    Thx again and keep reading you
    Take care
    Roman Kolos

  6. alex says:

    wow that so true ad helps so much,thank you

  7. Thulani says:

    Very informative indeed, I can`t wait to take your Course.

  8. Thabang says:

    Im glad to have followed you from the beninning, now I know what I’m looking for when analysis the market. Your “TLS” method combined with “Set and Forget” method really improved the way I trade. I still have a lot to learn from you my mentor and thanks for your kindness. Salute

  9. Ivane Zurabishvili says:

    Hi Nial, all your articles i read with great pleasure, many thanks.

  10. Euphemia Nwachukwu says:

    Thanks Nial for this great information , I now see the importance of maping out level in anticipation, and not reacting to what the market is doing.and equally I now know that patient must be applied. Please keep up the goodwork.

    Remain Blessed.

  11. M Felly says:

    Wow!

    Thank you so much Nial. I always wonder what I have done to deserve bumping into such a guru as you.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Sthembiso says:

    I prefer to be an anticipatory trader not a reactive one.

  13. Atul Kapatkar says:

    Planning makes man perfect.
    Brilliant.

  14. Larry nielsen says:

    Well said

  15. Nigel Harvey says:

    Your articles motivate me to persevere.

  16. Helen says:

    Thanks you!

  17. Agripa says:

    thanks coach for your articles they motivates,i am a new member ,they is no great course like yours , been struggling with trading but since i am studying the course i see a big difference in my trades through price action setups,GOD bless you more.

  18. Idris Ahmad says:

    Nial,thanks this should be my first remark to you,because your articles are always on time.practicalising your article made me got a lot,especially the precious metals,as the trend move downward.At first I couldn’t believe my eyes on what I got,yea indeed,trading like a sniper by taken the crocodile approach is more profitable than anything else,after observing the key support and resistance level,respectively as you have said.In fact ,Nial you are an undisputable guru in the Forex world,thank you very much,looking forward for your precious articles.

  19. 'Dare Ajayi says:

    Nial. Yours is GREAT! It’s FOREX TRADING LIFE CHANGING. I like it.

  20. Keith D. says:

    Thanks Niall for a great post. Having now stuck with my (your) strategy, cut the markets I look at to the same ten and no others & restricted my trades to a max of 3 in any week, if they shout out (none if they don’t) I’ve reversed losses to profit at last. Small beginnings but a positive move in the right direction after 3 years of undisciplined struggle in the forex markets. Really appreciate your continued support to all of us out here!

    1. M Felly says:

      Impressive Keith. I see myself now as you in those last three years. But there’s hope now that I’m part of this amazing platform. Keep it up, discipline is key

    2. Roy Peters says:

      Great story Keith. We all wish to be like you one day!

  21. Emmanuel says:

    Hmmmm sometimes your articles just confirm my observations. Good, keep i up

  22. Tshepo says:

    You’ve raised some important facts , I’ve learned a lot from this article .Thanks Nial

  23. Mauricio Raspa says:

    Learn point&figure and get control over your charts . It has in built moneymanagement as well. The method that dont let The emotions take over. If you follow it of course.

  24. Yousri says:

    One of the most important lessons for new and struggling traders to learn

  25. yasrib says:

    Thanks Nial. I think anticipation and discipline is 90% of success in trading.

  26. Ray Imomon says:

    Thank you. This article will help a lot. It another eye opener to forex trading.

  27. Gary Bell says:

    Your persistent focus on the mental side of the trading equation is commendable – it is THE (95%) key to successful trading. There are many strategies that work, but ALL will ultimately fail and wipe out your account if patience, anticipation, and discipline are not the cornerstone.
    Love reading your articles. All the best.

    1. M Felly says:

      Very true

  28. Nick Warwick says:

    Niall, when you point these things out, it’s like you’re stating the obvious — except one doesn’t tend to get them oneself until you point it out! A nice stabilising lesson.

  29. Romeo Par says:

    Hi Nial, I meant to ask you, what do you do while waiting for high probability set up, I am new in trading business and I do what I learned from you, hunting like a crocodile but those PIN BARS rarely appears, I must admit those signals are very effective but sometimes I get very impatient and get in a trade using other candles formation which are not as reliable as PIN BARS

  30. Olatunde Adigun says:

    Quite right. I have followed and practiced what you impart for so long I know it is the only way to be profitable in trading.

