How do you Swing Trade?

Welcome to the thrilling world of swing trading! If you’ve ever pondered the art of navigating the stock market with finesse, this guide is your compass. Unlike the rapid pace of day trading or the long-term commitment of traditional investing, swing trading strikes a harmonious balance. It’s a dance with the market’s short to medium-term trends, and in this article, we’re about to unravel the steps to this financial tango.

Imagine having the flexibility to capitalise on market swings, exploiting opportunities as they unfold. This guide is your backstage pass to understanding the ins and outs of swing trading, tailored for those eager to grasp the fundamentals and embark on a journey of financial empowerment. Now we are ready to dive into the dynamic realm where strategy meets intuition, and profits await the savvy.

  • Understanding the Basics
  • Developing Your Strategy
  • Technical Indicators
  • Execution and Management
  • Option Trading in Swing Trading
  • Stay Informed
  • Final Thoughts on Swing Trading

Understanding the Basics

Now, before we start swing trading, let’s ensure you understand the basics that will make your journey much easier. Swing trading, in essence, is the Goldilocks of trading styles—it’s not too short, not too long, but just right. It sits between the quick decisions of day trading and the patient waiting game of long-term investing.

To succeed in swing trading, cultivating the right mindset is key. It’s not just about buying and selling; it’s about strategy, patience, and risk management. Picture yourself as a strategic hunter, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. It’s a game of calculated moves.

It is also vital you understand the key terminology used when swing trading. The table below lays out many of the key terms.

Swing High and Swing Low– Swing High: The highest point a stock or market reaches within a specific timeframe, potentially signalling a reversal. – Swing Low: The lowest point a stock or market reaches within a specific timeframe, potentially indicating an upward reversal.
Trend– Uptrend: Market moves consistently higher, forming higher highs and higher lows. – Downtrend: Market moves consistently lower, forming lower highs and lower lows. – Sideways (or Range) Trend: Market moves within a horizontal range without a clear upward or downward trajectory.
Support and Resistance– Support: Price level where a stock or market tends to stop falling. – Resistance: Price level where a stock or market tends to stop rising.
Breakout and Breakdown– Breakout: Occurs when a stock or market surpasses a significant resistance level, indicating a potential upward trend. – Breakdown: Occurs when a stock or market falls below a crucial support level, suggesting a potential downward trend.
Moving Averages– Simple Moving Average (SMA): Calculated average of a stock or market’s price over a specified period, smoothing out fluctuations. – Exponential Moving Average (EMA): Similar to SMA but gives more weight to recent prices, making it more responsive to current market conditions.
RSI (Relative Strength Index)Momentum oscillator measuring the speed and change of price movements. Helps identify overbought or oversold conditions, guiding traders on potential reversals.
Candlestick PatternsDoji: Indicates market indecision, where opening and closing prices are almost identical. – Hammer and Shooting Star: Signal potential trend reversals based on the shape of the candlestick.
Bullish and Bearish– Bullish: Optimistic about the market’s future direction, expecting prices to rise. – Bearish: Pessimistic about the market’s future direction, expecting prices to fall.
LiquidityRefers to how easily an asset can be bought or sold without affecting its price. High liquidity is preferable for swift and efficient trades.
VolatilityThe degree of variation in trading price series over time. Higher volatility implies greater potential for profit, but also increased risk.

Developing Your Strategy

Now that you’re acquainted with the essence of swing trading, we must foster a foundational understanding of research and analysis, arming yourself with the right knowledge. 

Research and Analysis 

Dive into the fundamentals and technicalities of the market. Technical and fundamental analyses will be your trusty companions. Know the companies you’re investing in, study market trends, and understand the factors that can sway your chosen stocks.

Picking the Rights Stocks

You must also know how to choose the right stocks. Not all stocks are created equal, especially in the world of swing trading. Liquidity and volatility are your allies. Opt for stocks with enough liquidity to ensure smooth trading and the right level of volatility to seize profitable opportunities. Choosing your stocks wisely sets the stage for a successful swing trading performance.

Timeframes and Trends

Picture the market as a canvas, and timeframes as the brushstrokes that create the big picture. In swing trading, choosing the right time frame is your artistic decision. Short, medium, or long-term charts—each has its rhythm. Analyse trends within these timeframes, identify patterns, and learn to judge the market’s natural flow.

