Try a e-mini 30 days free demo!   Open Demo Account

Trading Futures – Risk Management & Trading Psychology


trustpilotRisk management and trading psychology are two critical aspects of success in the futures and commodities markets. Effective risk management strategies and a solid understanding of trading psychology are essential for traders to navigate the complexities of these markets and achieve long-term profitability. In this comprehensive discussion, we will delve into risk management techniques such as stop-loss orders, position sizing, diversification, and hedging strategies. Additionally, we will explore the psychological aspects of trading, including managing emotions, discipline, patience, and mental resilience.

Risk Management Strategies

Stop-Loss Orders

Stop-loss orders are one of the most widely used risk management tools in futures trading. A stop-loss order is an order placed with a broker to buy or sell a futures contract once the price reaches a specified level, known as the stop price. The purpose of a stop-loss order is to limit potential losses by automatically closing out a position if the market moves against the trader beyond a certain point.

For a theoretical example, if a trader buys a crude oil futures contract at $60 per barrel, they may set a stop-loss order at $55 per barrel. If the price of crude oil drops to $55, the stop-loss order will trigger, and the trader’s position will be automatically liquidated, limiting their loss to $5 per barrel.

Position Sizing

Position sizing refers to the process of determining the appropriate size of a futures position based on factors such as risk tolerance, account size, and market conditions. Proper position sizing is crucial for managing risk and avoiding overexposure to the market.

Traders often use a percentage-based approach to position sizing, where they risk a certain percentage of their account equity on each trade. For example, a trader may decide to risk 2% of their account equity on any single trade. If they have a $50,000 trading account, they would risk $1,000 on a trade, adjusting the position size based on the distance between the entry price and the stop-loss level.


Diversification involves spreading risk across different asset classes, markets, or instruments to reduce overall portfolio risk. In futures trading, diversification can be achieved by trading multiple contracts across various sectors, such as energy, agriculture, metals, and financials.

By diversifying their trading portfolio, traders can potentially offset losses in one market with gains in another, reducing the impact of adverse price movements on their overall profitability. However, it’s essential to note that diversification does not eliminate risk entirely but rather helps manage and spread it.

Hedging Strategies

Hedging is a risk management technique used to protect against adverse price movements in the market. Futures traders often use hedging strategies to offset the risk of their primary positions or to hedge against external factors such as currency fluctuations or geopolitical events.

Common hedging strategies in futures trading include:

  • Short Hedging: Selling futures contracts to offset the risk of a long position in the underlying asset. For example, a farmer may sell corn futures to hedge against price declines in the physical corn they produce.
  • Long Hedging: Buying futures contracts to offset the risk of a short position in the underlying asset. For instance, an airline company may buy crude oil futures to hedge against rising fuel prices.

Trading Psychology

Managing Emotions

Emotions play a significant role in trading decisions, often leading to impulsive actions and irrational behavior. Effective traders learn to manage their emotions, including fear, greed, and euphoria, to make objective and rational trading decisions.

Managing emotions involves:

  • Developing a trading plan with predefined entry and exit criteria.
  • Sticking to the plan and avoiding emotional reactions to market fluctuations.
  • Practicing mindfulness and emotional awareness to identify and control emotional triggers.

Discipline is crucial for success in futures trading. It involves following a consistent trading strategy, adhering to risk management rules, and maintaining a structured approach to trading.

Key aspects of discipline include:

  • Following trading rules and strategies without deviation.
  • Avoiding impulsive trades or revenge trading after losses.
  • Accepting losses as part of trading and learning from mistakes.

Patience is a virtue in futures trading, especially when waiting for favorable trading opportunities and allowing trades to develop according to the plan. Impatience can lead to premature entries or exits, increasing the risk of losses.

Practicing patience involves:

  • Waiting for confirmation signals and setups before entering trades.
  • Avoiding overtrading and chasing the market.
  • Allowing trades sufficient time to reach their targets or stop-loss levels.
Mental Resilience

Mental resilience is the ability to bounce back from losses, setbacks, and challenges in trading. It involves maintaining a positive mindset, learning from failures, and staying focused on long-term goals.

Building mental resilience includes:

  • Developing a growth mindset and embracing failures as learning opportunities.
  • Staying adaptable and flexible in response to changing market conditions.
  • Seeking support from mentors, peers, or trading communities during challenging times.

Risk management strategies and trading psychology are integral components of successful futures trading. Traders must implement effective risk management techniques such as stop-loss orders, position sizing, diversification, and hedging to protect their capital and manage market risk. Additionally, understanding and mastering trading psychology, including managing emotions, discipline, patience, and mental resilience, are crucial for making rational decisions and maintaining consistent profitability in the dynamic and competitive futures and commodities markets. By combining robust risk management practices with a disciplined and resilient trading mindset, traders can enhance their trading performance and achieve their financial goals.

Ready to start trading futures? Call US 1(800)454-9572 – Int’l (310)859-9572 email and speak to one of our experienced, Series-3 licensed futures brokers and start your futures trading journey with today.

Disclaimer – Trading Futures, Options on Futures, and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors.  Past performance is not indicative of future results. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more of your initial investment. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time.

Important: Trading commodity futures and options involves a substantial risk of loss. The recommendations contained in this writing are of opinion only and do not guarantee any profits. This writing is for educational purposes. Past performances are not necessarily indicative of future results. 

**This article has been generated with the help of AI Technology. It has been modified from the original draft for accuracy and compliance.

***@cannontrading on all socials.

phone image
1-800-454-9572 1-310-859-9572
E-Mini Account - Create a New Account