  31. olatunde says:

    This is really the truth of the business. On GBPAUD, I had marked a strong support but did not place a pending order. Had I done that, I would have made at least 150 pips with absolute ease out of over 200 pips price rallying up. And there are many more like this.

    Thank you so much for this timely reminder.

  32. Karen M Lydon says:

    Thanks Nial, great lesson.
    There’s a line from the movie The Untouchables where they’re waiting for the mob to come over the hill and ambush the Feds. Sean Connery cautions them,
    You can’t want it to happen, you can’t wait for it to happen, You just have to be ready when it does happen .” That’s what I get in this lesson

  33. Bill Sur says:

    superb article

  34. Rogerio Amado says:

    Good point, Nial.

    One question. When we anticipate the trade, and the conditions are favorable, do we wait for a confirmation signal, at least the next candle to trigger the trade?

    If yes, what time frame do you recommend we use for the analysis and the trigger? e.g. Do the weekly analysis using Daily Charts, the daily analysis using H4 Charts, and the trade itself observing H1 or shorter Charts?

    Thanks for the post,
    Rogerio

  35. Ola says:

    It has always been a logical handling of complex issues regarding forex trading which I have known long time as your core value and aim.
    More greece to your elbow Nial!

  36. WL Taba says:

    Love this post, it’s a great motivator.

  37. Walter says:

    Thanks Nial. Very helpful

  38. John Meester says:

    Nial, Thank you for your great course.

    -John

  39. James George says:

    Your comments are always appreciated and helpful.
    Thanks!

  40. Adam says:

    Thank you for yet another fantastic article on trader psychology and planning. I hope people will listen and follow. It’s great advice that I wish I had known when I was starting out, especially the idea to redraw levels and trend lines at the end of the week. This will definitely help with anticipating where the market can move. Notice that all charts used by Nial are Daily charts.

  41. Nick says:

    Thanks Nial, Great article on anticipating trades – just what I needed. Cheers Nick

  42. GIANFILIPPO DI CLEMENTE says:

    Thanks You, this article is very important!!!!!

  43. john says:

    Nial,
    Thank you for the article.
    Very enlightening. looking forward to the next one.
    Regards.
    John

  44. KRISTOFA OKENTA says:

    This sums up the whole article.
    “If you take a close look at any successful trader or business person in any industry, you will find they did not achieve success by being reactionary and acting without a plan. Every success story, whether in business, trading, always is based in planning, in anticipating what needs to happen now to attain success in the future.”
    Thanks Nial

  45. Max says:

    Would it be in order to place pending orders at those expected reaction points?

  46. Salim Jabagi says:

    A very interesting and useful lesson. Thanks a lot.

  47. Nhlanhla says:

    Wow this lesson has been an eye opener for me, much clearer (Plan and Anticipate). Thank you very much Mr Fuller, keep up the good work.

  48. sez elabor says:

    Very interesting piece Nial as usual. Thanks

  49. freight says:

    great article Sir. you are helping us very much. keep on teaching us and motivating us, one day we will be good traders

  50. Mangut K. Mafwalal says:

    Good and nice article. You are a good mentor.

  51. Thabo says:

    Hi Nial

    I agree with you about the importance of understanding your price movement before placing a trade. Trend analysis very important more especially understanding your “tentative / confirmation point” during your analysis because u you will be able to identify / anticipate market retracing level and release your trigger.

    I committed lot of mistakes due my failure to conduct trend analysis before placing my trades.

    You are indeed a blessing Nial

  52. eric says:

    Hmmm…. this is really building me into something else. Thank you Nial

  53. Dan says:

    Jesse said,” the money is made in the waiting”
    You also stress this, until one learns to wait they will never achieve success in trading.
    But this is just one of the things needed
    Your articles are truly well written.
    Thanks for putting and keeping us on track Nial

  54. Karen says:

    thank you Nial, this was very informative, I really appreciate your straight talk…

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