How Long Does a Trading Slump Last?

BellaGeneral Comments6 Comments

Hi Mike,

Would like to know how long does a trading slump normally last?

And how does one know trading is not their cup of tea or doesn’t suit one person?

Thanks in advance.


Trading slumps depend on your trading style and skill level.

Scalpers, a trader who trades off of order flow or Reading the Tape, like Pippen from The PlayBook will be profitable almost every day and every week.  A slump for him would be two negative days in a row and I cannot remember the last time he was.

Intraday traders who combine news, charts, the tape, skill of trading patterns and intuition like Shark are positive 60-80 percent of most trading months.  A slump for Shark would be a negative week.

Swing traders span the map of time frames so they are harder to measure.  For example, some call themselves swing traders and use a 5m chart, others the same and use 15m charts, others exclusively daily charts.   Our largest swing trader can go a quarter with negative results and still be tracking north of seven figures for the year.

There are many other time frames and styles of trading to pull money consistently out of the market.  Since I have no expertise in them, I will comment on their slump length as my knowledge is only anecdotal.

Here are some past posts on how to end a trading slump for the short term trader:

Trading Slumps: Don’t Stop Believing

How to Bounce Back from Failure in Trading

Get Your Game Back


What has been your worst trading slump?

“You can be better tomorrow than you are today!”

Mike Bellafiore is the Co-Founder of SMB Capital and SMBU, which provides trading education in stocks, options, forex and futures. Bella is the author of One Good Trade and The PlayBook. He welcomes your trading questions at [email protected].

no relevant positions

6 Comments on “How Long Does a Trading Slump Last?”

  1. I’ve been trading 2.5 years and had my best 3 months last Jan/Feb/Mar. Then from mid April to mid July was absolutely flat, and terrified. Fortunately as earnings picked up in late July I was able to return to profitability. Obviously, trading is tough. I want to make progress, but after months of treading water, I’m thankful to just be making money again.

  2. Gr8 to hear. We have some who trade much better during earnings season as well. Maybe if VXX picks up this will extend. Trade well. Thxs for sharing.

  3. I think it’s important every trader identifies what slump means to him/her, for example if you are trading well and not making money, because market is not paying, is that slump for you? or your making money but not trading well, e.g not following your rules and plan, is that slump for you? Alot of people including myself sometimes confuse ‘bad trading’ slump with ‘not making money’ slump, however there is a way out, simply go and speak to a trader or mentor whose been through the process (for me it’s guys at SMB), they will highlight what kind of slump your in and what medication you need. Just don’t try and fix a broken leg with paracetmol, or else the pain will return

  4. Bella, didn’t you mean to say that intraday traders like Shark are profitable on 60 – 80 percent of trading *days*, not months? That would be in line with what you have written before about good intraday traders having only 2 to 4 losing days per month and being profitable nearly every month.

  5. I would say i had been in a slump for years! I started not losing and being close to breakeven about 2-3(around there) years ago.

    If you don’t have love/passion for this game any difficulties you face will make you just give up. You need it ,in my opinion, in order to get through those times. If i didn’t love/passion for this game of trading markets i would have stopped years ago!!

    I listen to a ton of motivational stuff listen to Les Brown “It’s possible” on youtube i think it would be just right for you.

  6. Great post, and good links as well–especially the first by Bruce Bower. Two to three bad down days in a row is a slump for me (so far I haven’t had one worse than that), and I am doing a business plan this weekend to help me pull out of my last week’s mess.

    The only way I ever get out of slump is by working even harder, and by looking forwards not backwards. If you’re looking over your shoulder at the mistakes you made in the past, you can’t see the opportunities infront of you or coming towards you in the future. This is a big reason why I always TRY not to get excited by winners or frustrated by losers–it takes my eye off the ball.

    I’ve noticed a very strong correlation with my bad trading days to not feeling 100% (headache, sinus pain, etc), or simply not being ‘razor sharp’. I’ve taken some mornings off to curb potentially poor or slow decision making, but sometimes I think a trader also simply needs a day off. If we are like athletes (mentally or otherwise), then I can’t think of one sport where professionals would be advised to play as often as we do. I always feel guilty taking a day off, and I love trading so much I never want to be off the desk, but many times it is in our best interests to do things we don’t want to do.

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