Technical Indicators

Indicators are your musical notes in the swing trading symphony. Mastering them allows you to compose a winning tune. Here are some of the most commonly used technical indicators

Moving averages 

  • Moving averages help smooth out fluctuations in price data, providing a clearer picture of the overall direction. They are employed to identify and confirm trends, whether they are upward (bullish) or downward (bearish).
  • Crossover Signals: The intersection of short-term and long-term moving averages can serve as signals for potential entry or exit points in swing trades.
  • Dynamic Support and Resistance: Moving averages act dynamically as support in uptrends and resistance in downtrends, assisting traders in gauging potential reversal zones.

Chart Patterns

  • Chart patterns are visual representations of historical price movements on a trading chart. Some types of pattern such as Head and Shoulders or Double Tops/Bottoms can indicate potential reversals in the current trend.
  • Confirmation for Trade Entries: Recognizing chart patterns provides confirmation for entering swing trades, enhancing the trader’s confidence in the decision-making process.
  • Measuring Price Targets: Certain chart patterns come with associated price targets, offering valuable insights for setting realistic profit objectives in swing trades.


  • Breakouts occur in swing trading when the price surpasses a significant level of resistance or support, signalling a potential upward trend, or below a crucial support level, indicating a possible downward trend.
  • Trigger for Trades: Breakouts act as triggers for entering swing trades, marking the point at which traders may want to initiate positions in anticipation of continued price movement.

Pivot Points

  • Pivot points are calculated support and resistance levels used in swing trading. They are key price levels derived from the previous day’s high, low, and closing prices.
  • Decision-Making Reference: Swing traders use pivot points as reference points for making decisions, with breaks above or below these levels often indicating potential shifts in market sentiment.
  • Support and Resistance Guidance: Pivot points provide guidance on potential support and resistance areas, aiding swing traders in identifying optimal entry and exit points for trades.

Learn to read the cues of the different technical indicators and soon you’ll be making easy profits.

Execution and Management

Setting Up Trades

Now, it’s time to start trading. Setting up a swing trade involves precise moves, so entry and exit points are vital. Look for confirmation signals, establish clear entry and exit points, and execute with confidence. Remember, a well-rehearsed routine minimises the risk of being exposed by market fluctuations.

Risk Management

In the world of swing trading, risk is the uninvited partner. But fear not, for risk management is your shield. Calculate your risk-reward ratio, set stop-loss orders, and protect your capital like a guardian. A disciplined approach to risk management ensures that even if your trade is not successful, the overall performance remains stellar.

Learning from Experience and Keeping a Trading Journal

Every trade has its lessons, whether it is successful or not. Keeping a trading journal is your backstage pass to self-improvement. Document your trades, analyse the wins and losses, and discover patterns in your performance. A journal transforms experiences into wisdom, allowing you to refine your strategy and enhance your trading prowess.

Options Trading in Swing Trading

This is a form of a more advanced strategy in swing trading. Options trading introduces a layer of complexity and versatility to your strategy. Explore how options can amplify your gains and manage risks. However, remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Understanding the intricacies, and options can be your secret weapon in the swing trading arena and to learn more read our more in depth article on options trading for beginners

Staying Informed

Market news is like a spotlight that can either enhance or dim your presence. Stay informed about economic events, earnings reports, and market news. These factors can sway the market’s rhythm. Being aware of the script ensures you’re ready for any unexpected twists and turns in the financial performance.

Final Thoughts on Swing Trading

Congratulations, you’ve completed your crash course in swing trading! Now, armed with the knowledge of crafting a strategy, executing precise moves and incorporating advanced techniques, you’re ready to take centre stage in the dynamic world of swing trading. As you embark on your journey, remember to keep refining your steps. Keep a trading journal, adapt to the changing beats of the market, and let each experience enrich your expertise.

Swing trading allows you to tailor your strategy to your preferences. So, step confidently into the arena and may your swing trading journey be filled with profitable performances.

Now, good luck and get started with swing trading by checking out our article, How Do You Open a Swing Trade Account.

Editor in chief

Steve Miley is the Market Chartist and has 32 years of financial market experience and as a seasoned expert now has many responsibilities. He is the founder, Director and Primary Analyst at The Mar... Continued

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